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Theresa Lavoie

Theresa Lavoie

Friday, November 3rd, 1944 - Saturday, May 15th, 2021
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Obituary

Theresa Claire Lavoie, of Marathon ON, sadly left us on May 15, 2021. She lived a lifetime of great stories and memories shared with her husband of almost 25 years, Wilfred, her late husband Henri Major, her daughters Sylvie (Mike Walton) and Corinna (Ian Glazier), her son Daniel (Marnie Major) and Wilfred’s daughter Marion (John Desjardins).

It is with sadness and longing that her grandchildren and their young families - Katrienne Walton (mother to Szion and Adelie), River and Justine Walton (parents to Mina Rose), Allyn Walton and Kelvin Smoler, Dylan Major and Chantal Gingras, Cameron, Malcolm and Owen (the Glazier boys), Adam and Meghan Desjardins (parents to Mollie and Dalton), and Leah and Neil Broadbent (parents to Allison and Elliot) - lament the great loss of her wisdom and love. Of the hundreds of her siblings, only Gerald Blais and Georgette Marcotte survive her to tell us those things that can only be told after she is gone. She is now in the arms of God, her parents Rose and Antoine, her siblings Simone, Lionel, Estelle, Dorion, Lucien and Roger, and many precious friends and family members.

It is with admiration that we remember Theresa as a strong, resilient, determined and fiercely independent woman. Her adventures began in Kearns, a little town near Kirkland Lake Ontario, but she lived in Elliot Lake when she and Henri began raising a family as a very young couple, surrounded by a very large (very, very large) extended family. Elliot Lake’s epic uranium mine bust in the late 1960s led to a move away from the comfort of family in search of promising work in Atikokan. When her children became more independent, she made her feminist mark as a tree-planter and later operating the ‘tanguay’ and tower crane at Pluswood. When the iron mines closed, she took on a new challenge. We know Henri was the face and hands of Major Machine Works, a metal fabrication shop they bravely started amidst a diminishing industry, but Theresa was the brains and steady, reasoned heart of the business. In order to stay viable, they moved to the boomtown (as some may remember it) of Marathon, where she worked hard to build the business and benefit the community. After the illness and heartbreaking passing of her beloved Henri, she courageously found love again with her dear Wilfred. She was more than ready for the calm and steadiness of his easy manner, and had since settled into life with him, building stronger roots in their community and watching their combined families grow. Together, she and Wilf became avid travelers, seeking new places and revisiting favoured haunts in Mexico and North America. They visited family in at least 5 provinces, all the while becoming master gardeners together. The massive and prolific plot at Rouse Lake was worthy of conservatory status and kept half the town fed.

It is with pride that we recognize her as a compassionate, albeit no-nonsense woman who was five times more intelligent than her education would imply, twice as strong as her small size would indicate, and ten times more loving than many of us always deserved - especially the tough-love, which most would admit now was exactly what was required.

It is with great love, therefore, that we confess that she scared the shit out of some of us. A force of nature who spoke her mind (often with appropriate language, but not always), she was at times formidable in her pride, laser-sharp in her observations, and never struggled with ambiguous communication (sometimes only a “look” was required), nor suffered foolish endeavours. Throughout the years, we often found ourselves awaiting her carefully considered analysis and conclusions with bated breath - her approving nod meant more than most other recognition or accolades. Her probing questions always delivered valuable lessons and her guidance was firm and clear. The void of her power and presence is already palpable.

It is with deference that we share some of her basic rules to follow:

On social etiquette - be on time (especially for garage sale starts); hugs required full engagement with a firm embrace (no halfsies allowed - superseded only by COVID rules); great and exuberant excitement is to be displayed upon guests arrival and emphatic waving to occur upon departure; girls must only consume alcoholic beverages from a glass (no bottles or cans); a potty-mouth is ok if you apologize (whether you’re sincere or not); wearing hats at the table was grounds for a seat at the “kiddy” table.

On meal prep and service - dishes were to be cleaned as dirtied during meal prep; the table was to be properly set (both types of wine glasses included, because...wine); if company was expected, only have clean dishcloths and tea towels out (by clean, she meant keep a stash of brand new ones, for show); home-made soup is best (clean out the fridge every time you make some - then clean the fridge, “silly”); fill your guests glasses when they aren’t looking.

On animals - they rule; feed the birds and squirrels at home (by-law can say what they want, but that raven could be a departed relative); pets are to be well trained and well behaved (if not, they are to be loved anyway - owners, however, will be judged); if caring for someone’s pet, name it what you want (if a pet is left long enough for the creature to forget its real name, that’s on the owner, and yes, Yakira still answers to Oprah).

