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Obituary for Eric Stephen LeBLANC
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Eric Stephen LeBlanc. Eric died peacefully in Victoria hospice in the early hours of Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015. Eric was born on March 19,1946, in St. John, New Brunswick to parents of Acadian heritage, Madeline (nee Doucette) and Leonide LeBlanc. Eric grew up in Montreal, where the family moved when he was still a young child. Eric believed in hard work and was motivated to get ahead with life and find a path that would bring him satisfaction and stability. He completed an M.A. in Math at McGill University and the McGill Graduate School of Library Science Degree in 1974, knowing that his natural research skills would be a good fit in the world of libraries. He worked as librarian at the National Research Council's Canadian Institute of Science and Technology (CISTI) Ottawa from 1974 to 1980. He moved to Victoria, B.C. in 1980 to become CISTI Librarian at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. It was in Victoria in 1984 that Eric met his future wife, Mary. They married 2 years later. It was at the Observatory library that all of his personal and professional skills blossomed. He was employed there until 2005. In the words of Jim Hesser, retired director, who was responsible for transferring Eric from Ottawa to Victoria, "For some 25 years Eric managed the National Research Council's Library at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics where the innovative services he provided garnered accolades from staff as well as visitors from around the world. His knowledge of how and where to locate information required for his clients' scientific and technical research was only surpassed once internet search engines became available. But those engines never replaced Eric's infectious good humour, big smile and reference to one and all as "Chief." This brings us to Eric's love of life, his joie de vivre, his deep love of gospel, blues, jazz, folk, and other genres of music. This love for music began at the age of 13 or younger when he joined a record club and was able to borrow seminal blues and jazz albums from the Folkways Records Anthology. Even at that age he began writing biographical notes of the artists in little notebooks, a habit that lasted his lifetime. Fast forward to the 2013 publication of Blues, a Regional Experience, co- authored with Bob Eagle. This was the culmination of Eric's lifelong and determined effort to get the artists' biographical information correct. To quote, "For me, having it wrong just marginalizes the music. That's my reason for doing this, to get it straight." Since 1986, with his radio show , "Let The Good Times Roll" at UVIC's CFUV, Eric shared his passion with others. After his retirement from librarianship, he taught courses starting in 2006 in the history of jazz and blues at the Victoria Conservatory of Music where he was much admired by his students as a very helpful and accessible teacher. There is so much to say about Eric the man. He was an attentive listener, a good friend to many, a great conversationalist who could be intense and serious but warm and funny, frequently cracking jokes. He was genuinely interested in others, never putting himself above them, and somehow always letting them know that he valued them. He was also an astute observer of human nature, letting compassion rule always. His legacy of love and laughter remains a blessing for all who knew him. Eric is survived by his wife Mary, and brothers, Hubert, Kenneth and Barry, and their respective families . Finally, we offer deep gratitude to the Victoria Hospice Society for their compassionate, gentle care in Eric's last days, helping him complete his earthly journey. Mary extends thanks to all those who visited and who have expressed their warm thoughts and memories. It means so much, and Eric is taking it all in, for sure.