He may be gone but that does not mean that everyone has finished saying their goodbyes.
Albert Diamond spent a lot of time in Val-d’Or throughout his life for business, pleasure and benevolence purposes and on Wednesday, September 23, the folks of Quebec’s “sin city” came out in droves to remember him.
As Diamond had at one time served as both president and vice president for Val-d’Or’s Native Friendship Centre, members of the Centre thought that it was only fitting that they organize a special memorial for Diamond in their hometown.
Executive Director Edith Cloutier explained that though roughly 1000 people made the trek up to Diamond’s hometown of Waskaganish to attend his funeral, there were still many who could not make the journey.
In light of Diamond’s prolific history as a businessman and a volunteer in Val-d’Or, over 100 people congregated at the First People’s Pavilion of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue in Val-d’Or to take in speakers and presentations on the life of Albert Diamond.
“It was an emotional event, but it was more of a tribute to the kind of friend he was which was how we wanted it to be. Everybody knows that he was a great businessman and a leader being the president of Air Creebec, but we wanted to show at this service what kind of a friend he was. He was a true friend to many of us,” said Cloutier.
The Friendship Centre was able to prepare a photomontage of Diamond to be shown at the memorial using photos that they had and many others provided by Destinations, the Air Creebec in-flight magazine. The montage was set to Frank Sinatra’s “I Did it My Way.”
Friends of Diamond took the stage to share their heartfelt thoughts and memories of him. Richard Brouillard, director of Petronor, who knew Diamond from when he worked on the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, spoke on his behalf. Daniel Rainville, owner of a local car dealership who was close to Diamond and frequently golfed with him, also spoke as did Johanne Lacasse, who had also known Diamond since the ’70s.
“We had three types of presentations that were able to show the different dimensions of who Albert was,” said Cloutier.
As the organizer of the event, Cloutier also spoke to the crowd about Diamond and his family. She had been given permission to put on the event by the family a week before when Diamond’s viewing was hosted in Val-d’Or.
To cap the event off, Cree singer Melissa Pash performed “Amazing Grace” with the accompaniment of guitarist Denis Larivière.
“I think in Val-d’Or people appreciated it because some did not have the opportunity to go to Waskaganish when they heard about the viewing and this was their chance to say their last farewell to someone who really had an impact in this city,” said Cloutier.