Henry LaVigne

Obituary of Henry Paul LaVigne

HENRY P. LAVIGNE 1932 †" 2021 With great sadness, we announce the passing of Henry LaVigne, beloved husband, father, and Poppy, who died peacefully on December 11, 2021, at the age of 89. Henry†™s life began as the fourth of seven siblings on a farm in rural Quebec, Canada. He often described his mother as the hardest working person he had ever known and the lifelong inspiration for his own work ethic. His childhood chores included picking blueberries and training his own dog to pull a sled four miles each way to get groceries for the family in winter. A special part of the legacy of love that he left his family was a collection of childhood memories and stories. †œAs I got to be nine or ten years old,†� he remembered, †œI learned a good lesson about negotiations. We were quite busy fishing and hunting. One day we got lucky and picked up quite a few fish, pike & pickerel, very nice and pretty big. When we got home, my Dad said we had too many and we will not keep all these. Go to the neighbors and try to sell them. I asked him how much should I ask for these? He said, †˜Twenty-five cents each.†™ I said, †˜What if they don†™t want to pay that much?†™ †˜Then fifteen cents,†™ he said. So I went on to sell my fish. At the first place I stopped, the man came out to look at my fish. He said, †˜How much do you want?†™ I said, proudly, †˜Twenty-five cents each, but if you don†™t want to pay that, then fifteen cents.†™ The man said, †˜I don†™t want to pay twenty-five cents!†™ I said quickly, †˜OK fifteen cents.†™ That was my first lesson of not telling all your thoughts, when you are negotiating.†� †œAt age 12 or 13, I was very active with my mother and the rest of the family, to grow a large garden on our farm, and raising cattle, pigs, and chickens. We together would cut firewood, trap snowshoe rabbits, and hunt for grouse. In mid-summer, we harvested a great amount of vegetables, lettuce, radishes, carrots, turnips, potatoes, and later tomatoes. My mom then would get us to wash them and make small bunches to sell in town and once a week we would hitch up the wagon and go to sell our vegetables in town. That would give us some money to buy groceries and the essentials for the family.†� As a teenager, Henry took an interest in his ancestral family†™s tradition of winemaking. †œAt about 14, my brother Johnny and I, with two of our friends, picked up some chokecherries and got sugar and four one-gallon glass jugs. And together, started to make some wine. We could not keep it around the house, so we went to the butte and hid our cache. Every few days, we would go check on our wine. This went on for a few months. One afternoon we went to check on our wine and taste it. What a surprise when our neighbor caught us. His name was Pierre Bernard. He gave us all kinds of hell about making wine. What bad boys we were, and that he would tell our dads. †˜Go home!†™ he said, †˜And I don†™t want to see you here again!†™ So we left sad and afraid of what was coming next. About two hours later, we saw Pierre coming back out from the butte, singing and staggering and falling down laughing with a bottle in his hand. He said you boys made damn good wine. So we went to check on our cache. Pierre was no fool; he had hidden the wine some other place. For a long time, Pierre was coming out of the swamp singing and very happy.†� To better help provide for his family, Henry began working full-time as a lumberjack at the age of 16, laboring through the winter with his dad at a lumber camp in northern Ontario. In the summer of 1950, at age 18, he worked for a land surveyor in northern Quebec. †œI had been gone from home for approximately two months,†� he recalled, †œwith no communication with my family. One night in July, I could not sleep for most of the night, with the thought of my Mother very heavy on my mind. The next morning, we went to work early as usual. I was still thinking of the night before. As I was walking by myself, in the wild forest, I stopped for a rest. My mind was a little blurry from the lack of sleep. At a distance ahead, I saw a white-robed lady standing there, and she quickly disappeared. At that moment I knew my mom had passed away. One month later, the job was completed, and as we traveled out to the little town of St. Felicien at the edge of Lake St. Jean, I had a letter there from my sister Liliane, to let me know that our Mother had passed away that night in July.