|Dumont, Willard A.|
|Local Content - Obituaries|
|Written by publisher|
|Wednesday, 05 September 2012 21:51|
DUMONT - Willard A. Dumont ~ 1918 - 2012
Willard was born in 1918 on his father's homestead along Fish Creek in the Cypress Hills southwest of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. He was the third of nine children born to parents William and Vitaline (Deguerre) Dumont.
A favourite of his grandparents, Henri and Melanie (Fayant) Dumont, Willard spent a significant amount of time living with his grandparents at their homestead located in the coulee on the north side of the Macleod Bench just west of Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills.
When Willard was 13 years old he yearned to see the range that his grandfather had hunted and over which his father had worked as cowboy, so he headed out on horseback. During this time he secured his first job, working on the Q Ranch in southeast Alberta. This was the beginning of Willard's career working as a cowboy and ranch-hand on many of the ranches of the Cypress Hills and Milk River area, including the Heydlauff, Gilchrist, Pollock, Naismith, Nuttall, Boyd, Brower and Ross ranches (to name a few).
Willard joined the army in April of 1940, and was stationed with the South Saskatchewan Regiment. After training in Weyburn, Camp Shilo, and a brief stay in Toronto, he shipped out to war in December 1940. After a nine-day crossing of the Atlantic, he arrived in Scotland on Christmas Day. Willard rose to the rank of sergeant and spent much of the war training troops in England. He also served in Holland.
While in England at the Canadian Training School in Washington, Sussex, Willard met his wife, Vera Curling. They were married on February 5, 1944. After the end of the war, Willard returned home to Canada, arriving back in Maple Creek with nothing to his name but the pack on his back. After a week in Maple Creek he joined his brother Jack working at the shale pit in Redcliff, Alberta.
Willard's first home in Redcliff was a two-room sheep camp wagon. In March of 1946, almost six months after Willard's discharge from the army, Vera arrived in Canada along with a number of other English war brides coming to start a new life.
By 1948 Willard yearned to return to country life. That spring the couple moved to the Wild Horse area where Willard worked with his father on contract fencing in the summer, and ran a trap-line in the winter. In the fall of 1949 Willard took a job with Ross Ranches. Willard continued to work for Ross Ranches in various capacities over the course of the next 18 years, including 11 years as the foreman of the LA Ranch. During this time Willard and Vera had two daughters; Debra (1953) and Donna (1956).
In 1967 Willard and Vera purchased their own ranch, the 4-T, in Eagle Butte Valley adjacent to Cypress Hills Provincial Park. The couple sold the 4-T in 1974 and moved to Medicine Hat, Alberta. For nearly 15 years afterwards, Willard worked with the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires at Suffield, Alberta. He left the Corps in the late 1980s.
In 1979, Willard and Vera sold their house in Medicine Hat and purchased an acreage along the Trans-Canada Highway in Dunmore, Alberta. Here Willard built his retirement business, “The Woodshed.” From this shop he built and sold hip-roofed barn garden sheds as well as furniture. He also pursued his interest as a wheelwright, rebuilding buggies from little more than their original hardware. During this time he also started to construct Red River carts, one of which he donated to Fort Walsh National Historic Site in 1995. While in Dunmore, Willard and Vera opened their home to Cody and Cameron Girling for daycare while their parents, Don and Mona Girling were at work. Willard and Vera were soon adopted by the Girling family as surrogate grandparents, and in like manner the Girlings were adopted as an extension of Willard and Vera's family.
In December of 1998, Willard and Vera sold the place at Dunmore and moved back to Medicine Hat; first into a large house on Shannon Drive, and then into a condo at Fairway Village in 2003. Finally Willard and Vera moved into Chinook Village in 2012 where Willard passed away peacefully on Aug. 28.
Willard was particularly proud of his community service, having volunteered his time and energy to numerous organizations over the years. Willard's community work included serving as the president of the Elkwater Roping Club, president of the Elkwater Community Hall, vice-president of the Elkwater Curling Club, president of Unifarm, chairman of the Lebannon School, secretary/treasurer of the Medicine Lodge Stock Assoc., township captain and reeve of Cypress County, and honourary president of the SW Sask. Oldtimers' Association.
Willard is survived by his wife Vera Dumont; his daughter Debra Pettyjohn (Garry Lentz) and her children Royce, Cal, Terina (Laurie Sommerfeld) and Alex (Karla Rust); and his daughter Donna (Herb) Kopp and their children Aaron (Velaine Short) and Bradley (Heather Bader). Willard was a great-grandfather to Lukas Sommerfeld (mother Terina), Ethyn Pettyjohn (father Alex) and Harlow Kopp (father Bradley). He was also a step-great-grandfather to Serenity Heinz and Amber and Nathan Sommerfeld.
The funeral service was held in SAAMIS Memorial Funeral Chapel, #1 Dunmore Road SE, Medicine Hat, on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. with Captain Ron MacDonald officiating. A private interment took place in the family plot at Maple Creek Cemetery.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to SAAMIS Memorial Funeral Chapel and Crematorium, “The Chapel in the Park”, Medicine Hat, Alberta. Should you wish any additional information, please telephone 1-800-317-2647.