Raymond Gaston Ferdinand Cordell was born on April 27, 1920 to Marius and Valentine Cordel. He grew up on the family farm north of Halkirk and attended Apremont school until he quit in grade 8, as most boys did in those days.
He served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1943 to 1946 and helped provide electrical generation services for airfields along the Northwest Staging Route of the Alaska Highway.
Even though he never had a formal degree, he was gifted with a natural talent for all things mechanical and electrical.
He had a rewarding 42 year career working for Atco Electric company under different company names. Raymond would always say “I was so lucky to have found work I loved to do.”
At his retirement party in 1984 it was said that the company could always drop Raymond somewhere in the far north, with a shoelace and a pair of pliers, and he could fix anything.
In his retirement he would spend his time recreating or restoring.
He built a working scale model of his dad’s 1915 Holt 75 Caterpillar tractor as well as many other replicas that he showed at antique shows and the Castor Fair.
In 1973 he bought and restored a 1917 Model T Ford that had originally been owned by a Catholic priest in Castor.
This car was in many parades and was displayed in the Castor Museum until he decided to store it at a nephews.
In an Alberta Power article on his hobbies, Raymond said, “Life is pretty short. You’ve got to fill it with interesting activities and things…When you like something, you get into it. My thing is recreating or restoring the real thing.”
In a 1993 CBC interview on his hobbies, he looked into the camera with a big smile and said “I like to make [the engines]talk”.
He was a man who gave service to others through his electrical work. He was forbearing, patient, tolerant, loved humour, honest, frugal, wise, humble and loved his family.
Raymond was predeceased by his parents, Marius and Valentine Cordel, his sisters Cecile Dumas and Jeanne Maloney, and his brother Francis Cordel.
He is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Juliette (Fetaz) Cordell, his five children , eight grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren; his sister Colette (Cordel) Fetaz and sister-in-law Phyllis (Bitterman) Cordel.
Raymond passed away on Dec 19, 2016 in St. Albert, Ab. His funeral mass was held on Jan.6, 2017 in St. Albert Catholic Parish.
His interment will take place in the future at the Holy Cross Mausoleum (St. Albert Trail).
Memorial donations may be made to the Mazankowski Heart Institute. Connelly-McKinley Funeral Homes of St. Albert were in charge of arrangements.