It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden and unexpected passing of Fern Pelletier—beloved husband of Carolyn (née Rinne); devoted father of Simone Gunn (Nathan), Nathan (Beatrice), Mia (Justin), and Aimée (Brian); adoring grandfather to Nicholas, Nadia, Lucas, Madison, Zachary, Mio, Xander, Fernie, and Seia; brother to Réjean and Fernande; and a dear friend to many, near and far.
Fernand Armand Joseph Pelletier was born in 1945 in Montréal, Que. His early life experiences in the seaside villages of the Gaspésie left in him a deep love of, and longing for, the sea.
Fern graduated from Hillcrest High School and the Mining Technology program at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont, and went on to study Mining Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.
He met and wed the great love of his life, Carolyn, in Thunder Bay and together they set off on a two-year honeymoon that traversed Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Their colourful tales of travelling the world became the bedtime stories of his five children as he hand-built a home and a beautiful life for his family in the woods of Northwestern Ontario.
Fern defined success on his own terms and took a storied path through life. He was variously a deck hand on ships in Lake Superior, a field geologist, a milk truck driver, a teacher, a carpenter, a surveyor, a hobby farmer, and a gardener.
The core of his professional life was a successful family greenhouse business that he built from the ground up. His clientele will remember his personable nature, his deep knowledge of plants, and his integrity.
Possessing a quiet and modest self-confidence, Fern accomplished many extraordinary things without fanfare. He was endlessly curious, well-read, and inventive—a self-taught man and life-long learner. If there was something that he didn't know how to do, he researched extensively and taught himself—from construction, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical work to gardening, carpentry, ethnic cooking, and bushcraft.
Fern had a deep love of the land and a reverence for living things. He knew the woods near his home like no other, whether the habits of wildlife or where to find wild mushrooms or chokecherries for making wine. He loved, above all else, to spend time with his family on wilderness canoe trips—his wife and best friend, Carolyn, in the bow, the sound of loons calling across the lake, a fishing line trailing in their wake.
Fern had a welcoming, generous, and non-judgmental nature. His respect for, and acceptance of, others opened windows into many lives, and he will be so dearly missed by his life-long friends and many loved ones.
Fern was predeceased by his mother, Annette; daughter, Sarah; and sister, Carol.
A private family ceremony will be held in Thunder Bay, with a Celebration of Life event to take place at the family home this summer.
In memoriam donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made to either the Friends of Quetico Provincial Park or the Northern Cancer Fund at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.