In Loving Memory Of
Roger LeBlanc
1954 - 2023

(1954-2023… and beyond)

Roger, son of Louis LeBlanc and Juliette Ostiguy, Campbellton, NB

Roger, life-time partner of la poète Dyane Léger

Roger, Emmanuel Manu Manuel’s Dad

Roger, lover of birds and Mother Nature

Roger, companion of our late Laylà, the other ‘bitch’ in the family

Roger, a play in several acts

First Act: Man of the theatre. After high school, Roger left Campbellton and came to Moncton where he would fulfill himself as a human soul. A student in the ‘Départment d’art dramatique’ or Theatre Arts program at l’Université de Moncton, he was part of the first graduating class (1977-1978). Since theatre jobs did not ride in with the Mascaret in downtown Moncton, Roger took the bull by the horns and laid the first milestones for L’Escaouette.

“Gathered under the evocative name of le théâtre L’Escaouette, this small group is composed of Marcia Babineau, Philippe Beaulieu, Gracia Couturier, Bernard LeBlanc, and Roger Leblanc.” For decades, l’Escaouette toured all over the Maritimes and in Québec. The endeavour was well worth the effort because, in 2023, L’Escaouette is entering its 47th season.

Marcia Babineau: “He (Roger) understood that dramaturgy is the foundation of all theatrical identity, that is, that Acadian theatre would exist as long as it had an originality that could embody it in a word from here and from the community that inhabits it.”

Roger, the little guy who had a vision, carried L’Escaouette in his heart. He became its first artistic director (1977-1985), as well as playwright, director, actor and… janitor, whatever it took to get the job done. Under his leadership, thousands of young people, here and elsewhere, were able to understand that theatre is not only a big-city affair, and that this profession can be practised en Acadie.

Later, under Roger’s direction, L’Escaouette began showing plays for the general public. Even though Roger moved on to “something else”, he remained faithful to L’Escaouette by taking on the role of president and by becoming a member of the board of directors, 2004-2013. Roger’s motto: The show must go on, come hell or high water.

Marcia Babineau, Théâtre L’Escaouette: “L’Escaouette is now a place where the imprint of Roger LeBlanc can be found everywhere. With his death, a major chapter of Acadian culture disappears. However, thanks to the traces he left, this chapter is now etched forever in the hard drive of the collective Acadian memory.”

Second act: Screenwriter and filmmaker: In 1985, when Roger and I returned to Acadie after a year in Paris, Roger felt the need to share his vision on a broader scale. Thus began a wonderful adventure in cinema and television. Roger, the screenwriter-director, would travel the world in search of beauty and truth. On the stage were “real people” surrounded by Mother Nature and her children.

However, it must be noted that the crew that worked with him had to be armed with courage and madness in order to follow him in his Fitzcarraldo adventures. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!

Accompanied by the sound editor and cameraman, Roger has filmed in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Romania, Europe, and the Caribbean.

Of these anecdotes told, there is the time when…

  • in le bayou de l’Atchafalaya, a snake wanting to dance the two-step in the pirogue
  • in Jamaica, Roger was delighted to learn that Brunswick-brand sardines are part of everyday family meals
  • in Trinidad, the crew had to escort the baby leatherback turtles out to sea with flashlights because the turtles mistook filming spots for the moon
  • in Los Angeles, thanks to magician Alain Choquette, they were “invited” to the Magic Castle, the place of the brotherhood of magicians
  • In Romania… well, there were rumours of a close encounter with Vlad Tepes

Urban adventures were of less interest to Roger. What he loved was being on the slopes of Mont Carleton or Sagamook, tracking the Golden Eagle, with a biologist who needed to install a transmitter (tracker) on the eagle to learn about its migration patterns.  One of these eagles is named Manu, after our son.

Roger was enchanted and delighted to be on top of Gros Morne, in winter, trying to spot a ptarmigan whose camouflage is a pile of white feathers among thousands of snowflakes.

I believe his “dream work/vacation” was to Nunavut. Again, he was happiest, holed up in a cache with the cameraman, waiting for the snowy owl to come bless them with its grace. Was he afraid of becoming a polar bear’s lunch? Roger said laughingly that their guide, Charlie, would defend them with his pocketknife. “You white or what?” became the leitmotiv of this journey.

In short, Roger has always worked with integrity and passion, and he never counted the hours. Writing, directing, cleaning his chainsaw, building patios and greenhouses, washing dishes made him say, “If it has to be done, it has to be done right.”

