A long-time resident of Falher, Annette Gagnon passed away peacefully at the Vegreville Long Term Care Centre on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at the age of 88, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Annette was born in Montréal, Québec on March 6, 1929, to Victorine Dompnier and Joe Zéphérin Pigeon. She was the fourth of eight children.
Annette grew up on a farm in the Girouxville / Jean Côté area. As a young girl, she provided child and home care for new mothers. In her late teens, she worked as an aide in the hospitals in McLennan and High Prairie.
When in her early 20s, she made her way east to the Niagara Falls area where she worked as a waitress in a cafeteria for Ontario Hydro. After a few years, she returned to Alberta and worked in Grande Prairie as a waitress with her sister Jeannine.
In 1953, Annette married Rosaire Gagnon, son of François and Éliosa Morin. Although they never had children, they were blessed with seven god-children, who were all very dear to them.
Annette worked tirelessly alongside her husband on the farm. Not the type to sit and do nothing, in 1956/57, they operated the Royalite Cafe on the northwest side of Donnelly Corner. Annette also went back to school to become a hairdresser.
Her first shop was in front of the Gaiety Theatre in Falher and later in her home on the farm. For a while, she even sold Amway.
In 1958, Rosaire and Annette made their first of many trips to the southern USA, eventually choosing Mission TX, near the Mexican border as their winter destination. Other travels brought them to Australia, Hawaii, the Philippines, and on a few Caribbean cruises.
Annette loved music, especially the accordion and the fiddle and she adored dancing.
In 2000, no longer able to make their annual trips south, Rosaire and Annette moved to Medicine Hat where the winters were shorter, and not as harsh as in the Peace River Country. Their health failing, they returned to Falher in 2005, to be among family and friends.
After Rosaire’s passing in 2006, Annette’s deteriorating health eventually brought her to assisted living and long term care facilities in Vegreville.
Annette always took the time for family and friends. She loved to visit with people, talking about day-to-day things. Those who knew her well will miss her dearly.
She was predeceased by her parents Joe Pigeon and Victorine Dompnier, her husband Rosaire Gagnon, her brothers Raymond, Marcel and Lionel (Vic) Pigeon, sister Yvette Kohlsmith and godson Marcel Pigeon.
She is survived by her brother Aimé (Bonnie) Pigeon and her sisters Jeannine Durfy and Laurence (Alain) Marcotte as well as numerous nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Special thanks to the staff of the Vegreville Long Term Care Centre for the excellent care given to Annette over the past years.
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life was held December 6, 2017 at Park Memorial Funeral Home in Edmonton.
Her cremains will be interred along with Rosaire and other family members in the St. Anne Cemetery in Falher at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Alberta Northwest Territories, 10531 Kingsway Avenue NW, Edmonton AB T5H 4K1