Wellanders Fondly Remember Lem Hogue
'He was the type of man everyone enjoyed talking to'
By Richard Roik
Tribune Staff Writer
The material on this page Copyright 1995 The Tribune.
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WELLAND — One of Welland's eldest civic boosters was buried yesterday.
Lemuel "Lem" Hogue died this week at the age of 91, but the mark he's left behind as a model citizen is one that will not soon be forgotten.
"He has been one of the treasures of our city," says Eleanor Clark. who first met Hogue through the local art club more than 20 years ago.
In a life full of accomplishment, Hogue may best be remembered for the model he made of the Welland Canal. He would take it with him as he toured local schools helping youngsters to understand their hometown roots.
The model now belongs to the Welland Historical Museum, as do many of the tools and equipment from his almost 40 years as a blacksmith in the city.
"It's an invaluable collection,'' says museum curator Dorette Carter.
"He was in business during much of the building of the canal."
A snapshot of Hogue in front of his downtown shop adorns the front of the museum's brochure, and although Carter came here too late to really get to know him, she's amazed by the presence he had in the city.
"He had a philosophy that whenever he met someone he would try to
leave them laughing. He said life's to short for hard feelings."
Lem Hogue's long-time friend.
Ive met quite a variety of people who speak so glowingly of him." Carter says.
Self-taught. Hogue enjoyed sharing what he learned — although he consistently steered clear of the spotlight in doing so.
For some 10 years he was among the volunteers who, without fail. taught weekly art classes to the residents at Sunset Haven Home for the Aged.
"He was the type of man everyone enjoyed talking to," says Carol Rapelje, a longÂtime volunteer at the home for the aged.
"He was interested in the residents as a friend."
He also took his love of art to the physically and mentally challenged. and started a program at Niagara College for such special-needs students.
His tireless energy marvelled many. He was a talented painter, an astronomy buff and a wildlife enthusiast — among other things.
"He had a philosophy that whenever he met someone he would try to leave them laughing." says Ken Sykes, who knew Hogue through their 50 years of faithful service atthe First Baptist Church.
"He said life's too short for hard feelings." Sykes adds.
Children were among those who especially took to him perhaps because they recognized a man forever young at heart.
He and his wife Betty, who died in 1984, were still camping in their final years together.
Even at age 80 he was taking art courses despite probably knowing more than his instructors. He explained his joie de vivre by noting that if vou're too old to learn you're probably too old to live.
I just found him to be the most fascinating and fantastic person in the world." says Clark.
He leaves behind five children. and a legacy we can all build on.
The world could use more Lem Hogues.