Chartier, Henry

Written by ECA Review

Henry was born in Virden, Mb. and raised on the family farm in Reeder, Mb.
He grew up on the farm with very few amenities; this made for very long days tending to the family garden.
The family was so good at gardening that they often had the largest potato patch in the country.
Hank and Dennis spent many afternoons in the field picking dandelion leaves for salad.
There was never a dull moment on the farm: they picked chokecherries, snared gophers and caught garter snakes to torment their sisters with.
I am sure his sisters remember the time when Hank had found a very large garter snake out by the barn, and he snuck it into the house. The girls, who were all terrified of snakes, were sitting around the table.
So you can imagine the reaction when Hank walked into the kitchen with that “BIG OL SNAKE”! There was a mad dash for the stairs.
At the time Aunt Bernie was on crutches, she had sprained her ankle, and I’ll be damned if she wasn’t the first one up the stairs!
She may have had two sprained ankles after that.
Chores were important on the family farm; Grandma Julia kept a tight ship. No one went to town until the house was spotless.
Hank and Dennis had a routine; get the chores done in a timely fashion, no cutting corners.
Then they would climb aboard their ‘56 Ford Go-cart and drive to Castle Hill to meet Wayne Popple, and he would get them the rest of the way to town. They had no windshield, headlights or heat; it was a bit of a death trap. Dennis recalls nearly freezing to death in the front seat of that thing on several occasions.
Hank was 15 when he made the decision to leave the farm life with hopes of making a good living chasing oil in Saskatchewan.
Grandma Julia and Madeline drove him to the bus. Madeline was afraid she would never see him again.
Hank spent three years in Estevan, Sk. before moving to Coronation and planting his roots. Dennis joined him a year later.
Hank and Dennis worked the service rigs together for Peirce and Embler. He also was a battery operator and an oilfield consultant.
Hank had a lengthy career in the oil industry.
He was an avid outdoorsman, he loved to be in nature, and he enjoyed all the lakes, rivers and creeks.
He truly was “at home” outside!
He would never hesitate to pass on any knowledge that would help you land the “big one”.
Tazin Lake – Hank had tried on a few occasions to convince me how big the fish were there. A typical “fish story”.
I have seen the pictures now and I should have never doubted him. He talked about that trip a lot.
Hank, Bob, Barry and Blaine went through a lot of booze. In fact, they ran out of booze halfway through the trip, so they drank the Guide’s booze.
On the last day of the trip, right before heading out, Hank had decided he could use a nap, right in the middle of the dock!
Seemed like a great place for him to have one. This dock was barely wide enough for one person; if he would have rolled over he would have fallen right into the lake.
Everyone also had to step over him to get onto the plane.
While we are on the topic of naps Hank got the biggest fish of the trip while having one. It was a 49 pound Lake Trout.
Another memorable fishing trip was when Hank, Jim Smith and several other friends went to Little Doctor Lake.
They drove to Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories then flew into Little Doctor Lake. It’s nestled in the Nahanni National Park.
The Mountain Range and scenery were breathtaking; the water met the sky. I remember Henry telling me it was like nothing he had ever seen before.
Hank, Cheryl and several other friends went on a canoe trip from Rocky Mountain House to Drayton Valley; at about the Brazeau Dam, this is where two rivers come together, and there is a really big set of rocks that poke out of the water; one should avoid these.
Hank and Cheryl did not! In fact, they ended up getting their canoe high-centred on top of these rocks.
So…. picture this; the river is trying it’s very best to flip their canoe. Of course, Cheryl is doing whatever she can do to help the situation, and Hank is standing on the back of the canoe, rocking back and forth, keeping the canoe balanced.
The whole time he is attempting to keep it balanced he is singing the Paul Simon song “Love me like a rock, oh baby love me like a rock.”
Dale and Jackie Brigley and Lea Zimmer were in the other canoe in tears with laughter watching the entire thing.
Hank, The Hunter, hunting season was a BIG DEAL!
Hank loved to hunt; he taught me everything I know about hunting.
Early mornings, he patiently waited for me to get out of bed; we would spend many hours scouting the fields.
I shot my first deer with Hank!
Hank’s passion for hunting was the reason I took up the sport.
Those of you that have hunted with him know exactly what I am talking about.
When Alicia gave him the news that he would finally be getting a grandson, the first thing he said was “Well I guess I gotta get my guns ready”.
He finally had a grandson he could teach to hunt.
Hank did have a soft spot for dogs and cats though.
Whether it was taking care of our puppies or just the neighbourhood stray cat, if it was in need, he would help them out in whatever way he could. Hank found himself coming to the rescue of a local stray; it was -40 outside and here was this poor cat freezing to death on his deck.
As much as he didn’t want a cat, he could not just leave the poor thing outside.
He figured he would just let it in for the night, turned out the cat was sick and seemed to have a cough, so off to the vet they went.
