Valley Lives - Del Trudeau

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the December 08, 2010 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Chelsea loses one of its favourite sons

by Trevor Greenway

When Del Trudeau died Dec. 3, he was not alone. His two daughters, Missy and Krista, were at his side, holding his hand and singing childhood songs he had taught them.

"It was a beautiful peaceful moment," said Krista Trudeau, whose reflection was followed by a long silence.

"We shared a lot of childhood memories. We held his hand until his very last breath and he was never more peaceful," she said. Delmour John Trudeau of Old Chelsea died Dec. 3 at the age of 74 from pneumonia, leaving behind Patricia, his wife of 53 years, and their six children - Tracey, Joe, Missy, Krista, Timothy and Susan - all of whom call their father "the best dad on Scott Road."

"I love my dad," said Joe. "I will remember my dad for all the years we spent together fishing and hunting. He taught me to be an entrepreneur and made me the man I am today."

Valley Lives
Del Trudeau, tending to his beloved Padden Road garden. Photo courtesy Susan Trudeau.

Patricia is trying to come to terms with the loss of her longtime life partner.

"Just knowing that he is not coming back," she said, fighting off tears, "there is nothing we can do about it. But I know he will help us from above to get through all of this." Patricia wishes she would have been at the bedside when her husband passed on, she was glad that her daughters joined in song and she's certain he was aware of it.

"I thought, 'I am sure he heard you, he just wasn't singing along,'" she said, her voice breaking. "I am just so glad that when he did go, he wasn't alone."

Patricia said that her daily morning coffee with Del will be greatly missed and that the house will be "awfully quiet" over the next few weeks, although his presence was surely felt in the family house Dec. 6.

That morning, at about 7:30 a.m., Patricia all of a sudden heard some beautiful piano music with birds chirping in the background. At first, she thought it was her daughter, Krista, playing in the living room, but quickly realized that the music was actually coming from a digital picture frame that was looping images of the family. The strange thing was, the frame had been switched on the previous 12 hours, and nobody heard music until the morning of Dec. 6. The frame has not played music again, leading the family to believe it was a message from Del himself.

"It came on at 7:30 a.m. (in the) morning, which is when Dad would have wanted us all to get up," said Krista. "He is going to keep sending us signs."

Valley Lives
Del Trudeau.

Krista remembers going on fuel and wood delivery trips with her dad and making maple syrup in the spring. The two would also take trips through Gatineau Park to spot deer, while they crooned songs from his era, some of the very songs Krista and Missy sang at his bedside. Del, who was born in the former Dean's hotel, now the Chelsea Pub, was a businessman in Chelsea, where he operated a heating business for more than 40 years before he selling it to Francis Fuels.

Although he sold the company, he never stopped working, said Joe. He kept supplying Chelseaites with firewood and never stopped working on his beloved Padden Road garden.

"His garden, firewood and his family were the loves of his life," said Joe.

Patricia said Del was the kind of guy who couldn't say no to anybody in need. Whether it was someone stuck in a ditch at 4 a.m. or a cottager in a bind with no firewood, Del would come to the rescue. "He was an angel," said Patricia. "He was kind, understanding and compassionate. He had a heart of gold bigger than he was. And he was a big guy." The funeral service for Del Trudeau will be held at the St. Stephen's Church in Chelsea on Friday, Dec. 10 at 1 p.m.

Charitable donations can be made to the Lung or Diabetes Associations, or the Wings of Phoenix Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program.

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