"A diamond in the rough, yet no less precious…"
Michael John Lamoureux; son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, son-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, great-uncle, and friend passed peacefully at home with his family in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Thursday, April 30, 2020 at 67 years of age. Mike was born in Ottawa, Ontario on December 19, 1952.
Mike is survived by his wife, and soulmate of 41 years, Sandy Reimer; daughter Jennifer Lamoureux; grandchildren Elisha, Iyrell, and Jesse Lamoureux; son Matthew Reimer-Lamoureux (Robyn); brother Robert; and sister Carol Handspiker (Michael).
Mike is lovingly remembered and sadly missed by his large extended families, (sisters and brothers-in-law, nephews, nieces, their children), and friends. He was predeceased by his parents Armand Lamoureux and Georgina (Sinnott) Lamoureux; sister Donna Fraser; infant brother Steven; as well as Jacob and Sarah Reimer, who grew to love him as their own son.
Friends, relatives and co-workers are encouraged to share their own photos, memories, stories and/or condolences for the family by making use of the comments area on this page. Your memories would make a lovely addition to the following story of Mike’s life…
Mike lived most of his life in Ottawa. He was baptized, made his first communion, and was later married in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He attended the parish school, and for his senior years, Highland Park Technical School, where his training in the welding and sheet metal trade began. Mike had an exceptional mathematical mind and was able to perform mental gymnastics converting measurements to metric and back, calculating numbers, grasping complex equations and formulae. Though he did not aspire to higher academic education, it was a mistake to underestimate his keen intelligence.
As an older child he explored downtown Ottawa, on foot or bicycle including every statue, nook and cranny on the hillside behind Parliament. He knew the best places to ride the ramps of the Queensway while it was under construction, and where to swim in the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers. Mike often watched over his younger sisters, and they would spend lazy summer days together swimming and exploring.
Early on, Mike learned to love animals, radio dramas, tv, music, dancing, cars, auto racing and other sports. These passions remained deeply embedded over his lifetime. In later years, winter weekends were reserved for watching NASCAR, Formula One, tennis, golf, football, soccer and hockey.
As a young man, Mike dated and married Juliette Blais. In 1976, he became the proud and devoted father of Jennifer, the daughter he adored and loved deeply. Though the marriage ended, and Mike and Jennifer spent most of their lives living apart, the depth of his love for Jennifer never diminished. Mike was equally proud to become a grandfather to Jennifer’s three children. To the end, not a night went by that he did not pray for them before falling asleep. He always held them close to his heart.
Mike and Sandy began sharing their Ottawa lives in 1979 and continued to do so for the remainder of his life. In 1986 Mike became the proud and loving father of Matthew. Those who witnessed Mike cradling his infant children with his calloused, work-worn hands were privileged to glimpse the true, gentle, tenderness of his soul.
“He who works with his hands is a labourer.
He who works with his hands
and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands
and his head and his heart is an artist.”
~St. Francis of Assisi
Prior to moving to Winnipeg in 1996, Mike honed his welding and metal craft talents at Alexander Metals where he began by sweeping floors and doing “grunt” work while on work experience from high school at age 16. He was immediately hired and put to work developing and refining the custom welding and sheet metal fabrication skills he had learned at school. It was not long before he had mastered most aspects of the trade. Even then his attention to detail and insistence on making everything to the highest possible standards was evident.
Mike became the Lead Hand and was stationed at a bench positioned in front of a large interior window so that clients could observe him at work on their jobs. At Alexander, Mike’s projects were many and varied. They included everything from custom copper tubs used to boil sap into maple syrup in Quebec to huge mechanical engineering equipment that was shipped as far north as the Canadian Artic. As well, he made the custom light apertures that were installed on Parliament Hill for the 1984 Canada Day Sound and Light Show and used for many years thereafter.
