Chartier, Georgiana (Georgie) Marie Albertine (née) Champagne
July 23, 1932 – October 11, 2021
Georgie, 89, passed away peacefully, although unexpectedly, in the early hours of October 11, a day after the second anniversary of the loss of her husband. Her children are certain their dad missed his wife and her homemade bread and needed to call her home. He probably also thought it was too quiet in heaven without her.
Georgie began her life in Melville, Saskatchewan, on July 23, 1932, born to Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Champagne (Moher) and Napoleon ‘Nap’ Champagne at the Melville Municipal Hospital. She spent her early years in that community fostering her love of reading; playing tennis; taking in movies at the cinema; enjoying the company of Rosemary Mallory, her dear friend to this day; and, like so many others of that generation, missing her dad who spent four years in the army serving in Europe and North Africa during World War II.
After completing Grade 12 at St. Henry’s High School in 1950, she packed up and headed to Saskatoon to pursue her career. She graduated in 1953 from the School of Nursing at St. Paul’s Hospital, the same hospital where she would later tend to a patient there for a sports injury, the man who would become her husband. Georgie was incredibly proud of her nursing career that lasted from 1953 until the birth of her fifth child in 1964. She would often talk about her time ‘in training’ and her nursing days, and thoroughly enjoyed the nursing school reunions over the years and recollecting that time in her life.
Georgie and Rusty (Gerard) wed in 1955 and got to spend 63 years together raising seven children in the small home on Avenue O they built together; and nurturing and adoring 15 grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Family was everything to her and she truly was the backbone of her clan.
Every single grandchild knew Grandma was their number one fan. Georgie sat through hundreds of hours of dance recitals and singing performances, hockey games, school concerts and any other event where her grandchildren could be found performing or playing, always arriving early to get the front row seat.
She showed her love for her family in many ways, not the least of which was bringing us all together for good food. COVID was hard on the many annual ‘mandatory’ Chartier family get-togethers and, thus, on her. Georgie’s menu of comfort foods was endless and included the likes of homemade chocolate pudding, spaghetti sauce, tourtière, double boiler frosting for birthday cakes, lasagna, bread, jams and relish, cocktail sausages, doughnuts, sugar cookies and legendary hot cross buns where she would make 15 to 20 dozen fresh buns each year on Good Friday.
Georgie often called her home “a zoo”, not just because of her rambunctious children and their many friends who were often over, but also because of the assortment of animals over the years she took in – dogs, cats and birds, among others. She loved her animals. Whether you were a stray dog or a stray human without family nearby, she always had room in her home and at her table for you.
She was also committed to her community and to the service of others. Over her lifetime she served on innumerable boards – the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, the Saskatchewan Badminton Association, the Good Food Junction, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Saskatchewan Ophthalmological Dispensary Association, to name a few, and always advocated for ‘better’. Many aspiring physicians would have been interviewed by Georgie as part of the application process to Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan in her role with the College of Physicians and Surgeons. She was a member of the St. John Bosco Parish Catholic Women’s League and, up until the present day, remained connected to St. John School, dropping off books and puzzles for the students regularly. She received both the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada in 1992 and the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal in 2005 for her contributions to the community.
Anyone who knew her, knew Georgie was a fervent social democrat and was proud of her many years of involvement with the Saskatoon Riversdale NDP, including as president when her party returned to government in 1991. In more recent years, she began to spend more time working on her passions of genealogy and heritage preservation and became an active member with the Saskatoon Heritage Society and the Saskatchewan Genealogical Association, Saskatoon Chapter. She especially loved being invited to judge the Saskatoon Heritage Fair and see all the students’ projects.
Another of her loves was the greenhouse she and Rusty built together, which evolved from a hobby to a small home-based business. She reveled in perusing seed catalogues in the winter in preparation for the spring. She maintained an index of every customer’s annual order and invented curbside pickup. She was passionate about the work in the greenhouse and running a home-based business. More than anything, she took pride in her yard and the flowers she and Rusty nurtured, attested to by the frequent tours of the yard and greenhouse she was always happy to provide to friends and strangers alike.
Georgie did so much for others, but she had her own interests and passions too – she was a badminton and tennis player right up until her early 80s when her rotator cuff cut her playing short; a voracious reader who always had multiple books on the go around the house; a lover of both history and science fiction, eager to know and understand the past but to also dream about the future and the world beyond earth; a traveller at heart who thoroughly enjoyed her trips she and Rusty took with friends to Latin America, her travels across Canada, and the two visits she made to the UK to visit family and her brief stop in Paris; a lover of northern Saskatchewan, always looking forward to her annual trips to Waskesiu where she did every walk there countless times and took so many pictures of sunsets; and a lifelong learner taking classes over the years in things like Spanish, photography and genealogy.
Georgie was predeceased by her parents, Napoleon and Elizabeth Champagne; her husband Rusty; her beloved grandson, Jordan; her baby brother, Napoleon William; her sister-in-law, Alice Chartier; and her brothers-in law, Tony Held, and Ronald ‘Pappy’ and Ken Chartier.
She is survived by her children Adrien (Brigitte), Greg (Lori), Marc (Yvette), Cathrine, Dave (Joanne), Michelle (John) and Danielle; her grandchildren Michael (Cynthia), Kereena (Jake), Dylan (Tanya), Aaron (Cate), Lucas, Mackenzie, Halie (Mitch), Rourke, Caylen, Hennessey (Jeremy), Leadan, Jake, Madigan and Ophelia; and her great-grandchildren Maxwell, Oscar, Oliver, Archer, Owen and Fabian; her siblings Barbara Held, and Paul (Diane) and Peter (Betty) Champagne; and her siblings-in-law, Basil, Yvonne, Brian (Linda) and Tom Chartier (Clara); and Sharon Chartier and Lorie Hrycuik. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews. To those she has left behind, she will be dearly missed.
A Liturgy of the Word celebrating Georgie’s life will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 17, 2021 at St. John Bosco Catholic Parish (1202 Avenue O South, Saskatoon). Masks will be required. We are live-streaming the service for those who cannot be there or wish to pay their respects at a distance. Live-streaming will be available at the time or viewable at a later date at: www.faithproductions.ca/livestream
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Saskatoon Heritage Society, Box 7051, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 4J1 or New Hope Dog Rescue, Site 905, Box 11, RR 9, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 1P3.
Arrangements are in care of Aimé Laventure, Mourning Glory Funeral Services – (306) 978-5200.
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