†� His long career in mining began when he was 20 years old, at a small gold mine in Rouyn, Quebec. †œThen I met HER!†� Henry wrote. †œShe was very pretty and very shy. Only 17 years old, her name was Rachel.†� They married in 1953, and their firstborn son, Guy, arrived in 1955. Low pay and the need to better support his new family led Henry to join his brother Johnny in northern Manitoba, where he began his many years working with Patrick Harrison. His hard work and his willingness to learn how to use a jackleg drill opened up a new opportunity for him in Elliot Lake, Ontario, where his daughter, Suzanne was born. After Rachel became pregnant again, the family moved back to Rouyn for the birth of their third child. †œI was at the hospital waiting,†� Henry wrote. †œThe doctor came out of the delivery room and said one boy and ONE MORE! We did not know that she was carrying twins, Luc and Andre.†� Through the following decades, his mining career with Harrison would lead him to Elliot Lake, Ontario, Moab, Utah, back to Canada, and finally to Colorado. †œIn 1974,†� Henry wrote in his typically understated way, †œRachel passed away. What a tremendous loss.†� †œLater I met my second wife, Jeanne (Jay) Stillwell. What a great change in my life. Jeanne and I married in 1981. What a tremendous decision that both of us made to get married. Still going strong,†� he wrote just three years ago. Henry was a self-made man who thrived in his career through hard work, a willingness to learn, and wise decisions. Because of Harrison-Western†™s great respect for his abilities and experience, Henry was appointed to the Corporation†™s Board of Directors, and his work spanned the globe. Through the years, he worked from Alaska to Mexico, South America, France, South Africa, Hong Kong, and Australia. Henry†™s riveting stories of life †" and death †" in the mines and other work projects, will always be remembered by his family, and by the families of the many men whose lives he was personally responsible for saving through the years. Although largely self-educated, Henry was an engineer†™s engineer, who could see, understand, and explain how things around him worked, and who liked solutions that were simple and efficient. True to the family name †œLaVigne†� (†œthe vine†�), he appreciated a fine red wine. Other favorite pastimes were fishing, watching the Denver Broncos, and following professional hockey. In years past, he took great satisfaction in coaching hockey for his two young sons, Luc and AndrÁ©. Henry thoughtfully made arrangements to be laid to rest beside his first wife and the mother of his children, Rachel, who is already waiting for him at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Golden, Colorado. He also was preceded in death by his son Luc, brother Rolland, and sisters FranÁ§oise and Liliane. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 40 years, Jeanne Stillwell-LaVigne; his children, Guy LaVigne; Suzanne Stacy (Dennis Bale); and AndrÁ© LaVigne; grandchildren: Jeannette Rivera (Michael); Guy, Jr.; Jessica (Randy) Shibata; Shawn (Sukhanya) Stacy; Aimee (Dustin) Heffelman; Maddison and Morganne LaVigne; Ruth, Jean, and Jeanna LaVigne. With his loving presence and gentle guidance, he blessed 12 great-grandchildren: Reece, Gabrielle, Kyan, Kiyana, Chase, Paityn, Cooper, Lucy, Tucker, John, Josias, and Matteo. Henry†™s treasured surviving siblings are John (Becky) and Robert (Louise) LaVigne, and Paulette (Arcade) Poisson. Memorial contributions may be made to a special nonprofit, Poppy†™s Puppies (PoppysPuppies.org), created by his granddaughter Aimee to honor Poppy†™s memory.. The family will receive friends from to at . Funeral Services will be held Monday, January 3rd, 2022 at 2:00 pm in Aspen Arvada Chapel 6370 Union Street Arvada, CO 80004, with burial to follow at in , .
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Henry LaVigne, please visit Tribute Store


2:00 pm
Monday, January 3, 2022
Aspen Arvada Chapel
6370 Union Street
Arvada, Colorado, United States
Share Your Memory of