Born on September 1, 1952, Elbert passed away on Monday, September 24, 2012 at the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, MB surrounded by his family. He was a loving husband, father, son, brother, uncle, grandpa, great-grandpa and friend.
Elbert is survived by his wife Bernice; children Darrel (Karen), Dennis (Eileen), Tammy, Julie (Rob), Wendi, Thomas (Marlene), Curtis (Tiffany) and Stephanie; his mother, Martha Chartrand; siblings Pauline (Robert), David (Glorian), Nancy, Frances (Charles), Rita (Al), and Walter (Lyn); along with his grandchildren, nieces, nephews and many, many friends. He was predeceased by his brother Daniel Chartrand, Grandfather Joseph Chartrand and two granddaughters Madison and Sadies.
Elbert was a great man. Quietly and gently he shared his dignity, intelligence, integrity, and humour with all those around him, earning himself a place of honour and respect in the Metis Nation. He began his political career as the Mayor of Duck Bay in the late 70s. He dedicated his life and career to bettering the lives of his people, working at the Swan River Friendship Centre for the last 30 years, with 29 of those years as the Executive Director. In 1984, he was elected to the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) Board of Directors serving as the Finance Minister, as a Board member of the Northwest Region for 11 years and was currently serving his fourth term as the Vice President of the Northwest Region.
While representing his regional interests through both the MMF and Friendship Centre Movement, Elbert was a statesman at the provincial and national levels as well. Always quick with a joke, a smile or a story, he was an everyday hero, committed to treating everyone he met with respect. His watchful eye gave him great wisdom and insight into the lives of his people and he dutifully cared for them through his career, volunteer work and personal life.
Leading others helped them to find the right way while considering consequences and opportunities which taught so many people. When Elbert was in the room, he was looked up to as a source of strength and wisdom. Being a mentor may not have been something Elbert intended to do but it is a deep, lasting legacy he leaves behind. Mentoring past, current and future leaders was his way of sharing his abilities and this is what many will take away from their time spent with him. He taught by example, through quiet advice and even the occasional reprimand. But when he spoke, everyone listened. His years of service to family, friends and his people gave him insights that many felt lucky to be a part of.
His children and grandchildren were the joy of his life. His laughter, good heart and unwavering presence gave his family and friends a feeling of security and protection that many men strive for, but few attain.
Elbert loved the simple things in life, good food, good music, good friends and family, always teasing and teaching in his gentle way. He also enjoyed spending time hunting, fishing and just being out in the bush with family and friends where many of Elbert’s stories came from. Our loss of him leaves a void for everyone but he leaves behind a legacy and body of work that very few will ever be able to duplicate. He is a true hero of the people; he lives on in each of us and he will never be forgotten and forever missed.