It is with great sadness the family of Daniel (Don) Culligan III, of Belledune, wish to announce his unexpected death at the Chaleur Regional Hospital on March 16, 2021 at the age of 91. At the time of his death, he was surrounded by love, prayer, and song.
Our feisty father was born in Culligan, NB on April 29, 1929 to the late Daniel Culligan II and Ethel (Cormier), alongside his equally spirited twin sister, Norma. Dad was so proud to be a twin and would brag about it to whomever he met. His birthday was typically celebrated for weeks leading up to the special day, with him reminding us that, “Well, my birthday is coming up, y’know!”
There isn’t enough room in one obituary to describe almost 92 years of life. Dad worked hard; it was the code by which he lived. In his younger years, he found work from Ontario to Newfoundland to make ends meet. He finally settled at the Brunswick Smelter in Belledune, where he worked for almost 25 years. His job there allowed him to put his children through university, for which he was immensely proud. Having left school in Grade 5 to work on the family farm, the education of his kids meant the world to him. He and Mom retired together (she from Chaleur Sports) in 1991, so they could spend their retirement years together. Retirement didn’t mean “relax”; however, as Dad always had a project on the go, whether it be fixing up his beloved barn, building the summerhouse, making maple syrup, picking hazelnuts and August apples, shovelling snow, planting, weeding and watering his endless gardens, picking potatoes, and taking his best friends, Oscar, then Jacob for many daily walks back the by-road, stopping by the tank-hole and visiting with the occasional bear - his furry family members. As he walked, he prayed and said the rosary for every member of his family; his faith was of utmost importance to him.
Dad’s passion for work was matched by his love of play. He was a consummate tease and loved making mischief; his treasured Irish heritage came out in the devilish gleam in his eye and his famous “jig” that none of us could figure out how to do. He never met a dance he didn’t enjoy; he might fuss at attending and then be the last one on the dance floor, often doing moves a teen couldn’t match. He could usually be heard “dee dee dee-ing” around the house and yard or teaching his famous less-than-clean limericks to children of all ages. Every child and grandchild know the words to “There was an old woman of 72…” He also got the biggest laugh from sticking his partial-plate out at the grandkids, seeing the surprised looks on their faces. He played a mean game of cards, especially Auction, where he took no prisoners. He rooted for his favourites, the Toronto Blue Jays and died waiting for the Leafs to win the Stanley Cup again. Won’t we all…
In the rare times he did relax, he spent his time writing in his journals, doing Search-a-Word puzzles, watching Price is Right (aka napping), monitoring the weather, collecting ballcaps, and stealing the last piece of jigsaw puzzle to drive Mom mad. He adored showing off his blue 1985 Chevy Half-Ton Truck, a source of great pride and joy. He loved to share stories from his childhood and early adulthood, and he told those stories over and over as we discovered he’d been afflicted by dementia. He stayed in his “$65 home” until he could, and then moved to the Foyer-Notre-Dame-De-Lourdes in Bathurst, where he made fast friends and was so well cared for by the nurses, doctors and staff. We are incredibly thankful for the love and compassion he received while there.
He will forever be missed by the love of his life, his wife of 66+ years, Anne (Gray); children Randy (Sandra) of Georgetown, ON; Nancy (Mike Brunner) of Bathurst, NB; Shelly (Ed McHugh) of Bedford, NS; Brent (Yuka) of Tokyo, Japan; Tracy (Jamie O’Rourke) of Belledune, NB, and Daniel IV (Gail) of Oakville, ON; 13 grandchildren: Ashley (Jeff), Kate (Alistair), Kendall, Colin (Leslie), Shannon (Jonathan), Lindsay (Chris), Emma, Luke (Kate), Nicholas, Megan, Jason-Anthony, Corey, and Daniel V; and great-grandchildren Thomas, Nora, Marie, Evelyn, Layla, and Baby McHughall, due this summer. He is survived by his sisters, Norma Carrier and Ruth Farrell, sisters-in-law Grace (David Smith) and Pat Culligan, brother-in-law Reg Pilon, dozens of nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws. We also want to add a special mention to extended family members, Shirley Hardin, Virginia Culligan, and Shirley and Charles Hickey.
He was predeceased by his parents, and his siblings Vincent, Angela Lunt, Emmett, Betty Pilon, Berniece Doucet, Ray, Bert, and Chester.
Dad loved life, and we will continue to honour his legacy by living ours to the fullest.
He has requested to have six pallbearers from the Leafs, so they can let him down one last time.
Due to Covid-19, a memorial service will be held later this summer. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Dad’s name to Restigouche SPCA, or The Alzheimer’s Society of New Brunswick. Funeral arrangements are in the care of MacMillan's Funeral Home Black Point.
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