During his long stay at Bellefeuille Production, Roger produced commercials, corporate videos and documentaries, broadcasted on Radio-Canada-Atlantique, RDI, TV5 (Québec-Canada) TFO, Ici Explora, Chau-tva, ARTV and Canal D.

– Temps d’affaires, (163 episodes, spread over 8 seasons)

– Dans ma cour (12)

– Sur la piste de noms (13)

– Apprendre et Entreprendre (6)

– Passion sans Entracte, Claude Roussel, Herménégilde Chiasson (2)

– Tour de Magie with Alain Choquette (2)

– Amour @ haute vitesse

– Migrations (avec Zachary Richard Alain Clavette). (Migration was awarded the “Lirou d’or” for the best documentary at the International Ornithological Film Festival in Ménigoute, France)

– Macareux moine

– Harfang des Neiges

– La vie au sommet

– La baie des merveilles

-Les géants des profondeurs, (tortue luth et requin pèlerin)

and there would have been others, if Roger had had his way.

Jean-Claude Bellefeuille: “It is with great sadness and amazement that I learned of the death of someone who was a leading partner and friend for almost thirty-five years, Roger Leblanc. Roger and I have developed dozens of hours of videos, TV series and documentaries. Over the years, he has always had great loyalty and uncommon passion in each of the projects we have done and produced together. Today, my heart is full of tears when I learned of his departure which was so sudden! Our entire team joins me in bringing back countless memories that will be etched in our hearts forever.”

Third act: The ornithologist or the birder, or what as I put it: Roger Leblanc: the Acadian reincarnation of Jean-Jacques Aubudon.

The “avian adventure” that would give him wings, began with a simple outing with his nephew, Alain Clavette. These few hours changed Roger’s life and our family life, forever. From the first bird he observed, the sky became a treasure chest. I can’t say how many kilometres travelled, how many trips to Grand-Maman, how many “rare bird alerts” made him abandon us because he had the opportunity to add  a “lifer” to his birding list. Nor how many plates were put in the fridge, or given to the dog.

As you might expect, Roger set up an “avian library,” worthy of a research centre. Endowed with a great intellectual capacity, a boundless curiosity, Roger assimilated the scientific content of these books, enthusiastically, example: the functioning of the third primary of the gull wing, or the very subtle differences between the subdivisions of a species based on morphological criteria in the framework of the geographical area.

Faithful to the spirits that shared his being, Roger gave his heart and soul to his new passion. Bird Counts; Owl Censuses; Christmas Bird Count(s), Compilations required for studies at Cornell, regular contributions to Bird Studies Canada, Oiseaux Canada, and elsewhere. Every year for almost 25-30 years, Roger has made his annual climb to Mount Carlton and Sagamook, looking for Bicknell’s thrush. And I don’t know how many times he went to the Observatory in Pointe Lepreau to witness the migrating birds.

In our backyard, Roger has built and installed huts for Northern Saw-whet Owls, Tree Swallows, Wood  Ducks, and Eastern Bluebirds. His project to install ceramic huts, (made by potter  Gerry Collins), is intended to help Cliff Swallows.

Roger was also very active in various naturalist clubs in NB, including the Moncton Nature Club and the Nature Festival; Le Club les ami.e.s de la nature du Sud-Est. He has given numerous lectures and led workshops for young people and adults; guided ornithological outings; organized many trips and welcomed many birding pals. Roger also did translation because he wanted les Francophones to have a place and their say in the avian world.

When I opened his computer, I saw his birding lists : List NB 363; Canada: 435 including TN 68, NE 141, IPE 29, Quebec 131, Ontario 189, Sask. 16, British Columbia 182; Notre-Dame list 107, including 66 breeders; Moncton backyard 75; France 115; Cuba 115; USA 135; Jamaica 21; Mexico 245 and Trinidad 35. For the love of life, I find it hard to understand where Roger found the time to follow le Canadien de Montréal, Blue Jays, and Raptors, not to mention spending hours watching television series and devouring books, pursuing the quest for truth in the political realm, while preparing firewood for the winter, and spending time with Manu. It is overwhelming.

I would like to add that the peregrine falcon nest installed on the Assomption building in downtown Moncton is there, in part because Roger believed it was essential. At the “poetic” inauguration of the park in front of Moncton City Hall named after Gérald LeBlanc, Roger was in tears when he saw the peregrine falcons flying above our heads, shouting “Ka yak, ka yak.” Total magic, divine paganism. Of all his projects, this one held a great place in his heart and in his soul.

This avian passion, Roger shared it with thousands of people, and “she” accompanied him until his last breath.

