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Peacefully, after a brief battle with cancer, on Sunday, September 6, 2020 at Portage District General Hospital, Blaine MacFarlane passed away at the age of 81 years.
He is lovingly remembered by his adoring wife, Diane (nee Ledingham) of Portage La Prairie, MB; his daughters Heather MacFarlane (Louise Bertrand) of Quebec City; and Hali (Chad) Butler and grandchildren Raeley and Daehan Butler of Oakville, MB. His brother Dale (Audrey) MacFarlane of Portage La Prairie, MB; sister Jacquelyn MacFarlane (Doug Kellough) of Winnipeg, MB; sister-in-law Willa (Gord) Meyers of Grande Prairie, AB; and dear friends Tina Douma, Al (Glenda) Collins, and Lisa Carlson all of Portage La Prairie, MB, and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Predeceased by his precious, toddler daughter, Pamela MacFarlane; his parents, Jack and Laura MacFarlane; and parents-in-law, Charles Ledingham and Velma and Ralph Haight.
Blaine was born in Sherridon, MB, and grew up in The Pas, MB. He moved to Brandon, MB as a teenager where he met the love of his life, Diane. He patiently waited for her to finish her schooling as a nurse, in Winnipeg and they were married on Dec. 29, 1964, in Brandon, MB. Together, they moved to Winnipeg to begin their married life. Blaine explored several career options, including sales and men’s clothing which led to his lifelong desire to be “well and ‘suit’ably dressed for the occasion.” During their years in Winnipeg, Blaine discovered there really was nothing better than being a Dad as they welcomed Heather and then Pamela (Pammy) into their family. A couple of years later the call of being a dairyman was too good to pass up and they moved the family to Saskatoon, SK to take over a dairy farm. Early mornings were spent milking the cows and included the girls as often as possible. Blaine’s faith was tested and stood strong when, while in Saskatoon a farm accident took the life of their beloved Pammy. His faith in Jesus, the true Healer, and many friends from First Baptist Church in Saskatoon helped him carry on. Not long after, they welcomed another daughter, Hali, into the family. Blaine could not have been happier to have another girl. The family returned to Brandon, and then later on to Portage La Prairie, where they really put down roots. Blaine began working at the dairy farm at the MDC, and when that eventually closed went back to school, taking Recreational studies and moved into the recreational department of MDC. He enjoyed his coworkers and adored the clients that he worked with, often taking them out to the house to walk around the yard, enjoy some tea on the deck or some of Diane’s fresh baking.
It was, in Portage, that Blaine, wanting to help wherever he could, began helping out with the Portage Piranha Swim Club. What began as keeping an eye on his own daughter evolved into lifeguarding, time keeping, assistant coaching and then to head coach. This is when he discovered his passion for coaching, mentoring and just spending time with kids, and where he made some incredible memories and met some very special people. When Blaine wasn’t at the pool, he enjoyed singing with his brother and sister-in-law and that eventually led to them forming a Southern Gospel group they called Tribute, and toured around southern Manitoba singing and sharing the Gospel. Blaine’s faith was as much a part of him as the mug of coffee he always had with him. He was active in his home church, First Baptist in Portage, singing in the choir, on the worship team and on the building committee. Once he retired from MDC, he found all kinds of projects to keep himself busy, everything from gardening to pottery and eventually found a part time job running the Medichair store. Once his precious grandchildren came along, Blaine retired from that and spent as much time as he could with the two that stole his heart. Later on, as Blaine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s he found a new fascination with diamond willow. This kept him very busy, finding just the right piece of wood, then carefully removing the bark to reveal such inner beauty… Blaine made canes and walking sticks, candle holders and lamps. He even made a headboard which he proudly displayed on his bed. Then just recently a dear friend suggested he try relief carving, and that became his new fascination, and something he did right up until his body would no longer allow him to.
Blaine will be fondly remembered for his giant hugs, his goofy sense of humor, his gentle nature, his genuine gratefulness, the unmistakable twinkle in his eye and his fierce love of his sweet wife and family.
Blaine was loved by all who knew him, and will be so deeply missed. He’s away from the world but at Home with his Lord.
A private family service has been held.
If friends so desire, donations may be made in memory of Blaine to Sunset Palliative Care Inc, Box 92, Portage la Prairie, MB, R1N 3B2 or to Alzheimer Society of Manitoba, 40 Royal Road North, Portage la Prairie MB R1N 1V1.
A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com
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