A tribute to my brother

Six months ago, on January 9, 2017, my brother Donald died.  I am grateful that I was able to be with him in St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver at the time.

Donald John Hogue was born July 18, 1937 and spent the first few years of his life in La Salle, Manitoba. He had a few health problems as a child including a bout of polio. Here are some of my favourite photos of him as a child.

Believe it or not, there was a time when a photographer would go door to door with a pony offering to take pictures!  How could a mother say no?

Don on horse

Don on a pony

Here’s a picture with his big brother and Mémère in La Salle.

IMG_0004

In La Salle

This portrait is, I suspect, from his First Communion at St. Ann’s.

Don First Communion

Studio portrait

 

His dapper look in this photo foretold a lifelong habit of stylish dressing.

Don in suit

How dapper!

Don was eleven years older than I was, and he left home, Winnipeg, when he was nineteen.  Like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, he was “off to see the world”.

Don waving

Waving goodbye at the train station

He didn’t see that much of the world before being captivated by the beauty of Vancouver.

Don on Cornwall

Happy in Vancouver

I remember many train trips, traveling on Dad’s CN pass, to visit him in that gorgeous city.

Don and Jackie

Don and me in Vancouver

 

Later he moved to Toronto, for business reasons. Any time he came “home” to Winnipeg, we all made a fuss.

3 brothers

Don and his brothers, Christmas 1996

Don always made time to take me aside on these visits,  and really listen to what I had to say about whatever was going on in my life at the time.  When I had children myself he did the same thing, finding time during a visit to really inquire about their interests. Clearing out his apartment after his death, I came across all the photo albums/scrapbooks that he kept, filled with birth/wedding announcements for all of the extended family.  The tears flowed when I saw those reminders that, despite living away, he held us close in his heart.

When circumstances allowed him to move back to the coast, he jumped at the chance. He loved the ocean and the mountains.  If, as I believe, a human’s life is measured by their effect on other people, then Don’s was a great success, for he truly made a difference in so many people’s lives, especially through his involvement in AA.  The many friends I met in Vancouver when he died were testament to that truth.

Two friends in particular were the sole reason Don was able to continue to live his life with dignity and independence in his apartment.  They know who they are, and they also know they have my eternal gratitude.

Don

Donald John Hogue

Rest in peace dear brother.

 

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10 thoughts on “A tribute to my brother

  1. A very nice tribute to your brother. He sounds like he was a great person to know and I am very sorry for your loss. I can see however you have fond memories that you will hold dear and by doing so they will give you great comfort. I did want to say that I really liked the picture you called “How Dapper” what a great picture.

  2. Amen. Beautifully written, Jackie.

  3. Connie Prynne

    Dear Jackie.
    What a Beautiful & Loving Tribute to your Brother, Donald ( & my Cousin). After reading this, I feel so Proud to call him “My Cousin”, and of course, you & Moe. & Leonard. The last time I saw him, he had come in for one of my boy’s wedding, & I couldn’t get over how much he reminded me of your Dad. Even looking & enjoying seeing those beautiful pictures you sent, I still say he looked just like your Dad. (and your Dad was a real “Looker”.) The goose bumps are still all over me, & the tears are still flowing, but I cannot express you, how much I appreciate you sending these to me. Thank-you, Thank-you, Jackie. Will call you in the next couple of weeks, so we can get together for our luncheon date. Maybe we could get to see Auntie Louise as well. St. Ann’s is having a garage sale next week, & I am involved with it, so it is a big Fund Raiser to get ready for. It is St. Ann’s 100th Anniversary this year, therefore we are doing a lot to get ready for it. Again, Jackie, Thank-you for sending this to me, & I am looking forward to getting together with you soon. Hugs & Love, Connie XO

  4. Maurice Hogue

    Thanks Jackie,
    Your tribute to Don made me feel as though he was back with us again…………..beautiful!

  5. Such an lovely and loving tribute to your brother. You are fortunate to have all of those wonderful photos of him spanning his lifetime. So sorry for your loss.

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