On November 5, 1996, Mike relocated to Winnipeg where he joined Sandy and Matthew following their move in August of that year. Most importantly, this was the first day of the sobriety he maintained for the remainder of his life. He quietly celebrated this birthday each year for his remaining 24 years. We were all extremely proud of him for this accomplishment. (Imagine Mike’s introduction to weather in the ‘Peg. That first winter he experienced the blizzard of the century, followed in spring by the flood of the century.)
Life improved dramatically after this move. Once Mike had regained some strength and health, he was blessed to be offered a job by Dick Buhler of Linster Construction, who also nourished his mental and spiritual health. The examples set by Dick and his crew laid the foundation for Mike’s recovery and continued sobriety. Mike forever cherished Dick for having faith in him and the gift of friendship that remained to the end.
On March 1, 1999, Mike began his employment with Electra Sign Ltd. Here he developed another side of his trade, becoming a sign fabricator of significant skill. Mike was an integral and respected member of the Electra Sign family for over 20 years.
At Electra, Mike was regarded as a “dedicated craftsman” by Founder Ken Devine; and affectionately thought of as “Papa Smurf” by Sam Nimchonok, for vainly attempting to “keep the guys in line”.
Over time, Mike created a portfolio amounting to hundreds of letters, signs, and custom logos, becoming adept at wiring while doing so. There were many complex jobs that tested his skills and knowledge. His work ethic was exemplary, and he was modestly proud to point out the signs he built wherever we drove, around the city and beyond.
Mike was a dear friend and partner in crime to Larry Becker. They were the resident mischief makers at Electra and were known to stir the flames from time to time. Many people who saw the hundreds if not thousands of empty Tim Hortons cups, stacked from floor to ceiling in Mike’s garage, thought Mike had a screw or two loose. Then they learned that he saved them for Larry at work, because he liked to use them for mixing custom paint for the signs they worked on together.
“My Buddy Mike I sure do miss him. I worked with him for 20 years. I knew from Day 1 we were both old school guys and we would become friends. Mike was the type of guy that wasn't afraid to speak his mind for the things he believed in. I admired him for that, he was a no bullshit guy. He appeared to have a hard crust about him, but I also saw a soft side of him, especially when I would talk about my niece and nephew in Kelowna. He was an excellent sheet metal craftsman. He took pride in his work. People like that are rare. Anyhow, I must say he was one of the coolest dudes I ever met. Your Friend Larry.”
Mike became a mentor to “new guys” and “the pup/s” as he privately referred to the younger team members. They quickly learned that Mike was an old-school authority in sheet metal fabrication who exacted perfection from himself and demanded it from everyone around him as well. Mike was especially proud and pleased when a “pup” like Ben displayed an ethic and dedication to quality work like his own.
Often, after a hard day’s work, as we sat eating and as his food grew cold, Mike would describe in detail his current project, right down to the precise measurements, angles, and other geometric features of the structures he was building. He sometimes used his napkin to draw a quick sketch to illustrate these descriptions. More than a few “specs” came home for the evening and were rolled out on the floor so he could share the size and complexity of the jobs he was working on.
Mike was a devoted reader, spending time in bed every evening with his favourite authors; Clive Cussler, Stephen Hunter, or James Patterson; munching on frozen milk and cookies while he read. He also began watching the Space, History, Discovery, and other documentary channels in addition to cooking and renovation shows.
Mike was a fine cook, also bringing his insistence on perfection to food preparation. All homemade french-fries were precisely the same dimensions when he made them and each meatloaf he made had meticulously separated, minutely equal morsels of ground beef that resulted in the moistest, most tender loaf you could ever hope to enjoy! He was a hard act to follow in the kitchen. Through Matthew, Mike’s legacy and passion for culinary perfection lives on.