On technology - it is a valuable tool in business and at home; with practice you can pound your adversaries in a feisty game of Wii Bowling; finding your way out of a video chat is not easy, nor is it your fault (“I would push the red hang-up button if there was one!”); and maintaining a 2-page list of passwords for various apps and devices is normal and encouraged.

On change and moving on - “If you don’t have room for it, put it in the garbage”. This message was offered both in terms of decluttering homes or relationships...enough said. Marie Condo had nothing on Theresa. “Joy, shmoy...if it sparks a storage problem, don’t keep it”, and “if you’re asking me what you should do, you likely already know the answer”.

On gardening - “shit, shit and more shit” (aka compost, sorry/not sorry).

Finally, it is with great gratitude that we remember how deeply she loved us. We have been so lucky to have her in our lives to lift us up through troubles and trials, to smile and celebrate with us in our triumphs and to laugh with us - easily and often. If you are someone who touched her life in some positive way, we are grateful for you as well. We, her family, will be making contributions on her behalf to Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, and Wilson Memorial Hospital/North of Superior Healthcare Group.

A virtual celebration of Theresa’s life will be held on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 1:30 pm Eastern time. Please join us by clicking this ZOOM link just prior to start time - Theresa Lavoie’s Celebration of Life. If joining, you will be invited to share a story or leave a comment if you wish. We will record the event to be available for viewing at a later date.

When it is safe to gather and console each other in person, we will share information regarding another celebration as we commit her ashes, hopefully later this summer. Please stay safe, and be comforted in God’s hands.


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2 trees have been planted in memory of Theresa Lavoie
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Candice Lee

Posted at 08:46pm
Kam and Candy
It is with great sadness that we had to say goodbye to Therese. Therese and your dad Henri were great friends to our family and we had many wonderful times together. In the past years we always looked forward to spending a night with Wilf and Theresa on our way down to Midland to visit Dan and his family. It was a great opportunity to visit and catch-up on how everyone in our respective families were doing. One of my recent memories of Therese was a few years back when Kyle invited her and Wilf to attend his graduation from the Northern Ontario Medical School. We all had lovely dinner together the night before and attended the graduation the next day. Theresa and Wilf were very excited and proud to attend Kyle's graduation. Along with a lovely gift Theresa gave him a special congratulations card, with a picture of Kyle, Henri and Theresa on his baptism day. Henri and Theresa were his godparents. In closing I would like to say Theresa's Celebration of Life was beautiful. Corina, Sylivie and everyone else involved thank you for giving us the opportunity to say goodbye to Theresa a wonderful friend.
GM

Ghislaine Marcotte

Posted at 10:36am
Sylvie, Danny and Corrina, Bonnie and I are sending you and your families thoughts of peace and comfort. Thank you for today's tribute to Aunt Theresa. It was beautiful. I have many wonderful memories of her. She was like a big sister to me for many years, especially in the 1950s and 60s and later with my wedding preparations. She sewed my wedding dress...pretty special. One of my favourite memories attests to her love of dancing and following the fashion of the times. In this memory, I am about 9 years of age, highly impressed by her. She is swinging me around and around to Jingle Bell Rock and her ample 'kitten' skirt is flaring right out just 'so'. She was kind, loving, a beautiful spirit. Bonnie and I had a chance to visit with her and Wilfred at their cottage, lucky us. She will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Ghislaine Marcotte and Bonnie Hall
HS

Heartfelt Sympathies

Posted at 02:58pm
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Lyne Sanche

Posted at 02:38pm
My deepest condolences to the families of Sylvie, Danny and Corrina. Your Mom was an AMAZING woman and my favourite aunt. I loved her and Wifrid’s visits when they came to see my Mom. Mom and I found the goodbye you shared with all of us very heart warming. Sending you virtual hugs. Lyne Marcotte Sanche (aunt Jo’s daughter).

Karen Martin

Posted at 02:33pm
During the service my nephew Chase said I remember her, we went her house and she wouldn't sit down, always giving us pop, candy and chocolate. I replied " Yes, that's Aunt Theresa, always wanting everyone to feel welcome". My oldest nephew then said " She gave me the best hug, and she didn't even know me". I replied "Yes that's Aunt Theresa, she always gave the best hugs, you could tell she meant them". They were 8 & 10 (now 13&15)1 at the time, it was amazing to hear that they remembered her so well! As I always will, what an amazing and strong woman! You will be missed but not forgotten, we will hold our memories of you fondly in our hearts Aunt Theresa!
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