If you asked a hundred people who Raymond was (or “Frenchie” as most BC’ers know him by), they’d all give you a different story. A logger. A geophysical survey guy. A line cutter. A mineral or mine finder. An apprentice construction worker. A flagger. A bartender. A cook. The world’s most excellent dancer. A raft guide. A hunter. A fisherman. A cottage in the woods kinda guy. Born of a moonbeam.
Raymond was none of these things, or perhaps he was all of them. What he was, was a storyteller. No matter the occasion, Ray had a story and could spin them like no other. He was the life of most parties and gatherings with his many friends. He had a great sense of humour and a heart in the right place.
Joseph Raymond Philippe Albert, 73, told his last story on Monday, February 21, 2022, at the Timmins District Hospital after a lengthy battle with cancer. This wasn’t the party he wanted to stay for (early screening is essential – just get it done. The party lasts longer if you do).
He leaves behind his loving companion Jackie Breau and his daughter Romona, granddaughters Jasmine and Jade, and great-grandson Charlie. He also leaves behind his brothers Rene and Marcel, nephews Joe and Martin, nieces Darlene, Nicole, and Tammy, and numerous cousins and friends who have become family.
The born of a moonbeam is somewhat correct. Raymond was born in Moonbeam, Ontario, on November 21, 1948, to parents Henri and Albertine Albert. And most of the above-mentioned stories are also true. He worked in Moonbeam, Kapuskasing, Toronto, Manitoba, Alaska, the Yukon, in BC on Vancouver Island, Cache Creek, Lytton, and finally in Timmins, Ontario. In the later years and after a workplace accident, he retired to enjoy all of what this life had to offer him. The cottage at the lake, a stool or booth at the bar (or bars), helping out his good friends, and frequent phone calls with his brother Rene, childhood friend Paulo, and daughter Romona (we missed many for sure; obviously, you didn’t make the speed dial list we found on his phone). They will all miss that infamous “allo” in his signature and thick French Canadian accent (most often picked up by his non-French-speaking daughter).
At sunset on February 21, 2022, we imagine his favorite people meeting him – his dad Henri, mom Albertine, sister Denise, cousin Gaston and Ovide. No rest in peace for Raymond. It’s celebration time.
And since he loved a good joke, we leave you with this one – There are 30 cows in a field and 28 chickens. How many didn’t. (speak it out super slow). The answer is 10.