Christian Island residents are mourning the loss of a well-known municipal councillor and father of two young children.
Hank Monague (Baud Wau Dung- Coming Thunder) died unexpectedly at his home last week at the age of 35. He leaves behind his wife, Janell, and children Landon and Nora.
Monague was a two-term Beausoleil First Nation (BFN) councillor and worked at the Barrie Native Friendship Centre. He also served as a firefighter, was active with the minor hockey community and once worked at Ste. Marie among the Hurons.
“He was elected to council in 2016 for the first time,” BFN administator Dan Monague said. “But prior to that, he had a lot of interaction with the Union of Ontario Indians as a youth representative (Anishinabek Youth Council for the Southeast Region) and travelled throughout the province and worked with various organizations.”
He said Monague was well-liked and well-known by many both on and off the island.
“He was very active in the community and a very, very well-respected young man,” Monague said, noting a cortège Saturday bringing Monague’s body from the Penetanguishene Funeral Home to Christian Island for Monday’s funeral illustrated the huge impact he had in the community.
“It was just a massive display of respect,” Monague said. “There were at least 100, maybe more, cars. The procession saw the police shut down all the intersections coming down to Cedar Point.”
Monague said Hank Monague’s death sent huge shockwaves through the community.
“It’s just absolutely shocking to the community,” Monague said. “He left a wife and two young children. His oldest just turned 12, a couple of days before. This is very sad.”
An outpouring of emotion and support for those left behind could be found on both Facebook and the funeral home’s memorial pages.
Judy Landon offered her deep condolences to the Monague family, especially his wife, children and parents, on the funeral home’s website.
“Over many years I watched Hank grow into a kind, loving, generous and intelligent young man,” Landon wrote. “His love of his family and his community was evident in all he did. He will be missed by us all who had the privelege to know him and love him.”
BFN municipal offices were closed Monday to allow staff to attend the funeral service held at Christian Island United Church, which was followed by burial at the RC Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family noted it would appreciate donations to Niijii and Christian Island United Church.
Kimberly and Edward Jamieson recounted meeting Monague two years ago at the BFN Powwow.
“He was watching our son Erik dance,” they recalled on the funeral home’s tribute page. “Shortly after he was done, Hank came over and gifted our son a feather.
“It was a very very proud moment for our son Erik. He was so thankful for such an amazing gift. He will remember that moment and treasure that feather forever," the Jamiesons added. "Thoughts and prayers go out to the rest of the family.”
Another writer named Melissa recalled Monague’s vibrant sense of humour and big heart.
“He always was thinking and supporting his community and families to become the best they can and to stand proud on our Anishnawbe legs,” she wrote. “He will be missed by many, but he will never be forgotten.”
Added Jill Hamelin: “You were a true fighter and always stood up for what was right and fair. Anytime we celebrated a happy occasion or a death in the family you were always there with your wise words and wisdom and, of course, a funny joke.
“Thank you for being such an inspiration to those around you and especially your kiddies.... Love you Hank.”