Henry got the cat taken care of and soon figured out the cat was pregnant. Hank ended up with four cats.
The family often laughs about how Alicia would “take the goldfish for a walk and the cat for a swim”.
Alicia always had the best intentions though, even when she thought it would be a good idea to use fishing line as a leash to walk the cat.
Well, the cat passed out due to lack of oxygen and all Hank could hear was Michelle’s blood-curdling scream from the other room.
Hank to the rescue, he pulled out his trusty fingernail clippers and cut the fishing line.
He proceeded to rub the cat vigorously on the chest and then resorted to CPR and thank God, the cat came back to life.
Hank had some interesting hobbies, and some of them became mine.
Gold panning was one of our favourites.
We spent countless hours staring at the bottom of his blue bowl.
We slowly watched the grains of sand disappear; anxiously waiting for the gold flakes to appear, and they often did not.
Hank would always say “I don’t get it….there was gold in the pan right, so why isn’t it at the bottom of the bowl”?
It even sparked an interest with my little girls; they loved to sit with grandpa and watch the blue bowl go around and around.
At one point Hank and Keith Matheson owned a claim together in B.C.
I don’t think they found the mother lode though!
Hank enjoyed spending time with friends and family at the cabin in Manitoba, “Hank’s Hideaway”.
It was so awesome. Spending time at the lake is one of my favourite memories.
There was amazing Walleye fishing, huge fish fry’s, many hours spent swimming and golfing, or we just enjoyed the summer days tying flies and relaxing.
Sledding, ice fishing and cooking deer sausage in the ice shack. This was a great way to get through the long cold winters.
Hank loved to cook Mountain Berry Pies over the campfire.
Hank was one of the most resourceful and knowledgeable people I knew. You could drop him off, blindfolded, in the middle of nowhere and he could find his way home. He was a definite boy scout.
He had a knack for cooking and made some of the most delicious soups I have ever tasted.
Hank and Morris made many trips to the Hutterites for fresh chickens and vegetables.
He used every ounce of the chickens; the bones were a must for the chicken stock.
He would spend an entire day boiling the chicken bones.
One time I remember him taking the day to boil the bones and when it came time to strain his precious chicken broth; he grabbed a strainer but he forgot to grab a pot to strain it into. The delicious broth went right down the drain of the sink!
He loved to cook with his grandchildren. He had all the patience in the world when it came to them. They were allowed to be as messy as they wanted to be. His grandbabies could do no wrong!
Cooking for the family was a big deal too.
I remember at one dinner Jerzie had said: “Are those grandpa’s baked beans because if they are those are the very best!”
Hank always made extra to bring over for his grandkids.
He would never show up to a family dinner without his famous homemade lemon meringue pie.
Hank had a wicked sense of humour; it would always seem to come out at one’s most vulnerable moment.
Like the time I lost seven straight games of backgammon; he loved to beat me at backgammon.
He always had a bit of a sarcastic side too.
Michelle recalls a time when she was driving with her Dad; she had the air conditioner blasting, and she also had the window down.
Hank made the comment, “You are going to have to cool down all of Alberta before your car cools down”!
How many people cried the night Elvis died? Well, Hank did! He cried all night long and into most of the next day. He had a passion for Elvis!
Alicia and he loved to sing along to all of Elvis’s songs and various other oldies on his trips to Manitoba.
I know some of you here today have witnessed this, and some may not know this, but Hank was an exceptional dancer.
He had his own trademark dance moves. Some knew it as the “Chartier Shuffle”.
We had spent the week in Edmonton just before Hank’s passing. I am so glad we did! It really lifted his spirits to have daily company.
I also know how thankful he was to all that took the time to visit him.
I was grateful for the opportunity to play a little more backgammon with him at the hospital, and in true Hank fashion, he beat me again!
Did you know licking a stamp is 2.5 calories? Well, Hank knew this!
He was an encyclopedia of useful information, as well as some useless information too!
He had an awesome perspective on life: Keep things simple; don’t over-complicate the situation and always have an answer for everything!
Whenever Alicia or Michelle asked, “Why Dad?” he would always say because “Y” is a crooked letter and you can’t fix it!
You may have asked him one day “How are things today Henry” and he would often reply “Fine as frogs hair.”
It was those little things that make Hank who he was!
When we were travelling and finally reached our destination, Hank would get out of the vehicle, stretch, smile and say “Let the bells ring, and the banners fly; because we’re here!”
I would like to think that somewhere out there “Bells are ringing and the banners are flying high because Hank is home!

Card of Thanks
The family of Henry Chartier would like to thank our family and friends for the kind expression of sympathy during our time of sorrow.
We would also like to thank the Coronation Hospital staff and the Cross Cancer Institute staff for the great care and kindness you gave to our dad.
Dustin, Michelle and family
Raymond, Alicia and family
Dennis Chartier


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