Obituary for Rheal Cormier
April 23, 1967 – March 8, 2021
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Rhéal Paul Cormier, 53, of Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick, Canada on Monday March 8, 2021 at his home surrounded by his loving wife, Lucienne, and their closest friends. Born in Moncton, New Brunswick, he was the son of Jeannette Cormier and the late Ronald Cormier.
Many baseball fans remember Rhéal Cormier for his sixteen years as a pitcher in Major League Baseball. But his athletic career is just one of the many facets of the husband, father and dear friend to so many that mourn his loss. Rhéal modeled for all of us what it truly means to live a joyful life, full of service and “joie de vivre.” Rhéal’s love for life was most evident in his love for his life-long sweetheart, Lucienne, and his love and pride in his children, Justin and Morgan.
Baseball made it possible for Rhéal to explore the world with passion, forging longstanding friendships with people from every walk of life.
Rhéal was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1988. Over the next sixteen years, he pitched for the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, and Montreal Expos, with his longest run being with the Philadelphia Phillies. Rhéal also pitched for Team Canada in two Summer Olympic Games, 1988 and 2008, an amazing feat.
While baseball was always his primary sport, Rhéal was competitive in everything he did – golf, skiing, washers, workouts – you name it, Rhéal attacked it and always planned to win. Rhéal’s athletic skills came naturally and easy, with his many wins always packaged with great humor.
While in high school, Rhéal met Lucienne LeBlanc, another athlete. Lucienne was the love of his life for nearly forty years. Lucienne and Rhéal traveled the world together, making certain their children, Justin and Morgan, experienced the world first-hand. They lived the life associated with a baseball player, but with a firm anchor always set near Cap-Pele in New Brunswick, Canada. Rhéal became a U.S. citizen in 2004. In 2007, the family purchased a home in Park City, Utah, where they quickly expanded their vast group of good friends and became beloved members of the Promontory community. If the blue light was shining in Rhéal’s window, the bar was open and the party was waiting.
Rhéal’s family and friends were stunned when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in January 2020. The diagnosis certainly stunned Rhéal and Lucienne – but neither have ever been the kind to shrink from a challenge. They developed a comprehensive plan and fought hard over the next fourteen months. Good news came in the summer of 2020 and Rhéal felt strong enough to hike Utah’s mountains with Lucienne, close friends, and his new canine companion, Tiger.
As with many very good husbands, fathers and friends, the end of Rhéal’s life came far too soon with some adventures still unexplored. Nevertheless, the way he loved and lived should inspire us all to do our best, be our best, and to live our best life. He did exactly that and his memory will linger a long while and inspire stories among his friends everywhere. Rhéal was deeply loved and will be desperately missed by his family and many friends. Please celebrate life and hold those you love close as Rhéal always did.
He is survived by his wife Lucienne; one son, Justin of South Korea; one daughter, Morgan Blye of Chicago, Illinois; one sister, Linda Cormier Vautour (Herve); three brothers: Reginald Cormier (Brigitte), Donald Cormier (Annette) and Ola Cormier, as well as many nieces and nephews from coast to coast.
Special thanks to Simone Collette, Annette and Don Cormier, Kim and Bobby Cormier, Fred and Denise Arseneau, Pierre LeBlanc, Dr. MJ Breau, Dr. Dhany Charest and Sylvie Charest Godin, Janie and Joanne from Extra Mural Program nurses and all friends and family who supported Rhéal’s battle.
A private funeral mass will be celebrated at Ste-Thérèse-d’Avila R. C. Church, Cap-Pelé. The funeral mass will be videotaped and posted by the end of the day Friday March 12, 2021 on his obituary at http://www.frenettefuneralhome.com.
In memory of Rhéal, a contribution to the Friends of the Moncton Hospital, Beausejour Family Crisis Resource Centre or to the Vestiaire St-Joseph would be appreciated. Words of comfort and online condolences may be forwarded through the website located at: http://www.frenettefuneralhome.com.
“Toujours plus haut”
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