The morning of his death, Roger was on his way to meet the winged ones with his usual enthusiasm, his binoculars, and his Tilley: his faithful companions.

On the morning of June 3, 2023, Roger went birding… in the great big blue.

Here’s how Roger signed his emails:

‘Nous n’héritons pas de la terre de nos parents, nous l’empruntons à nos enfants.’

“We do not inherit the earth from our parents, we borrow it from our children.”

—Antoine de St-Exupéry

It is with love, beauty and grace that we humbly say : Au revoir.

Dyane et Manu

A gathering to celebrate Roger’s spirit will be held at the old homestead in Notre-Dame in July.   Details will announced later.

The family invites you to sign a book of condolences at:

Arrangements under the professional care of Passage Funeral Cooperative and Cremation Center.

Close Button

Make a Donation

You are in charge of sending the donation to the specified fund.

We will inform the family of your contribution.
You are in charge of sending the gift to the specified fund:


  1. Bonjour Dyane, je viens d’apprendre le passage de Roger. Je t’offre mes sincères condoléances, ainsi qu’à votre famille et à vos proches.

    Je garde de merveilleux souvenirs de Roger lors de mon passage à l’Escaouette. Des années riches, créatives et un peu folles. Je continue de le porter dans mon coeur.

  2. Dyane and Manu, we were very saddened to hear about the passing of Roger. Both Angela and I have many fond memories of times spent with you and Roger over a good meal and the lively discussions that ensued. When I moved to New Brunswick 14 years ago I heard of a birder named Roger Leblanc and I wondered if it was the Roger Leblanc I often saw on real estate signs around Moncton. Being from away I did not realize that Leblanc was a fairly prominent name in the area. I sought out to meet him because I wanted to continue my participation in the Christmas Bird Count from my previous hometown; we did the Boutouche CBC back in 2009 just the two of us and then the subsequent 12 years with other participants. We also spent time discussing the finer points of woodlot management, hockey, and other topics, some deep, and others not so much. We both will miss him and will be thinking of you and Manu in your grieving. Merci beaucoup pour les bons souvenirs. Ils seront avec nous pour toujours.

  3. Tu vas nous manquer mon Roger. Tellement de bons souvenirs. Et surtout toutes les fois que tu nous as renseigné sur la nature et les oiseaux….. repose en pais.
    Condoléances à la famille surtout Dyane et Manu. Oui tu vas nous manquer à tous.

  4. Que de souvenirs qui me rappelle un temps où nous étions tous jeunes. Merci a toi Roger pour ta douceur, ta passion et ton goût de vivre ta vie en harmonie avec Dame nature. Tu nous quitte trop vite, j’espère que tu voles avec les oiseaux tout la haut. Chère Dyane et Manu, je sais que c’est difficile en ce moment, a chaques oiseaux qui voleront au dessus de vous, il y aura toujours un peu de Roger en eux pour vous chanter la beauté de la vie. Mes plus sincères condoléances.

  5. I’m incredibly heartbroken and will miss our birding trips. Thank you for being an incredible teacher and friend. All my love Dyane and Manu

  6. Roger, the Christmas Bird Count will not be the same without you. You are so missed.

  7. Wish we could have seen Acts 4 and 5. Miss him greatly! Much love and sympathy to you Dyane, and to Manu and Alain.

  8. Dyane et Emmanuel,
    Mes plus sincères sympathies Dyane et soit assuré de que mes pensées et prières sont avec vous deux durant ces moments difficiles.

  9. Sincères condoléances Dyane et Manu. Roger va nous manquer. Il laisse un grand trou.

  10. Sincere condolences to your family. Roger will be missed indeed. We chatted about birds. Field trips. Our boys. And many other things. He was a good friend and friend of nature.

  11. Roger will indeed be missed for those who knew him from Nature Moncton and all of our nature activities. We would share nature stories and our “boys” stories. Sons were near the same age. Working with him was a blessing. Roger you are missed indeed.

  12. Saddened to hear of Roger’s passing, I will miss the classes he like to hold before a birding trip out and about. My sympathies to his family, he was a wonderful and caring gentleman with a ready smile and no question was considered wrong but answered with respect for learning. . RIP Roger, Happy Birding in the heavens. You will be missed on our walks this summer and in the years ahead..

  13. Roger will be missed by so many. We knew him through Nature Moncton and he was a constant there. He was always willing to take on a project or to add his input to the Executive and Activities Committees he was a part of. Our condolences to his family.

  14. Nos sincères sympathies à toi Dyane, Manu et Alain. De belles pensées nous suiveront pour longtemps. Repose en paix Roger.

