Jacques Nadon

Obituary of Jacques Rene Nadon

The world has lost an extraordinary man! 


We celebrate the life of Jacques René Nadon, who died on May 1, 2024.  If you knew Jacques, you can count yourself among the lucky; he was an incredible person.  Jacques was a true family man to his core.  He was utterly devoted to Julie, his wife of 55 years - from the day he began wooing her at the Royal Canadian Air Force Base in Gypsumville, Manitoba in 1968, until the moment he died. Together they raised their daughters Colette and Céline, and doted on their grandchildren Austin, Brooklyn, Elise, and Edwin.   He started his life in Québec, first in Hochelaga in Montreal’s east end, then in rural Sainte-Dorothée, growing up happy with his parents (Fernand and Marie-Paule) and brothers and sisters (Gaetan, Ginette, Yvon, and Francine).  He was barely 18 when he joined the Air Force and landed in Manitoba.


Jacques was a jack of all trades, master of ALL. He reinvented his career multiple times:  radar electronics specialist in the Air Force, organ and piano repair technician at J.J.H. McLean, manager at Hitachi Corporation and Advance Electronics, coordinator at Summer Work Student Exchange Program, new home customer service representative at Kensington homes, to name just a few.  There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do well! He was also a highly skilled carpenter; he operated his own contracting company and extensively renovated every home he ever lived in - to Julie’s exacting design specifications!  

His true passion in life was music.  While piano was his first love, he was also incredible on the guitar, accordion, and fiddle.  His musicality was such a gift, no family dinner was complete until he sat at the piano so that we could all sing and dance together.  He also played in many bands over the years - in Gypsumville, in a travelling “pig and whistle” band across Nova Scotia, and in Winnipeg. Most recently, he would frequently jam on the guitar or piano with his grandson Austin.  He started playing piano at the age of 5, he picked it up on his own without being taught or being able to read music.  He only ever had a single lesson as a kid, “my accordion teacher told me not to come back because I wouldn’t follow instructions!”.  If he wasn’t performing, he was blasting music LOUD - we always had the biggest sound system on the block. Traditional Québec accordion music and 60s rock were his absolute favourites.  Even in his final minutes, he was tapping his feet to a playlist of Johnny Cash, the Beatles, and Fleetwood Mac. 


Jacques was more like a father figure to Austin and Brooklyn than a grandfather. He never missed a single one of Austin’s hockey games, and they spent countless hours practicing guitar together.  He was devoted to Brooklyn, they spent so much time together including all her years of volleyball.  He was so thrilled to see Elise carry on the music traditions with her guitar and singing.  He loved talking with Edwin about all his science and history interests.  For many years, he operated what we called “Papa’s Country Club”, with his beautifully maintained pool, fully stocked ice cream bar, and excellent barbeque - grilled to order.  He lived for his grandkids; he was so proud of all four of them.


He said he was always able to adjust as life happened and didn’t worry over things he couldn’t control.  This was never truer than how he handled his shocking diagnosis of late-stage appendiceal cancer this past winter.   He was our hero and role model.  He was so grateful to the nurses and health care aides at Selkirk Regional Health Centre, and for Dr. Fatoye’s care in his repeated paracentesis. In the end, he was also very grateful to the Medical Assistance in Dying team who enabled a peaceful end on his own terms, surrounded by music and his family.  His was a life well-lived, he had no regrets. His only distress was that he wasn’t going to be here to take care of Julie.  But he spent his last months giving his family very strict instructions on what we are to take over for him!


It isn’t an exaggeration to say everybody loved Jacques!  He was open, honest, funny, reliable, humble and generous; he was always happy to meet friends both new and old, lend a hand, give sound advice, tell a joke, share a drink.  He was especially close with Julie’s family - all her brothers and sisters were HIS brothers and sisters, too.  He also had some very dear friends, and he was so grateful for all the visits in the hospital, emails, phone calls, and text messages, especially, as he said, he knew how incredibly difficult it was to say goodbye.


A memorial to celebrate Jacques’ life will follow at a later date.  If you want to honour Jacques, he would want you to simply take care of each other and tell your loved ones what they mean to you.


“Listen to the music. All the time!” 

The Doobie Brothers



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