Paul was born in Moncton on October 5th, 1965, the third of 7 boys to Pierre and Louise LeBlanc.
He grew up and attended school in Bathurst, developing an early interest in crafts and sewing on his mother's sewing machine. After graduating from l'École Secondaire Nepisiguit, he moved to Fredericton where he would enroll and obtain a diploma from the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.
Unable to find meaningful work locally in his chosen profession, he moved to Montreal in search of new opportunities: he would eventually find employment in a high-end frippery on Crescent Street where he would enter the world of Montreal's fashion. While employed at the boutique, he would accept additional work doing alterations as well as designing and fabricating wedding and prom dresses, many of which were worn by his sisters in law and nieces.
It was in Montreal that Paul found the environment that would fully stimulate his creativity; the components of what would become his creations could be found at the textile and goodwill shops he would often frequent or simply by picking up a discarded object he would find walking home from work.
His imagination and creativity would re-purpose what he would find into teddy bears at Christmas time for his family or into theme costumes for which he would win prizes and awards. He would make lifelong friendships in Montreal and discover new cultures, shops and restaurants, the latter of which he would take pleasure in making those who would visit him discover.
Paul would relish coming back home at Christmas time and during the summer, filling his sleeper car on the train with duffle bags of fresh bagels and matzahs for his family as well as clothing and small treasures he would have picked up during his shopping excursions in the big city. Back home, he would re-connect with his family, treasuring the time spent with them and organizing shopping expeditions to Frenchie's as well as yard sales with his mom, aunts and sisters in law. Visiting Rayburn's was always a must destination during his visits.
Paul was a gentle soul, generous to a fault who would always have a kind word of encouragement for members of his family, friends and acquaintances who would frequent. He had a keen eye for fashion, dressed eclectically and loved to wear brooches that he would often he would un-pin from his clothing in order to gift to others in order to brighten their day. He was funny and liked to tease his nieces and nephews. He could strike up a conversation with anyone, loved going to dinners and restaurants and spending time with his family and friends. For Paul, wealth was never defined in terms of the material which could be acquired but rather personal connections and goodwill which could be given to others.
Paul left us around March 10th, 2020, just before the pandemic. His passing came as a shock to his family and friends, one that still remains impossible to understand and will probably never be accepted. He was predeceased by our father Pierre in 2017. Our brother Roland as well as our mother Louise passed away in 2022. He is survived by brothers John (Sonia Ahier), Lewis (Doreen Bourgeois), Marc (Suzanne Albert), Ronald (Melanie Dupuis) and Guy (Heather Manning), cherished nieces and nephews Pierre, Sylvie, Madeleine, Marilou, Jacob, Sarah Jasmine, Catherine, Noah and Caleb as well as numerous aunts, uncles and cousins, including God-parents Bob and Jeannine Gallant.
While we all feel the emptiness during the times at Christmas or in the summer when he would come back "home", one wonders if we will still feel his presence the next time we walk the streets in Montreal. While some of us still struggle with the unfairness of his passing, we feel none the less comforted by the humanity, friendship and loyalty shown to Paul by his many friends and co-workers at la Maison Simons in Montreal and to our family in helping sort out his belongings during the height of the pandemic.
Funeral Mass for Paul will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 11 a.m. from Our Lady of the Rosary Church, St. Peter Ave., Bathurst. Arrangements are in the care of Elhatton Funeral Home (www.elhatton.com) Bathurst.