  15. Beautiful rendition of Roger’s life and personality. When I moved to Moncton for a while, no idea how he found out but Roger was the first Welcome message I got as he invited me to join him and Alain to go with them to the Point Lepreau Observatory to watch, identify and count birds, I only wish many years later that I could remember all that I learned that day and a few more times that month. Meeting him in Grand Manan many times and being invited to his home was also a great experience as he always had that welcome smile and ready to help identify or chat about this bird or that bird. So young to depart but following a great life that others would not accomplish if they lived to be 100. Bon Voyage Roger, RIP, and sympathies Dyane and Manu… ♥

  16. Roger filmed our work on Machias Seal Island, which is how I came to know him. We became good friends through birds and film. I saw him the morning he died, as we exchanged glum looks at the sky threatening to spoil the birding trip he was due to lead. I could not believe what I heard an hour later. His infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of the province and its birds will be greatly missed, as will his friendship over the years. My heart goes out to his family and other friends; we must try to live up to his memory.

  17. My respect and condolences, thank you for this original and heartwarming tribute.

  18. Jean and I send our sincere condolences, Dyane and Manu. Roger came and sat with us at the Annual Meeting of Nature NB in Quispamsis the evening before he passed. We had a nice chat about his most recent annual trek to the summit of Mount Carleton and another successful encounter with the elusive Bicknell’s Thrush. He seemed as excited about this last sighting as he might have been with his first! We’ll miss him in so many ways, as you’ve touched on in your wonderful tribute to his productive life.

  19. Oh Dyane. How sad to hear these news. Such a generous soul’s journey captured so beautifully. My deepest condolences to you and your son. May Roger rest peacefully and soar with his winged companions.

  20. I had the pleasure of meeting with Roger regards swallow boxes for land parcels in my work portfolio and one for my personal garden back in 2018.
    His love of nature was beautiful and powerful- we have swallows every year and they have been a delight for my children and I to know we are helping local birds & ecosystem. thanks Roger.
    Condolences to family and friends and best wishes at this difficult time.

  21. We will Miss him greatly!
    Much love and sympathy to you Dyane, and to Manu and Alain.

  22. Dyane and Manu, I am so deeply sorry to hear of Roger’s passing. My deepest condolences go out to you both.

    There’s so much that I can say, though with numerous memories that come flooding back in thinking about the last 10+ years of knowing Roger, it’s difficult to articulate them all. Your family has helped create some of the most beautiful and cherished moments and experiences over the last number of years. They have forever shaped me and are memories I will fondly hold on to and reflect back on for the rest of my life.

    Some of my absolute favorites surround the countless holidays spent in that charming country house. Christmas Eve walks through the woods, relaxing moments spent in front of a bonfire, delicious meals, that no matter what went wrong, always tasted magical when prepared with love!

    I loved welcoming you all into my home too, and Roger never putting up a fuss, even though I knew he was suffering due to his allergy to my cats.

    There are so many trips to Grand Manan that I am sure I cannot even begin to remember them all! What I do however remember is the feeling that encompassed those trips. The excitement between Roger and Alain when discussing how many different bird specifies they were hoping to see on that particular trip. Them dreaming of rarities yet to be found. The WAY TOO early mornings, where any normal person would still want to be in bed. In the later years, when I stopped tagging along on their birding adventures, I remember Roger helping me plan out hiking adventures around the island, then us all excitedly discussing the highlights of our day while sitting down for dinner together.

    There is so much insight Roger had provided me with over the years, much of which I am forever grateful for, for he was surly a role model for me. He helped shape some of my personal passions and my ability to be a source of my own resiliency, and is someone who I deeply respected and had great admiration for.

    The loss of Roger will surely be felt by so many that’s he’s touched throughout his life. Though his physical presence may be gone, the energy of his soul and the memories we hold in our hearts will forever live on…For energy is never lost, it is simply transformed.

    Sending warm hugs and lots of love your way!
    – Ashley

  23. On behalf of the board of directors and staff at the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, I send thoughts and condolences to Roger’s family and dear friends. We have lost a great naturalist in our community, whose expertise and enthusiasm cannot be replaced. His life will be marked by dedication to nature, which we promise to continue in his honour.

