Nova Scotia

Yogi Muise, cornerstone member of Cape Breton's Men of the Deeps, has died

Yogi Muise performed with the choir of former Cape Breton coal miners for over 50 years.

'He had no trouble commanding a room'

Yogi Muise (left) performs with Men of the Deeps. (Submitted by Jenn Sheppard)

Yogi Muise, a longtime member of Cape Breton's Men of the Deeps, has died.

He performed with the choir of former coal miners for over 50 years.

Muise, who was 85, is being remembered for his love of music as well as being a big, gentle man who loved to listen to people's stories.

Stephen Muise, his son and the musical director of the Men of the Deeps, said his father was "a great man."

"If you had a story to tell, he would sit and listen, a song to sing, he would sit and listen to you," said Stephen Muise.

Yogi Muise had no shortage of his own stories to tell. His son said when the choir would get together after shows, his father and Jim (Big) MacLellan would entertain the group for hours.

"He had no trouble commanding a room," said Stephen Muise. "If there were stories to be told, Yogi would not fall short."

Yogi Muise worked as a coal miner in his younger years starting when he was a teenager, but he didn't stay in the profession forever.

He was also a teacher in the New Waterford area of Cape Breton for over 30 years.

Jenn Sheppard, his daughter-in-law, first met him when he taught her science in Grade 9.

Yogi Muise as a young man. (Submitted by Jenn Sheppard)

She said her first impression was that he was a bear of a man and had a way of drawing you in.

"Anybody you talk to will say, 'He gave me a bear hug and changed my life' or, 'He sat and listened to me and he gave me a piece of advice,'" said Sheppard.

"He was just like a dad to pretty much everybody he met."

He was also a well-known volunteer that sat on many committees including Glace Bay's Miners Museum.

Sheppard said before he left the miners museum board, he made sure he had a good replacement and that the position was in good hands.

Yogi Muise is pictured with Cape Breton singer Rita MacNeil. The Men of the Deeps were well known for their performance of MacNeil's song 'Working Man.' (Submitted by Jenn Sheppard)

Mary Pat Mombourquette, executive director of the miners museum, said she remembers when the Men of the Deeps went to Kosovo and Muise wrote everything down to tell people about it when he got back home.

"He was just such a thoughtful, kind person to do that, like go out and have these remarkable experiences and then come back and share them," said Mombourquette.

He spent many years as the business manager for the Men of the Deeps, making all the arrangements when they travelled the world.

with files from Mainstreet Cape Breton.

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