Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Donat Le Blanc 1922-2012

I come from a pretty tight family and when I heard my grandfather was having some trouble, I came back to Detroit to see what I could do to help. Unfortunately, just a few weeks after arriving, he passed away at the age of 89, due to heart complications.

Don was born in the village of St. Leon in Manitoba, Canada. After his mother died, he lived with his grandparents, and later joined his sister and father in Detroit, MI.

With the outbreak of World War II, my grandfather joined the Army Air Corps (later renamed U.S. Air Force) and served as a military policeman, guarding airfields, and keeping pilots out of various cat houses in England, France, and Germany. After the war, he met Nola and the two of them eventually married and settled just outside of Detroit in Inkster. They had one daughter, Dayna, and she had my sister and I.

My grandparents provided a sanctuary for us while we were coming of age. They stayed in the same house while my sister and I traveled from location to location, switching schools and leaving friends behind more times than we would have liked. It was comforting to know that there was something to hold on to, a family and home that would be there for us.

My grandfather was the most easy going person I've ever met. "Take a break" he'd often say. I never saw him worried or distressed during his healthy years. He liked more than anything to hang out in his garage with a cool beer, play cards, garden, go bowling, play horseshoes, cook steaks, fish, take vacations, eat cookies, and hang out at a tavern or two. I've been to more than a few bars with him growing up. My sister and I always admired his aesthetic, heart, generosity, and effortless charm. Truly that man was a fantastic human being.


Heidi said...

So sorry Derek. Lots of love to you and the family. Thank you for sharing his history and the pics, a bunch of stuff about you makes more sense to me now. xoxo

thelovelysparrows said...

Derek... very sorry to hear about your loss. You're in my thoughts buddy.