Rick Lee ThibedeauMay 23, 1950 ~ September 20, 2017 (age 67)
Rick Lee Thibedeau, age 67 of North Pole, passed away at his home on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.
Rick Lee Thibedeau was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Fairbanks to Richard and Ruth (Mayo) Thibedeau on May 23, 1950. He had seven siblings who came before him and would become big brother to the five who followed.
Rick attended Denali, Main, and Lathrop schools in Fairbanks and made many friendships along the way that lasted a lifetime. As a young man, Rick met and married Marie Lash, who was also from a large family. Rick and Marie had two daughters, Shawneen and Stephanie, who grew up with grandparents, many aunts and uncles, and lots of cousins.
An early job was at the NC (Northern Commercial) Tire Company where Rick became a manager. In May of 1974, Rick joined the Carpenters Local Union 1243, Fairbanks and worked as a journeyman carpenter for the next 35 years. Colleagues through the years would say, “I sure enjoyed working with Rick, he’s always been such a nice guy” and “Rick was one of the best finish carpenters on the job.” Rick built their family home in 1975 on Wojo Avenue off of the Old Rich on property close to Marie’s parents.
Rick and Marie were both generous in their love and care for others. It was a very painful time for both when they lost their daughter, Shawneen, in 1992. That loss led to very difficult times, but their commitments to one another and others carried them through. Gardening became therapeutic for both of them. They welcomed their first grandson, Ryan, in 1997 and enjoyed their new role as grandparents. Sadly, Marie was able to enjoy that role for just over three years when she passed away in 2001.
Rick was well-read and interested in many topics. Sometimes he would quip, “I’m a scholar in a blue collar body!” In fact, a lot of people looked to Rick for advice on every subject imaginable. He loved reading newspapers and completing variety puzzles.
After retirement, Rick helped a lot of people in the community. He met and befriended individuals at the Stone Soup Café and local kitchens. He chauffeured people to appointments and even provided day labor opportunities for some.
Rick was a tribal member for Rampart Village where his mother was born and a shareholder of Doyon, Limited. He enjoyed being a part of the Alaska Native Community and would join in dancing at the tribal hall and other gatherings. Rick also fellowshipped at Mountain Movers church and Golden Heart Ministries where he often brought others.
There are many who have told us how much they loved Rick. Left to cherish his memory include his daughter, Stephanie Thibedeau, grandchildren, Ryan Rocheleau, Vanessa Thibedeau, and Caden Moore, brothers Richard, Fred, and Don, sisters Charlotte Broussard, Jane Cosgrove, and Beverly Sourapas, and many cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
Rick was preceded in death by his wife, Marie, daughter, Shawneen, parents Richard (Shorty) and Ruth Thibedeau, brothers Marvin Kokrine, John and James Thibedeau, sisters Gail Kokrine, Audrey Totaro, and Maxine Thibedeau, and in-laws Paul and June Lash.
Visitation will be at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on First Avenue on Tuesday, September 26, at11 a.m. with funeral to follow at 12:00 noon. Burial will be at Birch Hill where Rick will be laid to rest next to his wife and daughter. Cover dish will follow around 6 p.m. at the Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall on Clay Street.
Arrangements were entrusted to Blanchard Family Funeral Home, 611 Noble Street. 907-482-3232 Online condolences may be made at blanchardfamilyfuneralhome.com