|Date of Birth||October 6, 1893|
|Place of Birth||Rat Portage (Kenora), Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Peter DeGagne, Norman PO, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Lumberman|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Battalion||10th Battalion, CGR|
|Branch||Canadian Garrison Regiment|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Conscripted|
|Address at Enlistment||Norman PO, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||May 8, 1918|
|Age at Enlistment||25|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||June 1, 1962|
|Age at Death||68|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Although a birth record was not found, it appears that Arthur Joseph DeGagne was born on 6 October 1893 in Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), Ontario. His parents Pierre Paul (Peter) DesGagnes and Eva Coté were from Quebec, marrying on 18 January 1875 in St-Jean-de-Dieu, Les Basques where Peter was working as a meunier (miller). Children born in Quebec were Marie Eva Anna (1875-1947), Pierre Thomas Edmund (1876-1946), and Marie Alma Leonine (1879). By the time of the 1881 census the family had moved to Manitoba, living at the time in La Verendrye in the Provencher district where Peter found work as a miller. They were later to live in St Anne and St Boniface before relocating to northwestern Ontario around 1889-1890. Children born in Manitoba were Leon (1881-1887), George (1882), Marie Amanda Eugenie (1884-1981), Marie Eliza Eva (April 1887- July 1887) and Marie Antoinette (1888-1968). The 1901 census found the family in Rat Portage with Peter working as a carpenter. They were to make nearby Norman their home with children born in Ontario being Georgiane (1890-1963), Arthur, Eva (1896-2000) and Evelyne (1899-2001). Along the way the spelling of the surname was shortened to DeGagne.
With the onset of conscription in the latter part of the war, Arthur had his medical examination in Kenora in October of 1917. With occupation given as lumberman, date and place of birth as 6 October 1893 in Norman, Ontario, and his father Peter in Norman as next of kin, Arthur signed his recruitment papers on 8 May 1918 in Port Arthur. First assigned to the 1st Depot Battalion Manitoba Regiment, by July he was transferred to the 10th Battalion Canadian Garrison Regiment. However having a large goitre that was causing hypothyroidism, Arthur was discharged from service as medically unfit on 31 August.
Arthur returned to the Norman/Kenora area, at some point marrying Rhea Della Charron. Born in 1902 in nearby Keewatin, Rhea was the daughter of Fernando and Sufrenne (née Nadon) Charron who had married in 1901 in Keewatin. Over the years Arthur was to work as a crane operator at the Norman Dam, operated a taxi and service station in Norman, and joined the Department of Highways as a patrolman in 1937. For five years preceding his death Arthur was the president of the Family Market in Norman. His hobbies included hunting and fishing. Together he and Rhea raised seven sons: Robert, Richard, Andre, Eugene, Claude, Guy, and Marcel.
Arthur died on 1 June 1962 in St Jospeh’s Hospital in Kenora. His obituary gives his year of birth as 1892 while his gravemarker is inscribed as 1893. At the time of his death Arthur was survived by his wife Rhea, his seven sons, fifteen grandchildren, and siblings Georgianne Roy of Keewatin, Eugene Walsh of Kelowna, Antoinette Clayton of Oakland, California, Sister St Genevieve (Eva) 0f Camperville, Manitoba, and Sister St Theresa (Evelyne) of Lestock, Saskatchewan. Rhea died on 27 April 1978 in Los Angeles, California and is interred with Arthur in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery in Kenora.
By Judy Stockham