Leo Yerxa passed away peacefully with his best friend and love, Maxine, by his side on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.
He is survived by Max and her critters; children, Martin Yerxa (wife, Cathy, and son, Peter), Johanna Tekawisaritha Lazore, and Sean O'Neill; sister, Marilyn; brothers, William and Wayne; and granddaughter, Niiohontesha.
He also will be remembered by his many nieces, nephews, and friends.
He was predeceased by his mother, Frances, and father, Bert; brother, Bob; and sisters, Florence, Betty, Dorothy, and Joyce.
Born on June 19, 1947, Leo was from the Little Eagle reserve near the Town of Fort Frances in Northwestern Ontario, and was educated at Algonquin College and the University of Waterloo.
Leo would say his best education came from our natural world.
For so many over the years, Leo was both a friend and a source of inspiration. Through his gentle, humble manner, and through his unique sense of humour, he taught many about what it means to be a strong, spiritual person.
He was an internationally-acknowledged artist and writer whose gifts created a bridge between the ways of the native and non-native world. Many looked upon him as a role model and a humanitarian.
Leo's many accomplishments included designing the 1976 Olympic coins depicting track-and-field sports. He also is the artist author of the book “A Fish Tale," and award-winning books "Last Leaf First Snowflake to Fall" and "Ancient Thunder.”
Before moving to Ottawa, Leo hunted, fished, trapped, and guided in the woods and lakes surrounding his home of Couchiching. He loved travelling and working the trapline with his dad.
In memory of Leo, donations can be made to the Wabano Centre in Ottawa. Leo would give his last coins to those he felt needed them more than he did. He would wish only that the spirit of giving would continue.
Burial will be held on the Couchiching reserve at a later date.