Wayne Arthur Brazeau, CD was born 9 February 9, 1939 in the little farming community of Elphinstone, Manitoba to Arthur Brazeau and Margaret Plant. Some of his childhood was spent on the farm where he learned self discipline, self-reliance and a strong work ethic. These traits gave him the strength to survive in the harsh and demeaning world of an orphanage in Winnipeg after his mother was severely burned in a fire. At the age of 14, he began to fend for himself and found work as a chimney sweep, earning enough money to live on peanut butter and jam sandwiches and pay his rent of $8 a month.
At the age of 17, in 1956, he was accepted into the Canadian Military. He served with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada 2nd Battalion for 14 years earning the Canadian Forces Decoration. Wayne lived or trained in Esquimalt, BC, Calgary, Suffield and Wainwright AB where he was subjected to mustard gas in a 1968 training scheme called Exercise Vaccuum. Wayne also served twice in Germany where he was in a motorcycle accident that resulted in a misunderstood brain injury. In 1967, he was in Cyprus with the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces where he wore the blue beret and United Nations hat badge.
Following his military service, Wayne had a variety of labour and maintenance jobs in Alberta, Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario where he met his wife of 40 years, Susan Elizabeth Hillman and they married in 1974. In 1976, Wayne began working in Calgary with the Alberta Department of the Attorney General (now the Department of Justice). Promotions took him to the Judicial Districts of Wetaskiwin, Red Deer and, finally Vegreville, where he served 8 years as the Court Manager with the titles Clerk of the Court and Sheriff of the Court of Queen’s Bench and Provincial Courts.
After almost 19 years with the Department, he took early retirement in 1995. He and Susan then moved to Lloydminster where Susan was employed as an Instructor at Lakeland College. To end his careers, Wayne worked as a security guard with the Corps of Commissionaires on both sides of the provincial borders in Lloydminster.
While in his 50’s, Wayne learned of his Metis ancestry and his paternal genealogy has been traced and documented to seven original Aboriginal mothers in Western Canada, figures in Canadian fur trading history and to several early families that arrived in Quebec in the mid 1600’s. His maternal ancestry extends to the earliest families that settled in New Hampshire, USA, some of whom are Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution. It is a family ancestry in which Wayne had great pride and a sense of identity as a devoted Canadian and a true child of this continent.
Wayne’s favourite sports teams were the Calgary Flames and the Calgary Stampeders. He also enjoyed reading mysteries and watching British dramas and comedies and movies or documentaries about space, science, and medical discoveries. For many years, he was also an avid collector of Canadian stamps and postage memorabilia -a hobby he and Susan enjoyed together.
Also, over the years and in different communities, Wayne had been a member of the Kiwanis Club; Rotary International; Lloydminster and Area Brain Injury Society (LABIS); and, the Queens Own Rifles Association of Canada. As a member of the Metis Nation of Alberta, he founded the Vegreville Branch, Local 1869. At his death he was a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch #39.
Wayne had a subtle sense of humour that was always accompanied by a huge grin and a signature chuckle. His positive attitude and self determination brought him through adversity in his life and made him empathetic to others who also met with difficult challenges. As an example, at an early age, his education was cut short; but, he eventually completed high school and also earned a Business Management Certificate through the Government of Alberta when he was in his 40’s. He valued learning and education and, along with Susan, set up the Wayne and Susan Brazeau Life Experience Award for students at Lakeland College.
Wayne passed away on 21 January 2015 in Lloydminster, Alberta. Wayne’s wish was that his ashes be buried in St. Francois Xavier in the White Horse Plains, Manitoba, the traditional home of his Metis ancestors.