We were richly blessed in many ways following our move to Winnipeg. After losing our Ottawa apartment and all our possessions to fire in 1994, we were eventually able buy and love our first home in Winnipeg in 1999. With Mike’s sister Carol and her husband Michael, we also had the privilege of travelling to places we had never dreamt possible. These journeys included Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises, multiple trips to Punta Cana and Mexico ending with our final trip to Varadero, Cuba to celebrate Matthew’s marriage to Robyn. Mike was the only guy on tropical beaches, fried by the sun, while wearing 30 Below wool socks in his sandals.
When I think of Mike in the days to come, I will remember drifting up into the clear blue sky, while parasailing with him in Punta Cana. It did feel like we were floating up to heaven together.
Mike was welcomed into the Reimer Family with open arms after arriving in Winnipeg, especially by Sandy’s brothers. It was not long before he was a regular attendee at the “Boys Only” Christmas gift exchange. This proved to be a potent outlet for Mike’s mischievous side, as it was tradition for some of the aforementioned brothers to give presents that were difficult to open. After getting “burned” his first year in, likely by Brian, the game was on. Suffice it to say, Mike was not opposed to encasing your gift in concrete if he felt it was necessary.
In Ottawa, Mike was known to scoff at golfers, or as he referred to them “fools who hit small balls with sticks and chase them around fields”. Once in Winnipeg, he was persuaded to try a round with his brothers-in-law. It was not long before Mike was improving both his game and equipment, becoming a regular participant in the sport. For many summers, he would take a few days off work, and we would rent a weekday cabin near a resort. There we were joined by the family golfers (Randy, David and Dennis) and the foursome would head out for as many rounds as time would allow. This also allowed us to explore Manitoba in ways we might otherwise not done and build strong relationships within our family. Mike looked forward to it every year. He also loved to golf at Caribbean resorts with Carol and Michael when we travelled there together.
Early in his Ottawa life Mike began shooting pool with his friends. In no time, he was skilled in both the techniques and “tricks” of the game. His first wish list item when we looked at houses for sale was “a rec room big enough for a pool table”. We found that little house and Mike began saving his spare change until he had enough to buy his dream table and accessories. He loved to go downstairs and clear that table.
As they grew up, Matthew and his school friends began chillin’ there as well. We later learned that hundreds of games had taken place during Matt and Ryan’s “extended” spares and breaks from Glenlawn Collegiate. It gave Mike much joy to hear Matt, Ryan, Mackenzie, Carol, Shawn, Lisa, and Leroy in the rec room whacking cue balls when he was no longer able to go downstairs himself.
At the annual Electra Christmas party, Mike became a sought-after pool partner with a winning reputation. He usually came home with a prize and a wore a smirky grin as he told us about the games he played and won.
Mike possessed a carefully hidden, yet tender and generous heart that he revealed to only a select few. He might grumble or appear reluctant if asked for a favour but inevitably said yes. He could be counted on to be there if needed. Over the years, Mike helped with many moves, renovations, and other projects. In doing so he became skilled in building, painting, concrete work, landscaping, and gardening.
When in the mood, Mike was an extremely comical storyteller and in combination with his uniquely funny facial expressions his razor-sharp comedic talent was revealed. Mike held our undivided attention when sharing his hilarious observations of daily life and the people around him. He would leave us gasping for air, with tears streaming down our cheeks.
With respect for Mike’s wishes he was laid to rest in St. Vital Cemetery on Thursday, May 7, 2020 . A celebration of his life is being planned for when it is safe for everyone to gather. In the mean time, please lift your prayers and raise your "Tim's" to his memory.
“The great fact is just this, and nothing less: That we have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized our whole attitude toward life, toward our fellows and toward God’s universe. The central fact of our lives today is the absolute certainty that our Creator has entered into our hearts and lives in a way which is indeed miraculous. He has commenced to accomplish those things for us which we could never do by ourselves.” ~from the Big Book.
ETHICAL DEATH CARE
Cremation & Funeral Planning
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MICHAEL JOHN LAMOUREUX
December 19, 1952 - April 30, 2020
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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