Jules Gagne died on May 23, 2023 at the age of 75 of complications from Bladder Cancer. Born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan on March 26, 1948 to Henry and Marie Gagne, Jules was the oldest of five children. The family moved to Ontario when Jules was 4 years old and settled in Toronto. A formative early memory for Jules was the store his parents ran (and which the family lived above) near the banks of Black Creek being destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Hazel.
After the family re-settled on higher ground in Mt. Dennis, Jules became a gifted student, earning a full scholarship to St. Michael's for high school, where he was twice the top student in his year. He had a particular aptitude for math, and after high school, he put his bilingual upbringing to use, studying math at Université de Montreal, and later doing graduate work in physics at the University of Toronto.
Jules loved to travel. After a summer road trip to Montreal and Ottawa during high school in his friend's station wagon stirred his wanderlust, he took several adventures around North America with friends, and then after university he headed to Europe. Valuing adventure over comfort, he was content to sleep in cars or hostels or really anywhere out of the way as long as he could keep moving. He explored all the countries of Western Europe for a year, adapting his fluency in French to communicate with locals in Spain and Italy. Eventually running out of money in Amsterdam, he was able to purchase a ticket home to Canada when the money from his tax return arrived.
Settling back into life in Canada, Jules built a career as a computer programer, having received full tuition to Humber College's Computer Programming course covered by the Unemployment Insurance Commission. He spent thirty years in the profession helping a variety of business clients develop customer-facing software, including the debit machine. Jules relished the continuous learning that came with computer programming.
Jules's only son Asher was born in 1977. Seeing Asher on Wednesdays and every other weekend, Jules passed on many of his passions to his son, including puzzles, travel, and sports. Jules nurtured Asher's interests, taking him to his first Blue Jays game at age 7, watching Jeopardy together regularly, and letting Asher take over the living room with his wooden train sets during weekend visits. Despite only seeing him part-time, Jules made sure to include Asher in family events, regularly using their weekends together to visit his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Jules was politically active, knocking on doors or phonebanking for the NDP every provincial and federal election. He was particularly engaged in Bob Rae's campaigns to become Premier in 1987 and then successfully in 1990. He refused to listen to CBC radio when the public broadcaster locked out its employees in 2005, despite them being the primary source to feed his voracious appetite for news and interesting stories about the world.
After living in several apartments across Toronto over his early adulthood, Jules moved into Fred Dowling Co-Op near Christie and Dupont in 1985. There he found a community that shared his progressive values and provided stability and comfortable housing that he enjoyed for the rest of his life. Despite moving within the Co-Op several times as his need to have space for Asher's visits changed, Fred Dowling was always home. Neighbours checked in on him constantly, inviting him for dinner to supplement his simple bachelor meals, and chatting with him on summer evenings when he sat on the stoop in front of his rowhouse.
Anyone who spent time with Jules would probably describe him as one of the most brilliant people they'd ever met. While often being the smartest person in most rooms he was in, Jules's thrived most in being surrounded by friends and loved ones. He stayed close to his siblings throughout his life, and loved hearing about the accomplishments of his nieces and nephews.
Jules Gagné is survived by his son Asher and daughter-in-law Kate, his siblings Dianne, Jeanne, Jerry, and Raymond, his nephews Brad, Gilbert, Jordan and Sasha, and his nieces Angèle and Marie. He brought warmth and kindness into their lives, and he will be missed by them all.
June 03, 2023
Cardinal Funeral Home - Annette Chapel
02:00 PM - 04:00 PM