Bryan ThibodeauOctober 30, 1953 ~ March 22, 2016
Bryan Thibodeau was a proud long-time Yukoner. He was born in Edson, Alberta and moved with his family to Whitehorse in grade school. When he was in his late teens his family moved back to Alberta where he finished high school in Edmonton and started his carpentry apprenticeship. His family eventually moved to British Columbia but Bryan headed back to Whitehorse to make Yukon his permanent home.
Family was very important to Bryan. He raised his family at the Carcross Cutoff area and enjoyed the lifestyle offered there. Gardening became a passion for Bryan and he found he had a true green thumb, sharing vegetables, baking, and canning with friends, neighbours and extended family throughout the year.
Bryan loved the outdoor recreation that the Yukon offered. His favourite pastime was to head out to one of the local lakes or rivers with his freighter canoe to go fishing – if that could be combined with camping then he saw it as even more enjoyable.
Bryan was an integral part of the Holway clan and he will be dearly missed. Bryan is survived by his wife, Debra (Debbie nee Holway), children: William, Sarah, and Ryan as well as the apple of his eye – granddaughter Laeila. Also Bryan leaves brothers and sisters: Sharon (Bev), Len (Donna), Al, and Rose along with many nieces and nephews and their children.
Bryan was predeceased by his father Julian, step-father John Mahé, and mother (Eva) Jean.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that you make a donation to your favourite charity. Notification will be posted in the summer for a gathering to celebrate Bryan’s life.
The Working Life of Bryan Thibodeau
It would be no exaggeration to say that Bryan trained hundreds of Yukon apprentice carpenters over his long and productive career as a union carpenter and foreman, and later on as a small general contractor.
Bryan became a certified carpenter in 1977 and was almost immediately dispatched to lead a crew of carpenters and apprentices to build a span between Fraser Customs Station and the border for the construction of the South Klondike Highway to Skagway.
For a newly-minted journeyman to be leading a crew was unique. To be tasked with building a bridge downright rare. Carpenters working with Bryan recall him coming back to the camp at Fraser after a long day and sitting up at night with all of his apprenticeship books – to ensure that he didn’t make a mistake. Bryan obviously succeeded, as travellers still traverse the bridge in droves every day.
From that auspicious beginning, Bryan went to Faro to assist on the mill extension. He soon went into business for himself with long-time friend, neighbour, and fellow carpenter Watson McKinnon, building the RCMP detachment in Pelly Crossing.
Whitehorse General Hospital, Canada Games Centre’s Athlete’s Village, Whitehorse Correctional Centre, Elijah Smith building, Closeleigh Manor, Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, Worker’s Compensation Board, Daku Cultural Centre and even substantial renovations on Barry Bellchamber’s vision of the High Country Inn all benefitted from Bryan’s expertise and steady hand.
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and indeed the entire Yukon construction community have lost a great tradesperson. Bryan was a man of few words on the jobsite, but let his work speak for him. He could be a tough foreman – but was an extremely good carpenter with extremely high standards, and incredible integrity. He was very well regarded by his fellow carpenters – he would tell you what he expected, and let you do the work well without shortcuts or short shrift, and at union meetings he would ask the questions that needed to be asked.
Bryan will be sorely missed – but his legacy lives on, not just in wood and concrete, but in every apprentice he trained or carpenter he taught.