John Albert Laurence Budreau, “Larry” for short, was born in Rainy River, Ont. on Oct. 11, 1944. He was the fourth child born to Leland and Mary Budreau.
He spent his early years growing up on the Beckman Fur Farm, now known as Oak Grove Camp. His early schooling was at Atwood #1 in rural Atwood Township.
When he started school in Rainy River, he bicycled to the Swanson home to catch the school bus. In winter, his faithful dog, “Tippy,” pulled him on the sleigh and then remained with Gus and Helen while Larry, Ron, and Darrel went to school.
He completed Grade 12 at the Rainy River High School and spent the next year boarding with his grandmother, Laura, in Kenora to obtain his Grade 13.
While in Kenora, he was recruited by Ontario Hydro. His first posting in 1964 was to Ear Falls. It was in Ear Falls that he met his future wife, Linda. Following their wedding in Winnipeg on Oct. 23, 1965, they were posted to Bala and then to Windsor.
During their time in Windsor, the opportunity arose to transfer into the nuclear field of Ontario Hydro.
In the fall of 1966, Larry and Linda moved to Petawawa and Larry began intensive training to become a nuclear power plant operator at the nuclear power plant in Rolphton, Ont. In 1971, he became the youngest person to be appointed to a First Operator Position in a nuclear power plant in Ontario—a distinction held to this day.
During these years, their daughters were born. Laurie was born in 1967 in Pembroke and Jodi in 1970 in Deep River. Many lifelong friendships were formed during this time. Their home always was the gathering place for Larry's crews after a “hydraulic breakfast” at the Byeways.
His heart always returned home to Oak Grove Camp, especially after annual summer visits. In 1975, the decision was made to leave Deep River and return home. For the next 40 years, Larry and Linda operated the camp, supplementing their income with Larry's electric and Linda's teaching career.
New friendships were formed in this setting. He also was able to spend time with his grandmother, Laura, and his parents, Leland and Mary.
From an early age, Larry always was inventing things, taking radios and motors apart and rebuilding them just to see how they worked. As a child, he created a telegraph system from his clubhouse to the main house.
This ability came in handy during the years at Oak Grove Camp. He designed and built a boat lift, and created a leaf blower from an airplane engine which he affixed to his tractor, thus eliminating hours of raking.
His greatest invention, by far, was the design and creation of an elevator using a fork lift. This final project was completed in the summer of 2017.
His daughters always noted that he was the smartest guy in any room!
Larry faced his diagnosis of MS in 2000 with courage. In the past year, more health issues appeared . . . a diagnosis of bladder cancer in the summer and a fall in January, resulting in a broken hip, caused his health to fail rapidly.
Larry was a proud member of Ionic Lodge 461, serving as Master of the Lodge in 2000. He served two terms on Dawson township council and was past president of McInnes Creek Chapel.
He was a man of strength, honour, and integrity who loved his family dearly. He instilled in them a love of the forest and the lake, leaving them with many wonderful memories of a life well-lived. He enjoyed being on the water, trips to Sable Island every summer with the grandkids, and passing on his love of the land to them.
Summer vacations always ended with a photo call on the maple leaf and a ride in the tractor bucket, where the calls of “higher, Buppa, higher” were heard amid the laughter. Campfires and marshmallow roasts were a part of every summer, as well.
Larry was predeceased by his parents, Leland and Mary; infant sister, Laurel Joy; and sister, Gail.
He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Linda (Meyers); daughters, Laurie (Mike) Murphy and Jodi (Rigo) Wittich; grandchildren, Adam (Rachel) Murphy, Steven (Jenn) Murphy, Joshua (Carrie) Murphy, and Kimberly Bodnaryk; and great-granddaughter, Sophie Murphy.
He also is survived by his sister, Lela Zurkan; cousins, Rob Budreau, Kim (Maxine) Hannam, and Christopher (Melissa) Hannam; and several nieces and nephews.
A service of celebration and remembrance will be held on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 5 p.m. at the Knox United Church in Rainy River, with Rev. Frances Flook officiating.
If desired, in memoriam donations may be made to the McInnes Creek Chapel or Rainy River Public Library c/o Northridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 89, Emo, Ont., P0W 1E0.