With an appreciation for a happy life and the love of many, Leroy Aaron Semrau passed away on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at the age of 82 years. As a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, many will miss him dearly. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 57 years, Loretta "Lottie" Semrau (nee: Dunz); his son and daughter-in-law, Kevin and Marlene Semrau, and their two daughters, Danielle (Ian McLean) and Nikki (Tristan Matz); his daughter and son-in-law, Tracy and Doug Mastel, and their four sons, Matt (Shelby) and their son Theo, Mitchell (Jules Rooks), Ryan and Nolan (Desiree Naude); his brother and sister-in-law, Elvin "Peng" and Karen Semrau, and their family. Leroy was predeceased by his parents, Walter and Mary Semrau.
Leroy was born in Kincaid, Saskatchewan, where the family farmed until 1966. In 1961, the family ventured into the motel business in Medicine Hat, operating the Trans Canada and Cloverleaf Motels until 1978. They built and operated an amusement park from 1966 to 1977. Leroy and Lottie built the Travelodge Hotel in 1973 with their business partners Peng and Karen Semrau and Fred and Audrey Ammann. The families were involved in this business until it sold in 1998. In addition to the motel/hotel business, an interest in warehousing fostered the beginning of G.E.L. Holdings Ltd. in 1973, and this company continues to operate today. Leroy was a visionary who had a strong work ethic and a passion for business. Not afraid to get his hands dirty, he was active in the development of the family businesses and literally helped to build them from the ground up.
Although Leroy had success in business, his greatest source of joy came from his family. Watching his six grandchildren grow up provided Leroy with tremendous happiness. Many hours were spent with "Papa" enjoying all that life has to offer. His devotion to his grandchildren was evident in the family ski trips to Elkwater and Whitefish, camping trips to Lac Pelletier and Lake Newell, fishing adventures, golf outings, go-cart and dirt bike rides, workshop adventures, boating trips and lunches at A & W. Starting in 1991, Leroy and Lottie began spending the winters in Lake Havasu, Arizona. It was here that some of the best family memories were created. Travelling to see Papa and Nannie became an annual event where the fun never ended. Papa Leroy was looking forward to spending time with the next generation. The recent birth of his first great-grandchild, Theo, was a tremendous source of pride.
The family would like to extend a very special thank-you to Dr. Tom and Michelle Mohanraj who went above and beyond the call of duty. In Leroy's words, "Tom is a great doctor and a great friend." Thank-you as well to the tremendous nursing staff on 5 East, who took exceptional care of Papa and offered the family compassion and comfort.
A private family gathering to honour Leroy's memory will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to remember Leroy can do so with a donation to Kidsport Medicine Hat and Redcliff (PO Box 40009- 355 Southridge Dr. S.E. Medicine Hat, Alberta T1B 4S6) or to the Medicine Hat SPCA (55 Southwest Drive S.W., Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8E8). To e-mail an expression of sympathy, please direct it to: [email protected] subject heading: Leroy Semrau,