Peacefully, with his wife, mother, sister Charlene, and sisters-in-law Melinda & Darlene by his side, on April 23, 2022, Francis, beloved husband, son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend passed away in Brandon, MB at the age of 57 years.
Francis will be lovingly remembered and missed by his wife of 29 years, Ruby-Anne (nee Chartrand), and is survived by his mother Marie Nepinak (nee Catcheway); his brothers Wesley (Claudette), Ernie (Sarah); and his sisters Charlotte (Patrick), Charlene (“Sonny”), Lana (Alan). Francis is also survived by his parents-in-law Raymond and Rose Chartrand; his brothers-in-law: Ralph (Marilyn), Riley (Darlene), Faron (Darci); his sisters-in-law: Holly (Ricky), Melinda (MJ); his son Rayden who he helped raise; and his special uncle/“doozhim” Andrew Lacquette. Francis is also survived by 31 nephews, 24 nieces, 11 grand-nephews, and 16 grand-nieces.
Francis was predeceased by his father Gordon Nepinak; infant brothers Joseph and Alan; God-Parents Louis Nepinak and Eva Catcheway; paternal grandparents Albert Nepinak and Mary Jane (nee Chartrand); maternal grandparents “Shoom” Alexandre Catcheway and “Koko” Catherine (nee Guiboche); nephew/’doozhim’ Gorddy Nepinak; grandmother-in-law Melvina Monkman; brother-in-law Ryan Chartrand; nephews-in-law Ricky Schwenzer and Marcus McKay; and niece-in-law Brooke Schwenzer.
Francis was born in Winnipegosis and attended the Waterhen Indian Day School and Waterhen School. He grew up working with his dad on their co-owned cattle ranch in Skownan along with his brothers. This led him to work at Skownan’s Bison Ranch located near Mallard. He also trained in Hospitality and proceeded to work in the hospitality industry for many years in Waterhen, Winnipegosis, and Churchill, MB. For the last several years, Francis worked as a Commercial Fisherman on Lake Waterhen.
Francis enjoyed spending time with family and friends, his nephews and nieces, and was always with his wife Ruby-Anne. He took his role as the eldest brother very seriously and often had his words of wisdom for them. He was an outdoor enthusiast and spent a lot of time snowmobiling. In years past, he would participate in the annual snowmobile trek to Grand Rapids, MB during the Grand Rapids Trapper’s Festival and snowmobiled from Skownan to Norway House and trekked to Ontario as well. He played the mandolin and guitar and loved to dance and waltz at the socials. He loved to entertain people playing these instruments and telling good stories and jokes. He also loved to travel when he could; a favourite memory of his was dipping in the Atlantic Ocean in Norfolk, Virginia.
His mom recalls that Francis, as a toddler, would often go up north camping with Shoom, Koko, and the late James Catcheway (who called him “Francois”). On one camping trip, Francis, who was still on the baby bottle had an accident. The nipple on his bottle broke off and Koko had to sew it back again to stop him from crying. She also recalls (being the firstborn), that they had no baby stuff back then and his Kokom Mary Jane cut up her flannels for diapers and his Grandpa Albert made his baby crib (which cost $5.00). The crib is still at his mom’s house.
Ruby-Anne and the family of Francis would like to thank the staff at Waterhen EMS, Ste. Rose General Hospital, Dauphin Regional Health Centre, and Brandon Regional Health Centre as well as Salena Beardy for her support.
Traditional Wake was offered on Wednesday, May 4, 2022 at 4:00 pm from the Mallard Community Hall.
Funeral Service was held on Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 11:00 am from Mallard Community Hall. Interment followed on Lakeshore Drive, Mallard, MB. Pallbearers were Paul Marion, Ralph Trumbla, Jenaya Chartrand, Rochelle Catcheway, Wyatt Catcheway, Frisco Catcheway.
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