Late Portage vet continues to leave his mark

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Orille Hogue, centre, in Holland during the 50th anniversary of the Second World War. (File photo)

Orille Hogue, centre, in Holland during the 50th anniversary of the Second World War. (File photo)

Although deceased, the incredible war time tales and life of a beloved Portager continues to live on in book format.

The piles of papers hand written by Orille A. Hogue – a veteran of WWII and meticulous writer, who once upon a time penned a column for this publication – have been dusted off, combed through and bound in book format. Telling the fascinating tale of a man of great accomplishment.

“We just want to tell the man’s story. We just loved him,” said Jan Tooth, a relative of Hogue. As she, Hogue’s sister Florence Shirtliff and Harvey Sawatzky collaborated on the project. “The war stuff we knew a bit about through talking to him. But in the second book we learned what his life was like through the depression with a big family.”

Hogue’s writing speaks of his enlistment in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the subsequent time he spent in Europe fighting for the allied forces. An avid sportsman, he even writes about staying in Europe following the end of WWII where he participated in army-arranged athletics. One excerpt from the book recalls a time when Hogue played against now Hall of Fame NHLer Turk Broda while the Queen of Holland watched from the penalty box.

The Poplar Point farm boy returned to the prairies the following year and stepped back into his position with the Dept. of Highways where he worked for 46 years before retiring as superintendent. In 1954 he married Oakville’s Gwen Tooth and the two shared decades of marital bliss prior to her death in 2012.

The veteran was greatly involved in the community for decades as a member of the Lion’s Club, Portage Golf Club – where Orille could be found daily until his late 80s – Canadian Legion and A.N.A.F, served on the Terriers board and played baseball and hockey locally. He was instrumental in having the Poplar Point Memorials 1956/57 team inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Hogue’s legacy in Portage la Prairie continues on to this day, as Orille and Gwen left a sizeable donation with the Community Foundation of Portage and District which will continue to build interest and support local endeavours as long as the organization exists. Those interested in obtaining copies of the books can contact Tooth at 204- 267-2398, the price of the texts are just to cover production costs.

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