Jeopardy! host Trebek had Valley roots

Alex Trebek, the longtime host of Jeopardy! died this past weekend, on November 8th. Above photo: theverge.com It seems that everyone knows that Alex was born in Sudbury. Unknown for the most part is that Alex also had roots in Renfrew County. His grandmother on his mother’s side, Sophie Belanger, was born at Mount St. Patrick, a small farming community not far off the Opeongo Road between Brudenell and Renfrew. St. Patrick’s Church there has the distinction of being the first Catholic Parish in what is now the Diocese of Pembroke. It is also known for its church suppers every fall (except for this year).

Church record regarding baptism of Sophie Belanger, Alex’s grandmother, at Mount St. Patrick.

In any event, Sophie was born on September 25, 1877, and was baptized the next month in St. Patrick’s Church, the very stone building that is still standing there today, having been constructed in 1869. (See above) Her parents, Marcel Belanger and Ursula Dubreuil, appeared in the 1871 census as recent newlyweds. As a matter of fact, they were then living with Ursula’s parents and her nine siblings. The couple appeared again in Brougham Township in 1881, this time with four children but living in their own house, this time neighbours to Ursula’s parents.

By 1891, the family had moved to the Sudbury district but still as a farming family. It looks like Sophie, now 13 years old, was the only one in the family who was able to read and write. This is where Sophie met and married Benjamin Lagacé in 1899. 

Lucile Lagacé was born in 1921 and, in 1939, married George Trebek (shortened from Terebeychuk), an immigrant from Ukraine. Alex Trebek was born the next year.

2 Comments

  1. ELAINE TURNER

    This is very interesting to find out that Alex had connections to Mt. St. Patrick.
    My both sets of grandparents were from the Mountain area as well.
    I lived with my Grandmother (McNulty) Enright in Renfrew for 3 years of High School before my parents and the rest of the family moved to Renfrew. My Grandmother told me many stories of the past but she missed that one!
    I lived at the “Mountain for 17 years and went to school for Gr. 1-10 with the nuns from the Sisters of St. Joseph for teachers.. My mother came from the “Mountain” and a younger brother and sister were born at home there. I remember both births with Dr. Brown coming with his Doctor’s Bag.
    Interesting as well, when they were first married my parents moved to Sudbury for 2 or more years and that is my birthplace as well.

  2. Colleen Chapman

    Oh my goodness Bob, this makes me smile. For someone who has watched Jeopardy over the years I felt Alex was part of our family. He truly was a genuine and humble gentleman who never forgot where he came from. He was a proud Canadian. Thank you so much for letting us know about his connection to the Valley.

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