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Paul Rochette inspired others to live life with passion

By: Robert Kirwan for

 | Apr 25, 2014 - 11:54 AM |
Paul Rochette, left, with his parents, Sue and Eddie Rochette, and his children Isabella and Skyler. Supplied.

Paul Rochette, left, with his parents, Sue and Eddie Rochette, and his children Isabella and Skyler. Supplied.

In a split second on the evening of April 6, while he was beginning his scheduled shift as a millwright at Vale’s Copper Cliff Smelter, Paul Rochette’s life was tragically taken from all of those who loved him in an unfortunate accident.

Paul’s parents, Sue and Eddie Rochette, will now have to live the rest of their lives with the unbearable pain that comes from losing one of their children.

Paul’s daughter, Isabella, eight, and son Skyler, three, will now have to live through the pain of growing up without a father who thought the world of both of them, and loved every minute he spent with these adorable young children.

Paul’s sister, Angele, and his brother, Dan, will feel the loss of their sibling every time they look into the eyes of their parents, or embrace their niece and nephew, or look at the many family photos on the wall.

When they first heard the awful news, Sue, Eddie, Angele and Dan were overcome with a pain few of us will ever experience or even begin to imagine. But from the moment they were hurled into this terrible emotional storm, I could sense that Paul’s voice was speaking to them and trying to assure them that they would get through this.

He was speaking to them through the people who came not only to console them, but to suffer along with them at the loss of a man who everyone knew as a person to whom no one was ever a stranger for very long.

Every day since his tragic death, people have reached out to the family with stories about how Paul would give the shirt off his back to help out anyone in need; about how Paul was someone they could all count on and someone who always lived every day of his life to the fullest. He lived with passion.

The entire family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the entire community, especially the men and women who not only worked with Paul, but who work in situations themselves where there is always an element of risk.

Everyone felt connected to Paul and wanted to extend their condolences. They all felt a great loss, but that loss was turned into a celebration of Paul’s life by those who loved him, those who knew him and those who wished they had known him.

Paul’s father, Eddie, personally thanked every single person who came by to share their sorrow and offer their kind wishes. The family has personally expressed their gratitude to relatives and friends. They also wish they could show their appreciation to the other members of the community, including those who formed the honour guard at the funeral, who said so many nice things on Facebook and who sent letters and cards.

Just knowing the difference Paul made in so many lives means so much to the family.

The invitation to take part in the annual lunch and ceremony at the Steelworkers Hall on April 28, the National Day of Mourning commemorating workers who have been killed, injured or suffered illnesses due to workplace related hazards, means they will forever be included in a very special group of new friends who not only understand what it means to suffer such a great loss, but who also acquired remarkable insight into the gift of life.

For the rest of their lives, Sue, Eddie, Angele, Dan, Isabella and Skyler will find strength and inspiration as they feel Paul’s life touching theirs; his voice speaking to them during times when they need encouragement; and his spirit looking out at them through the eyes of others.

Paul may have been taken from this world far too soon, but he lives on in the lives of all who knew him. It is now time to celebrate Paul’s life and all he meant to us. The greatest honour we can bestow upon him now is to live our lives with the same passion he did. It is what Paul would have wanted.

Robert Kirwan’s son, Ryan, is married to Angele. Robert had known Paul for more than 10 years and always admired the love and devotion Paul had for his children and his family.

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