Memorial held for Paul Gerin-Lajoie, first Education Minister of the 20th century
Published Thursday, August 9, 2018 11:03AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 9, 2018 6:45PM EDT
A state funeral was held for Quebec's first Education Minister in modern history on Thursday morning.
Paul Gerin-Lajoie died in June at the age of 98.
He was best known for revamping the province's education system back in the 1960's.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is was in attendance at the memorial, held at Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral, as well as Premier Philippe Couillard and Mayor Valerie Plante.
Provincial and federal leaders were also among the crowd.
Nous avons rendu un dernier hommage à Paul Gérin-Lajoie aujourd’hui. C’était un homme de cœur, un visionnaire, qui a contribué à faire de notre société celle qu’elle est aujourd’hui. Il a inspiré des générations de jeunes, de Francophones, à travers le monde.— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) August 9, 2018
Governor General Julie Payette tweeted her respects ahead of the service, calling Gerin-Lavoie "a man of heart."
Paul Gérin-Lajoie était un homme de cœur pour qui l'éducation occupait une place centrale. Il a largement contribué au rayonnement du Québec sur la scène internationale et au leadership canadien à l'étranger. Mes condoléances à la famille et aux amis de ce grand bâtisseur. pic.twitter.com/7LW2EXuxYl— GGJuliePayette (@GGJuliePayette) August 9, 2018
Gerin-Lajoie was sworn in as Quebec's first education minister since 1875 in 1964, under Jean Lesage.
He's best known for initiating a number of measures in Quebec's education system, including free textbooks and education for children under the age of 16.
He was also responsible for having the state, rather than the church, set curriculum priorities.
Before he was education minister, he worked as a lawyer specializing in constitutional law and prepared a thesis on how to amend the constitution.