September 5, 1929 – September 9, 2020
“Without a family, man alone in the world, trembles with the cold”. On September 9, 2020 with four down coming home, Howey Dupont’s last rock advanced him to the final. After ninety-one years and four days, the Skip of the family Dupont rink has exited this earthly ice. In the end, it is only love for the man who “toiled for his kids and fussed with his woman” that carries on.
On September 5 1929 in Red Lake, Ontario, Howey Dupont was the first child born to Johan and Nanna (nee Ollson) Granstrom who had emigrated from Norway to Canada in 1923 and 1911 respectively.
Although the area had been inhabited by the Sioux, Cree and Ojibwe peoples for centuries, Howey’s arrival was heralded as the first Caucasian birth in the newly established gold mining settlement. This distinction, which remains an attraction in Red Lake’s historical museum today, resulted in this town’s first “golden” citizen being named after the area’s then bustling Howey Mines.
In 1929, halcyon days were but brief in the depression years of Canada’s remote and rugged north. On October 22, 1930, Howey’s birth family suffered a lasting severance when mother Nanna did not survive the birth of his sibling triplets born the day previous. Although infants Robert and Sylvia survived, the third infant Grandstrom did not. Mother and son were buried in neighbouring Sioux Lookout where Nanna had been emergency transported in distress.
The tragic and untimely death of Howey’s mother prompted a series of lasting complications. In short, the family of Eustache Augustin (Gus) and Malvina Dupont, also of Red Lake, Ontario lovingly assumed the guardianship of young Howey. From that point forward, a toddler who had only heard the Norwegian dialect since birth would be known only as Howey Dupont; the youngest brother of Joe, Harry, Clem and Bruno Dupont.
In the early 1950’s, Howey hired on with Dickenson Gold Mines in Red Lake’s adjacent community of Balmertown. As it happened, Howey acquired more than a job when he ultimately married the mine boss’s daughter, Arlene Gillis on March 6, 1954.
Over the next dozen years, Howey and Arlene would welcome four children and various new adventures and addresses in both northern and southern Ontario. In 1969, the family finally headed west when Howey took a job as mine accountant for the now defunct Bralorne Pioneer Gold Mine (the historic townsite is situated 123 kilometers of “mountain road much less travelled” from Lillooet, BC).
Having realized few family resources in Bralorne for the sports-minded Howey, he settled his family in nearby Kamloops with its greater access to recreation hockey, fastball and curling. For the next two years, Howey travelled the often treacherous 350 km mountain roads between Bralorne and Kamloops every weekend to serve the needs of his family.
Upon closure of the Bralorne mine, the Dupont’s made their final and lasting family move to Chilliwack, British Columbia in 1971. After settling the family on Chilliwack’s Fairfield Island, Howey would go on to become chief accountant at Cattermole Timber continuing to his retirement in 1993.
Howey Dupont was not the kind of man who needed to fill up the air with words. Under pressure, Howey seemed to instinctively know he could convey his resolve and strength most effectively with few words (although his wife and children would beg to differ). Howey probably took his cues from the Clint Eastwood and John Wayne westerns he enjoyed so much.
Howey was a great lover of sport who enjoyed life best in and around curling rinks, baseball diamonds, hockey arenas, thoroughbred horse racing tracks and Vegas craps’ tables. Throughout life, Howey was a proficient and accomplished curling skip who frequented Bonspiel prize tables across Canada until macular degenerative eye disease curtailed his competitive edge.
In his youth, Howey was popular orthodox fastball pitcher in the days where small town stands were filled with hometown fans. In later years, he shared his love of the game as a men’s league coach in the days Mark V dominated Chilliwack’s Monarch Park fastball diamond.
As the care and responsibility of family was of the utmost importance to Howey, his proudest accomplishments were that of husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.
He is survived by his wife Arlene and their children Deborah Dupont, Butch (Howey Jr.) and wife Gwen Dupont, Rick Dupont and Tracey Dupont; grandson Robert Fordham and Howey’s great grandchildren Dekker, Piper, Benson and Theodore Fordham; granddaughter Jesse and husband Liam O’Brien and great grandson Shane O’Brien; and grandson Trenton Dupont;
Howey was predeceased by his brothers Henri “Harry” Dupont (1956) and Joseph “Joe” Dupont (1963); sister Clemence “Clem Dupont” Wilson (1989), brother Bruno Dupont (1988); brother Robert “Bob” Granstrom (1989) and sister Sylvia “Granstrom” McKelvie (2018).
The Dupont family wishes to extend our profound appreciation to Margaret Kostrzewa at Crystal Ridge Manor and to long time family friends Vic and Janet Isaac who gave so much of themselves to assist Howey and his family in his final years (the latter of which endured countless basement showings of Howey’s family home movies on the 8 mm projector every Christmas Eve), Howey’s life and final wishes will be honoured under Ontario’s Red Lake sky next summer 2021. Finally, like that lucky old sun, you’re free to roam around heaven all day…
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