----Remembering Raymond Pitre, a great man and leader in the community
Reacting to the recent passing of local leader Raymond Pitre, residents grieved the loss of an important figure and volunteer in the community with a funeral service on March 26.
Pitre, the former president of the Aylmer and Hull Optimist Clubs, passed away on March 19. He was 89 years old. As a sympathetic gesture, people are encouraged to donate funds to the Canadian Kidney Foundation - https://www.facebook.com/donate/729873247697387/10226274223747505/.
For Pitre’s granddaughter, Nancy Joel, life just won’t be the same without the warmth of his presence and benevolent spirit. “We had a tradition every year, where we would get blessed by our grandfather,” Joel said. “And now, that won’t be happening anymore, unfortunately.”
“It’s a great loss,” she added. “Family gatherings are likely going to be very different.” Highlighting her grandfather’s qualities as a unifier, Joel recalls helping him with the optimist club’s activities and giving gifts to the less-fortunate as some her great memories of the man. “We were all involved in his projects, but we won’t be anymore unfortunately,” Joel said. “That’s what’s sad. He gave us moments to get together when we would normally never get together. Seeing him talk, act and sing in front of those people.”
Before being involved with the optimist clubs, Joel recalled her grandfather working as a school-van driver, as a taxi driver, and as the director of a health care facility in New Brunswick – always serving the community in everything he did. “They were all jobs where he was helping people,” Joel said. “It all goes together.”
Remembering him as a gentle, loving, and caring person, Pitre was the epitome of unselfishness and an exemplary role model. “He would’ve given the shirt off his back in the case that someone needed it,” Joel said. “He was always there to help people. He was very strong.”
Pointing to the impact of Pitre’s passing on the Aylmer Optimist Club and the community at large, Lucerne district councillor said he was a special breed of volunteer that isn’t easy to find. “These are the kinds of people whose hearts are in the right place,” Chagnon said. “They work hard; they don’t look at the number of hours. They’re true volunteers. It’s certain that we’re going to miss it because it’s something that happens less and less – people who give 30-40 years of their life. It’s their passion.”
Saddened by his passing, Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau said that it’s unfortunate that the pandemic is preventing people from gathering and giving Pitre the send-off he deserves. “He’s another person that I wish I could’ve honoured and that the community could’ve honoured,” Bureau said. “I find it hard that people have to say goodbye to someone like this in such a modest way.”
Pointing to his involvement with the optimist clubs and other benevolent causes for his entire life, Bureau said she was amazed by his level of engagement in the community. Having interacted regularly with Pitre through the optimist club’s various events, Deschênes district councillor Mike Duggan said he was an exemplary citizen with unrelenting drive to help the community, even in his later years. “He was really an inspiration for not letting the handicaps of age interfere with progress,” Duggan said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the optimist clubs of Hull-Aylmer. How can you replace someone like that? We’ll see. Hopefully that club survives and thrives.”