Joseph Henri Raphael Lamontagne was born on September 6, 1930 in Kennedy, Saskatchewan to Patrick and Aurore Lamontagne, the eldest of six children. Henry was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church and remained a faithful parishioner his entire life.
Henry’s formative school years were at High View School, and later he attended Duramus School, not far from the family farm. After grade eight Henry worked with his parents on the farm for three years, taking on odd jobs during the summer and trapping in the winter. At the age of 17 Henry moved to Winnipeg for the winter and found employment at a wire factory, worked as a short-order cook at the Esquire Restaurant and a pin-setter at a bowling alley. In the spring he returned to farm and spent the next winter in Regina working at a water softener plant. In 1949 Henry was employed by the R.M. of Wawken where he worked road maintenance until the fall of 1953 when he began working for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Henry bought grain in Broadview, Fleming, Whitewood and Esterhazy before moving to Gerald on August 1, 1955. He would continue to serve the Gerald and district community as their agent for the next thirty-five years.
In St. Wenceslaus Roman Catholic Church on August 2, 1958 Henry married the love of his life, Dianne Helmle. Their marriage was blessed with three children: Shelly, Sheldon and Brent. Henry and Dianne raised their children in Gerald ensuring they were involved in many activities. Henry enjoyed being involved with his children in all their activities and continued to attend sporting events as they became adults.
Every August the family travelled to many destinations (camping along the way) on their annual summer holiday. Whether it was a trip to British Columbia, a fishing trip in Northern Saskatchewan or a three-week road trip to Disneyland, Henry was always excited and enthusiastic about the adventure. Henry loved the outdoors and all the activities it had to offer: trapping, fishing, golfing, curling, snowmobiling and hunting (Henry’s favourite). Henry’s enthusiasm for these activities is a legacy passed on to his children and grandchildren.
In 1979 Henry began work on a new project that would become a gathering place for his growing family - a cabin at Carlton Trail Regional Park. Henry enjoyed spending his summers at the cabin with its family suppers, games, campfires and many rounds of golf.
Henry and Dianne moved to Esterhazy in 1988. They became parishioners of Our Lady of Victories Roman Catholic Church. Henry curled in the Farmer’s League and joined the Men’s, Mixed and eventually, the Senior’s bowling leagues. He also attended many Esterhazy Flyers games.
After his retirement in the spring of 1990 Henry travelled throughout much of Manitoba visiting many golf courses to promote and sell golf passports in the summer. In 1992 Henry opened a Cooperators Insurance Office in Esterhazy. Prior to opening the office, Henry had sold insurance for twenty-five years. He enjoyed the interaction with the public and the socializing during coffee breaks at the Central Hotel. Even after he closed his business downtown, he continued to join many friends for morning coffee.
In 1991 Henry and Dianne travelled to Texas and vacationing there for three months - a vacation they thoroughly enjoyed; however, family ties were strong, and they chose to take shorter winter vacations. A great many of these winter vacations were to attend curling events. In recent years Henry and Dianne travelled to their vacation home in Maricopa, Arizona to take in the advantage of the warm weather and spending time with family.
As Henry’s eyesight declined it became more challenging for him to pursue his interests and enjoy his favourite activities. Always a special highlight to his day was a visit from Denae and Nicole with the newest members of his family, Brynne, Renelle, and Sheldon. Although Henry’s eyesight was deteriorating, his hearing was acute, and their laughter and energy would always bring a smile to his face and joy to his heart.
Henry was active in his community serving on various boards. He served as a town councillor in Gerald and as a 4-H leader in the Gerald 4-H club. Henry also served on the St. Anthony’s Hospital Board and was a founding board member of the Centennial Special Care Home. An Honorary Life Member of the Knights of Columbus, Henry served as Grand Knight. He served on the St. Wenceslaus Parish Council. Henry enjoyed his work with the Grain Services Union and served as president for three terms.
Henry is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 60 years, Dianne, his children, Shelly, Sheldon (Wendy), and Brent, his granddaughters, Denae (Riley) and Nicole (Curtis), his great-grandchildren, Brynne, Renelle and Sheldon, his sisters, Patricia Deschambault and Lorraine Radatzke (Russ), his brothers, Rene and Richard and many nieces and nephews.
Henry was predeceased by his parents, Patrick and Aurore, his sister Annabelle (in infancy), his brother-in-law Edward, his sister-in-law Ivy, his niece Lynnette and his nephews, Ken and Nathan.
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
PO Box 2080 Stn Main, Regina SK S4P 9Z9
Heart & Stroke Foundation
1738 Quebec Avenue Unit 26, Saskatoon SK S7K 1V9
St. Wenceslaus Roman Catholic Church Memorial Fund
-, Gerald SK S0A 1B0