Midnight Madness

Gaetan Serré remembered as a unifying force,  a strategist, a gentleman

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by Isabel Mosseler
Tribune

West Nipissing lost a notable citizen less than one week after he was recognized by Huntington University with a Distinguished Award of Excellence. Gaëtan Joseph Serré, former Liberal MP for Nickel Belt (1968-1972), father of current MP Marc Serré, died on the morning of November 24th at the age of 79 years, at Au Château in Sturgeon Falls.

The latest honour was presented by Dr. Kevin McCormick, president of Huntington University, who said, “I was recently reminded of the contributions of Gaetan Serré, a man who has achieved much over the years. He is a former Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt, was a leader in the post-secondary field, as well as a business owner and avid volunteer, who has dedicated much of his life to the betterment of Greater Sudbury and Northern Ontario.”

Serré, originally from Desaulniers (between River Valley and Field), devoted much of his attention to improving the lives of people in the West Nipissing area. A scholarship has been established in his name to be awarded annually to a student who embodies Serré’s passion for public service.​​


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Serré, originally from Desaulniers (between River Valley and Field), devoted much of his attention to improving the lives of people in the West Nipissing area. A scholarship has been established in his name to be awarded annually to a student who embodies Serré’s passion for public service.

Gaëtan Serré was born in 1938 as the oldest of 16 children. The Tribune had scheduled an interview with Mr. Serré while he was in palliative care, but his condition did not allow for it to proceed. Consequently, his son Marc took the time to speak on behalf of his father. “He had his childhood in Desaulniers; they were really poor… Of all the 16 kids, he was the only who went to university. He was first in his class in grade 8 and the priest and his cousin … took him from Desaulniers to Sudbury. He worked in the kitchen at the school to pay for his tuition,” related Marc. “He quit high school in grade 11 and came back to Desaulniers for three years, worked for CN, and in Arnpior, and then went back to high school to finish at Sacré-Coeur.”

Serré was one of the first presidents elected to Student General Council at the newly created Laurentian University back in 1961. He was also the founder and President of the Liberal Club at Laurentian University in 1960. At one point, he considered becoming a priest and was ordained a deacon in Montreal in 1965. He went on to become a teacher at the Chelmsford Valley District Composite School. He was elected a Councillor for the then town of Chelmsford in 1967 and appointed Chairman of the Finance Committee. In June of 1968, he was elected Liberal MP in the riding of Nickel Belt, defeating the incumbent NDP member Norm Fawcett. At just 30, Gaëtan Serré was the youngest MP in the Pierre E. Trudeau government. He sat in the House of Commons until October 1972.


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