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Father Phileas Gagne (1871-1956)

Highlights of History from The Whitehorse Star

The Whitehorse Pioneer Cemetery

The Whitehorse Star - Friday, June 7, 1956

Whitehorse Old Timer Passes Away, 1956.

    The passing away of Reverend Father Phileas Gaghe which occurred in the General Hospital Saturday morning, June 2, has left a gap in the chain of the old timers of the Yukon.

    Father Gagne was born in St. Foyes, Province of Quebec, on June 15, 1871, but the family later moved to Vermont. Having terminated his studies in St. Hyacinthe and Ottawa, he was ordained to the priesthood in the cathedral in Ottawa, May 30, 1896. He served first in various posts at Cap-de-la-Madeleine and in the Temiscamingue district before coming to the Yukon in 1919. He took the last White Pass boat to Dawson in late September, 1919, and for more than 30 years served as chaplain to St. Mary's Hospital in Dawson. His entire career in the Yukon, with the exception of a couple of months spent in Whitehorse in 1922, was spent in giving kindly assistance to the sick and dying in St. Mary's Hospital.

    All who met him were readily impressed by his kindly word and goodly gesture. When St. Mary's Hospital was destroyed by fire January 10, 1950, a new location was chosen in the RCMP Barracks. With his feebling age and the distance to cover to reach the new location so great, Father Gagne was obliged to resign his post, and retired in Whitehorse in the fall of 1950. He maintained his congeniality till the very last, when on Friday afternoon, he suffered a stroke and was rushed to the General Hospital. Death came peacefully the following afternoon.

    No living relatives remain with the exception of one sister who is a nun in Hull, Quebec. His memory, however, will remain long with the old timers and with the Dawsonites. R.I.P.