Roger Antoine LEVESQUE
ROGER ANTOINE LEVESQUE June 20, 1960 – February 13, 2023
Roger was born in Peace River June 20 1960, the youngest of six. His father Lloyd was also born in Peace River, son of a pioneer, and graduated from UofA as a lawyer. His mother Isabel was a stay-at-home mom and a professional artist. She must have been a very busy woman, with Leon, Michele, Gerry, Maurice, D’Arcy and then last but certainly not least Roger.
Roger’s parents separated when he was just 5, and he left Peace River with mother and brother Darcy in the summer of 1966.
They lived in Edmonton for at least one year, then moved to Calgary to allow Isabel to attend UofC and add a teaching degree to her fine arts degree. A few years later they moved back to Edmonton and lived in the Westmount area, and then near downtown. Roger attended Westmount Jr High where he first got involved with the debate club, and started to make friends that he would keep for decades. Glenn Deer was one of his very close friends at that time and told me that when they started grade 10 at Ross Shep they were already debate veterans and “legends in their own minds”. They spent many hours hanging out at the downtown library researching debate topics and trolling the music and art collections, trying to look intellectual and sophisticated. Roger also spent many hours playing canasta and watching TV wrestling with his grandmother Anna Johnston.
Music was Roger’s passion, followed by art and photography, and maybe coffee, and later by the country and culture of Japan. He bought a saxophone, studied and produced art, took many photos and sold cameras, worked in The Palms where he made and drank coffee and listened to jazz. At one point when he lived in his own apartment he turned his kitchen into a dark room. A friend mentioned that Roger really wanted to be a beret wearing beatnik living in a garret. And then he had an epiphany and realized he was a writer.
It is difficult to imagine how many concerts he has attended, how many artists he interviewed and how many reviews he wrote. During the years his personal collections grew to about 18,000 cds, 1500 LPs and a small but mighty and carefully culled book library. He also has a large DVD collection and was quite a movie buff, an interest he shared with his grand nephew Landon.
He spent many years in radio(CJSR and CKUA), and decades working with the Edmonton Journal as a freelancer, covering music, dance and drama but specializing in jazz, his first love. Later in his career he took off in a different direction, acting as a simulated patient in a training and testing exercise for student medical professionals. During this time he played a man dying of cancer at least four times.
Roger passed away in the University Hospital February 13, 2023. Long time friend and music icon Peter North gave a great tribute to Roger on CBC shortly after.
As Roger’s sister I have come to realize that people viewed Roger in different ways, as a writer and a knowledgeable member of the music community, as an artist, as a member of the debate club and a close friend and then by his family as our brother and our uncle who just happened to love music and was a great local writer.
Roger is one of few people with a very large group of friends that have been with him for decades. Many of them provided loving support for him when he needed it with rides to the hospital, trips to the grocery store and meals delivered. The family is very grateful to you for all your help and comfort. Special mention to:
- Trevor M. for all his work with the website
- Jane B. for having Roger to stay while work was done in his condo
- Travis H. for all the summer weeks at the family cabin at Lake Edith but especially for arranging a day pass and getting Roger home for a few hours of frantic computer work
- Mike(debate coach) and Elva J. for the decades long friendship, and for the gourmet meals delivered many Wednesday evenings
- Susan B. for her many faithful and thoughtful visits to the hospital and for her support during and after his death
- Edmonton Journal colleagues for their very generous gifts during his illness. Roger was overwhelmed by your kindness
Roger is survived by siblings Michele, Gerry, Maurice and D’Arcy, nieces Shannon and Danielle, nephews Lucien and Andriij, and grand nieces and nephews Caitlin, Kristin, Mikayla, Landon and Konrad. He enjoyed spending time with the young folk and declared that the future of the country might be safer than he had originally thought.
He spent his last days in the University Hospital under the kind care of the staff of 5F3. A special mention goes out to Dr. Lewis and his nurse Ginger. Roger was very grateful for all the loving care he received at the Cross Cancer. If you wish to send a donation in his memory please choose the Cross Cancer Institute.
A celebration of Roger’s life will be held in early summer. Details will be published on this site and on the website he planned which we invite you to visit: