Valley Lives - Brenda Johnson Chaussé

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the June 25, 2014 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Danford Lake loses co-founder of famous mud run

by Joel Balsam

Valley LivesDanford Lake loses co-founder of famous mud runtion on June 13 at the age of 51.

Over 32 and a half years of marriage, Roger Johnson said he and his late wife, Brenda Chaussé, never got into a fight. Not once.

In the hectic business of buying and selling cars for their family business, Roger Johnson Garage, Johnson and Chaussé never argued and never went anywhere without each other. "It was work, but it didn't feel like it because we were together," said Johnson, who is scrambling to keep his business going without Chaussé.

The couple from Danford Lake were two of three people who started the famous annual Danford Lake Mud Run, which features bikini-clad women, beer, and ATV or truck races through the muck. "Everybody has a little bit of hillbilly in them," laughed Chaussé in a July 2013 Low Down article.

Valley Lives
A truck powers through the mud at the 2012 Danford Lake Mud Run. File photo.

Every year, the mud run brings in up to $18,000 for community projects such as the community outdoor rink. Chaussé was the glue for the event that she helped to launch in 1999. She did all the paperwork and finances, and was the first one there and the last one to leave every year. But without her, Johnson isn't sure there will even be a mud run this year.

A few people are interested in taking on the job, but no one is willing to rack up the hours and do it alone, which is necessary to organize the huge event that takes place every August long weekend.

Despite so much responsibility with both the Mud Run and the family business - which also does construction, winter snowplowing, and car repairs, and operates a scrap yard - Chaussé was known to laugh things off and be content. "Even if she was having a bad day, she would make sure you have a good one," said nephew Philippe Chaussé.

"She was never one to be in an upset mood," said son Gary Johnson.

Roger Johnson remembers his wife as always being easygoing, ever since the couple first met when he was 17 and she was 19 at a Kazabazua hotel. He knew she was the one pretty much right away: four weeks in, they moved in together. Just five months after that, they bought their first house, which actually took a little longer because they had to wait for Johnson to turn 18 before the bank would lend them the money.

When asked how their relationship got so serious so quickly, Johnson said "it's just the way it happens."

What got them through so many years of marriage was respecting each other's wants and needs. "I pretty well did what she wanted to do and she did what I wanted to do," said Johnson. "She supported me. It didn't matter what I did, right or wrong."

Chaussé loved country music, always blaring it at home or in the office while working. She even played it in her last days while at the hospital.

Chaussé clearly touched many people's lives, as 64 people have made comments on her Legacy.com obituary page.

In honour of Chaussé's dedication to giving back to the community, the family requests that donations be made to the Bethany Hall Committee, which runs the hall in Danford Lake.

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