'Life rich with adventure': Metis community mourns loss of Sask. WWII veteran Louis Roy
One of the oldest Metis veterans of the Second World War died Tuesday at the age of 101 at a long-term care home in northern Saskatchewan.
Louis Roy is being remembered by his family as a kind man who paved a path for his 10 children and many grandchildren.
“He was just a very well-respected man. He lived a fulfilled life rich with adventure, and experienced so much wisdom,” said his granddaughter Glenda Burnouf.
Roy was born Aug. 2, 1920 in Ile-a-la-Cross. His first language was Cree. His father died when he was 12, so the family relocated to Beauval in 1932. Roy attended boarding school in Ile-a-la-Cross.
He enlisted in the Canadian army in February 1942 at the age of 21, according to a biography prepared by his daughter Julie Roy.
He did basic and advanced training where he learned how to drive and other skills such as map reading, weaponry and communications training.
“It really formed the foundation of his life and work skills to come,” said Burnouf.
He served in the infantry in Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and England until his discharge in October 1945.
Metis Nation-Saskatchewan veterans minister Mervin Tex Bouvier is from the same area as Roy and says he was a role model in the community.
“Everyone knew Louis Roy because it’s just like a family from Green Lake to La Loche,” said Bouvier. “He was well respected by his peers and people.”
Bouvier says the area lacks the presence of a Legion branch and MN-S plans to assist with proper recognition of Roy and other Metis veterans who contributed to the fabric of the community.
“I really want to look at the graveyards and recognize who they were and where they served,” said Bouvier.
Manitoba Metis Federation President David Chartrand also recognized Roy’s death.
"Louis was one of many brave Métis Citizens enlisted to serve in Canada's armed forces against the evils of the world, all while facing discrimination at home," said Chartrand.
Roy was the first Metis veteran to receive a $20,000 recognition payment from Ottawa in 2019 for how they were treated after they returned from the fighting.
Burnouf said after the war, Roy earned a living as a trapper, hunter and fisherman. He married, established a home near Beauval and raised 10 kids.
At the age of 43, he began a career as a carpenter. He worked for the Department of Northern Services and the school division until he retired at the age of 65.
In 2005, at the age of 85, Roy downsized and built himself a one-bedroom house on the banks of Beaver River. He lived there alone until the age of 100.
She says it’s nice to see her grandfather being recognized for his contributions.
“He took it upon himself that had to provide for his family and learn a career and now the recognition is coming which I’m very grateful for,” Burnouf said.
She says she can see some of his noble traits and values in his children and grandchildren.
“Nice to see that he lives on in all of us."