Paul Joseph Cyr
August 21, 1923 – October 11, 2013
The last of the Cyr Pioneer Family has gone to rest.
Father Antoine (Tony) Cyr (1871-1946) came into the country via the Chilkoot Trail in1898, along with his older brother Maxime “Mike” (1857-1933). They’d heard about the railroad beginning and thought White Horse was opportunity enough. Mike guided boats through the rapids, and both brothers worked on Macauley’s Tramline before beginning a wood and water delivery business.
Marie Ange Beaudin Arbour Cyr (1884-1970), a widow with two young children, arrived by train from Montreal in 1918 with a promise of a job as housekeeper for Laderoute, mayor of Kirkman Creek, who also owned a ranch. The ranch turned out to be a passel of goats sharing his dirt-floored cabin, and a horrified Marie Ange caught the same paddle-wheeler she had just gotten off on its return to White Horse where she attempted to purchase a train ticket to connect with the last trip of the Princess Sophia at Skagway. Unable to understand French, the ticket master called in a passing bilingual teamster to translate. Tony Cyr talked the beautiful widow, Arbour, not only into staying in White Horse, but within two months he’d made her his wife and they had five more children. A lovely gift of circumstance since the Princess Sophia never made it past Vanderbilt Reef in Lynn Canal.
Aline Arbour Cyr Taylor 1911-2004
Wilbrod (Brod) Arbour Cyr 1913 – 1992
Laurent A. Cyr 1919-2006
Lomer J. (Tuffy) Cyr 1920 -2005
Gloria Cyr Kohler 1922-1996
Paul J. Cyr 1923-2013
Rosalie (Lil) Cyr Newton 1925-2010
Paul attended Lambert St. School and was a waiter on Casca III, the summer job of choice for White Horse boys in the late 1930s. The ink on his driver’s license still damp, he was offered a job by Pan American ferrying pilots between town hotels and the airport. By the time he was 20, Paul had earned an A&E mechanic’s license from Boeing in Seattle. After his turn donning the uniform for the king, Paul drove bus, truck and tanker for White Pass & Yukon Route (BYN) on the brand new, but unpaved, Alaska Highway.
In January 1959 Paul found his true calling as heavy equipment operator for White Pass in Skagway and is best known for his sterling work ethic, his every-ready wit and humor, and for his daredevil exploits running the high bridges. In 2010 Paul was named Transportation Pioneer of the Year at the Yukon Transportation Museum.
A Celebration of Life will be held in the spring with his ashes taken to The Hill he loved so much, Mile 14 to 20 on the White Pass railroad.
Paul is survived by two beloved daughters, Karen Louise Cyr Goertz, born to Paul and Lois in White Horse in 1950, and Kristin Elizabeth Cyr born to Paul and Alice in Skagway in 1962. Alice Cyr, Paul’s wife and partner of 52 years also survives at 405-32 Waterfront Pl, Whitehorse Y1A 6V1 867-633-4161
With enormous gratitude for the most excellent care Paul received at Copper Ridge Special Care. A special thank you to Sylvie whose loving touch made all the difference at the end. – Submitted by Alice Cyr for the family