John Albert Laurence Budreau, “Larry” for short, was born in Rainy River on October 11,1944. He was the fourth child born to Leland and Mary Budreau.
He spent his early years growing up on the Beckman Fur Farm, now known as Oak Grove Camp. His early schooling was at Atwood #1 in rural Atwood township. When he started school in Rainy River he bicycled to the Swanson home to catch the school bus. In winter his faithful dog Tippy pulled him on the sleigh and then remained with Gus and Helen while Larry, Ron and Darrel went to school. He completed grade twelve at the Rainy River High School and spent the next year boarding with his grandmother Laura in Kenora to obtain his grade thirteen.
While in Kenora he was recruited by Ontario Hydro. His first posting in 1964 was to Ear Falls. It was in Ear Falls that he met his future wife Linda. Following their wedding in Winnipeg on October 23,1965, they were posted to Bala and then to Windsor. During their time in Windsor the opportunity arose to transfer into the Nuclear field of Ontario Hydro.
In the fall of 1966 Larry and Linda moved to Petawawa and Larry began intensive training to become a Nuclear Power Plant Operator at the Nuclear Power Plant in Rolphton, Ont. In 1971 he became the youngest person to be appointed to a First Operator Position in a Nuclear Power Plant in Ontario, a distinction held to this day.
During these years their daughters were born. Laurie was born in 1967 in Pembroke and Jodi in 1970 in Deep River. Many lifelong friendships were formed during this time. Their home was always the gathering place for Larry’s crews after a “Hydraulic breakfast” at the Byeways.
His heart always returned home to Oak Grove Camp, especially after annual summer visits. In 1975 the decision was made to leave Deep River and return home. For the next forty years Larry and Linda operated the camp, supplementing their income with Larry’s Electric and Linda’s teaching career. New friendships were formed in this setting. He was able to spend time with his grandmother, Laura and his parents, Leland and Mary.
From an early age he was always inventing things, taking radios and motors apart and rebuilding them just to see how they worked. As a child he created a telegraph system from his clubhouse to the main house. This ability came in handy during the years at Oak Grove Camp. He designed and built a boat lift, created a leaf blower from an airplane engine which he affixed to his tractor thus eliminating hours of raking. His greatest invention, by far, was the design and creation of an elevator using a fork lift. This final project was completed in the summer of 2017. His daughters always noted that he was the smartest guy in any room!
He faced his diagnosis of MS in 2000 with courage. In the past year, more health issues appeared…a diagnosis of bladder cancer in the summer and a fall in January resulting in a broken hip caused his health to fail rapidly.
Larry was a proud member of Ionic Lodge 461, serving as Master of the Lodge in 2000. He served two terms on Dawson Town Council and was past president of McInnes Creek Chapel.
He was a man of strength, honour and integrity who loved his family dearly. He instilled in them a love of the forest and the lake, leaving them with many wonderful memories of a life well lived. He enjoyed being on the water, trips to Sable Island every summer with the grandkids, passing on his love of the land to them. Summer vacations always ended with a photo call on the maple leaf and a ride in the tractor bucket where the calls of “higher, Buppa, higher” were heard amid the laughter. Campfires and marshmallow roasts were a part of every summer as well.
He was predeceased by his parents, Leland and Mary, his infant sister Laurel Joy and his sister Gail.
He is survived by his loving wife of fifty-four years, Linda(Meyers), daughters Laurie(Mike) Murphy and Jodi(Rigo) Wittich, grandchildren Adam(Rachel) Murphy, Steven(Jenn) Murphy, Joshua(Carrie) Murphy and Kimberly Bodnaryk and a great granddaughter, Sophie Murphy.
He is also survived by his sister Lela Zurkan, cousins Rob Budreau, Kim(Maxine) Hannam, Christopher(Melissa) Hannam and several nieces and nephews. A service of celebration and remembrance will be held on Thursday March 7, 2019 at 5 p.m. at the Rainy River Knox United Church, with Rev. Frances Flook officiating. If desired memorial donations may be made in Larry’s memory to the McInnes Creek Chapel or Rainy River Public Library. c/o Northridge Funeral Home, Box 89, Emo, ON P0W 1E0