  24. With Great Sadness we say Good Bye, The Grozik Family

  25. What a SPECTACULAR EXCITING and PRODUCTIVE Life – certainly missed – However certain never Forgotten – what a wonderful LEGACY
    Knew Roger fleetingly – from The Nature Moncton group – knew he was SPECIAL
    Thanx for ALL your sharing Roger

  26. Chers Dyane et Manu,

    What a beautiful tribute for an amazing person. In 2016, I had the incredible experience of embarking on an expedition out to Grindstone Island Conservation Easement in Shepody Bay with a fabulous group of naturalists and Nature Trust volunteers. Roger, Kelly-Sue O’Connor, Gart Bishop, David Christie, Nick McPhee and our other fellow explorers were documenting all of the flora and fauna we could identify within 24 hours. Roger was an incredible teacher, I remember him pointing out a northern harrier (I had never seen one, in fact I had never truly gone birding!) and the differences between the many shorebirds that flitted around us in droves. What an enriching experience.

    I was delighted when Roger was able to join an outing in 2018 out to South Wolf Island Nature Preserve for a similar 24 hour trip to document all we could with the Nature Trust. Dorothy Diamond, Eric and Jane Hadley, Renata Woodward and others were along for the journey. I will always remember standing with the group in awe on the ridge of the island near the lighthouse where we could see 15+ whales at one time, breaching and playing in the waves. It was truly magical. Roger and I bonded over the sound of the elusive leech’s storm petrels that Dorothy reminded us to listen for at around 3 AM when they were out feeding.

    Translation results
    Chers Dyane et Manu,

    Quel bel hommage pour une personne extraordinaire. En 2016, j’ai eu l’incroyable expérience d’embarquer pour une expédition vers la réserve de conservation de l’île Grindstone dans la baie de Shepody avec un fabuleux groupe de naturalistes et de bénévoles de Nature Trust. Roger, Kelly-Sue O’Connor, Gart Bishop, David Christie, Nick McPhee et nos autres compagnons explorateurs documentaient toute la flore et la faune que nous pouvions identifier dans les 24 heures. Je me souviens qu’il m’a montré un busard cendré (je n’en avais jamais vu, en fait je n’avais jamais vraiment fait d’ornithologie) et les différences entre les nombreux oiseaux de rivage qui volaient autour de nous en masse. Quelle expérience enrichissante !

    J’ai été ravie lorsque Roger a pu se joindre à une sortie en 2018 dans la réserve naturelle de l’île de South Wolf pour un voyage similaire de 24 heures afin de documenter tout ce que nous pouvions avec le Nature Trust. Dorothy Diamond, Eric et Jane Hadley, Renata Woodward et d’autres étaient du voyage. Je me souviendrai toujours de l’émerveillement que j’ai ressenti en me tenant avec le groupe sur la crête de l’île, près du phare, où nous pouvions voir plus de 15 baleines en même temps, en train de se reproduire et de jouer dans les vagues. C’était vraiment magique. Roger et moi avons sympathisé en entendant le son des insaisissables pétrels tempête que Dorothy nous rappelait d’écouter vers 3 heures du matin lorsqu’ils se nourrissaient.

    Roger nous manquera énormément, merci de nous avoir rendu un si bel hommage, je vous adresse mes vœux les plus chaleureux et mes condoléances sincères. J’espère que les oiseaux continueront à vous apporter un peu de réconfort et un sourire en souvenir de votre partenaire, père et ami.

  27. Dyane and Manu,

    I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful obituary you wrote for Roger.

    I collaborated with Roger while I worked for the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Wild Outside youth program in 2020 – 2021. Roger led bird walks, workshops to build swallow nesting boxes, and an online lecture for my group of young naturalists. Roger’s vast knowledge, passion and patience no doubt inspired the teens and it surely inspired me. Roger was always willing to advise me on environmental topics and he even offered to help my partner and I if we needed anything as we settled into our new home in Albert Country.

    Roger will be missed.

  28. Roger will be missed greatly and just like Bethany Pohl described in her previous comment, our time on Wolf Island together is unforgettable just like you!

  29. I was heartbroken to hear of Roger’s passing and send deepest condolences to his friends and family. I will greatly miss Roger’s boundless enthusiasm and wonderful way of sharing his passion for birds and the natural world with others. In our annual phone calls and emails to discuss his Birds Canada Nocturnal Owl Survey routes (surveys he conducted for over 20 years…despite attempts to “retire” from them several times over the past few years!), he always had some new idea or observation to share. Also, he was always so kind and encouraging when responding to my failing attempts to communicate in French. His legacy certainly lives on in through his contributions as a citizen scientist and through all those he encouraged and inspired over the years.

  30. Over the nearly 20 years I knew Roger I came to appreciate his passion, knowledge, friendship, and commitment to all things natural — he will most certainly be missed dearly, and your tribute, Dyane and Manu, is a moving reminder of how significant his impact on all our lives has been and will be! Our condolences.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *