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Harvey Gardipy: In Remembrance

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      OCTOBER 1997      v27 n03 p18  
A loyal supporter of First Nations community, Harvey Gardipy passed away recently at the age of 74. The quiet, family man from Beardy's & Okemasis First Nations, had struggled valiantly with cancer for three years.

At the time of his death, Harvey Gardipy was a Senator with the Beardy's & Okemasis Senate and a Trustee on the Treaty Land Entitlement Process. He was also a member of the Saskatchewan Indian Veterans Association (SIVA). George Mike, a close friend of Mr. Gardipy, says, "He was a great supporter of SIVA." He was a champion of Aboriginal Veterans rights, encouraging many to pursue compensation packages for benefits they should have received upon their return from action.

Harvey Gardipy served with the Canadian military during World War II. He saw action throughout Europe and participated in the D-Day invasion. And while he received medals for his action, he never spoke of the time he spent overseas.

Bertha Acoose, one of Mr. Gardipy's five daughters, says that he was proud of having served. But, she also believes his service affected him profoundly. He once told her, "I saw so many people die right beside me. I don't want to talk about it."

Upon his return from Europe, Harvey Gardipy met and married Marie Louise Dumont. The couple had nine children over the years. In 1994, Louise passed away. Despite having been separated for some time, Bertha believes that her mother remained the love of his life.

Harvey Gardipy lived on-reserve at Beardy's & Okemasis First Nations for most of his life. He served as a member of the Band Council for approximately 25 years, says George Mike. "He was always active in community development," says Mike, "In any way he could help."

Education was another of his priorities, says Bertha. Harvey attended St. Michael's Residential School in Duck Lake, Saskatchewan as a youth. And, while he did not enjoy the experience, he remained in school as long as he could because he recognized the value of education. One of his crowning achievements as a Band Councillor, says Bertha, was the completion of the first on-reserve school.

Always a knowledgeable man, she says, "He taught me how to think on my own."

Kindness and generosity are two of the traits for which Harvey Gardipy will be remembered. Over the years, he quietly helped many Band members in times of need. He preferred to stay out of the limelight, working quietly behind the scenes to effect positive change. "I think he did a lot for the Band," says Bertha.

She says that she will remember her father most for his consistency and quiet strength. He was always there when needed. And, he was not concerned with material goods, choosing instead to live a simple life. He had a healthy routine and had given up smoking many years ago. Bertha says that had it not been for the cancer, her father would have lived for many, many more years.

Harvey Gardipy earned the respect of those around him by always respecting others. This quiet man will be sadly missed by all who knew him.