Emerick J. Thibodeau, age 90, of Brooklyn Park passed away on Nov. 5, 2023. Preceded in death by parents, 13 siblings, and son Joe.
Survived by wife Yvonne of 66 years; daughters, Mary Kay (Richard) Ward, Sheri (Mark) Niederluecke, Jill (Jeff) Schmit; son, Jon (Beth); 10 grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren; and sister Gerrie Soine.
Funeral Services, Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 9100 93rd Avenue N. Brooklyn Park. 10:30 Mass followed by lunch. Visitation will take place one hour prior to mass.
In lieu of flowers; memorials preferred to the family.
Emerick was born September 18th, 1933, in Corcoran, MN to Wesley and Victoria Thibodeau. He was raised in Dayton, MN with 14 other siblings. At the age of 14 he built a boxing ring in the family backyard in Dayton. By 16 he would take a bus to his sister Dorothy’s house in North Minneapolis, where he joined the Northside Boxing Club, Golden Gloves. He was always working, holding several jobs at a time.
He graduated from Elk River High School in 1951. Upon graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served until 1955. He was first stationed in Germany and later in France. In France he started a boxing team and won two titles. Later he made the finals of the U.S. Army Atlantic Theatre boxing championships in Paris as a featherweight, 126 lbs.
Upon his discharge he returned to MN and met the love of his life Yvonne Eull. They started dating and dancing in 1956 and were married September 14th, 1957. And boy could they dance! After their marriage they built their first home on Halifax Ave. in Brooklyn Center, had their family of five children and made B.C. their life-long home.
Emerick had an entrepreneurial spirit, so he left the U.S. Post Office to start Thibodeau Carpet Laying Service in 1962. He and Yvonne had three small children at the time, but he successfully owned and operated it for 50 years. He apprenticed and employed over 20 men who made carpet laying their lifelong careers. Carpet laying was a perfect fit for his personality, as he drove his van around bidding jobs, talking with customers, hauling carpet and helping his teams lay it.
The catholic faith was their highest priority. They became one of the 25 founding families of St. Alphonsus church just a block from their home. All five children went to school at St. Als with so many other close-knit catholic families in B.C. He chaired many St. Als fund raisers including the famous “Fun Fair.” He donated and installed the original stone and carpet for St. Als. He started the “Adoration Chapel” and cherished his quiet time, by committing to the 3:00 to 4:00 AM shift for 15 years; praying for so many family and friends.
Emerick was a strong Pro-Life Advocate for over 20 years, stationed every Thursday morning outside the Robbinsdale clinic. He successfully talked many women into keeping their babies. One woman who chose to save her child, invited him to attend her baby shower and he joyfully went! The total number of babies saved is unknown =). We was also a strong supporter of MCCL.
Emerick and the Tibby family got involved in many Non-Profit Organizations including founding CEAP (With his van, Yvonne & kids helping) in B.C. and helped start “Cookie Cart” in North Mpls in 1972. In 1985 he helped launch “Sharing and Caring Hands” with his neighbor on Halifax, Mary Jo Copeland. He was also heavily involved in “Habitat for Humanity”, by donating carpet and labor to over 150 homes.
He always had a Ski-Doo to give rides to the family and neighbor kids. Emerick coached Joey & Jon in Pee-Wee football for nine years. He took the kids and teammates to practices and games in his infamous van. Later he used his van to move his kids and grandkids into colleges, apartments, homes, etc. He loved it so much, one van got up to 295,000 miles. When Emerick was involved in many of the move-ins and projects, he always had an “Army Trick” to fix something or make it work. He was always supportive of his children and later their spouses. No matter the situation, he always said, “I know everything is going to be Ok and work out.” Or he would say, “I am so proud of you.”
Emerick was a simple, happy man who was so proud of his family. If he had a cigar, a deck of cards, a Blatz or a Windsor 7Up, and a big bonfire, he was in his element to start telling Jokes! He cataloged his jokes for any topic, any time, ready to deliver. Some might be a little inappropriate of course, but many times he’d be laughing so hard before he delivered the punchline, the room would crack up! He was known by many names, Em, Tibby, Dad, Grandpa, Gramps and Papa to the great grands.
Emerick was a humble servant of God, he loved life, family and friends!
Proverbs 11:25: “A generous man will prosper, he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”
Wednesday, November 15th 9:30AM
St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church
9100 93rd Ave N.
Brooklyn Park, MN
These people are wonderful. They went over and above in every possible way to help us with funeral arrangements, the visitation, service and burial, despite the fact that we had a limited budget. They were patient, kind, and treated us like family. This is a funeral home you can trust. Thank you, Evans-Nordby.