OBITUARY – Cecile Aubin-Maisonneuve passes away at age 94

09 MO Obituary-CecileAubin-Maisonneuve(ONE-COLUMN)It is with great sadness to announce, Cecile Aubin-Maisonneuve (nee Houde), long-time resident of Guy, Alberta, passed away on February 10, 2016 at the age of 94. Cecile was predeceased by her first husband, Benoit Aubin in 1985, her sons Norman in 1954 and Claude in 1998. She leaves to mourn her second husband, Paul-Emile Maisonneuve and surviving children, Denis (Louise Martineau), Louise Greschner, Jules (Cecile St. Amand), Juliette (Denis Johnson), Angele (Louis Ouellette), Micheline (Kent Kennedy), Raymonde (Andre Lussier) and Rachel (Jean-Marc Dubrule), 25 grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services for the late Cecile Aubin-Maisonneuve were held February 15, 2016 at the St. Guy Parish in Guy, Alberta. The service was officiated by Msgr. Charles Lavoie P.H. Service preparations were made by Chapel of Memories in Peace River. Donations in memory of Cecile can be made to the Smoky River Palliative Care Society as expressions of sympathy.
Words of
I was honoured to be asked if I would give the Words of Remembrance today because anyone in my family would be able to stand here and share with you how remarkable we all feel that Mom was. You would have heard eight different eulogies because each of us has had our own very personal relationship with Mom. You see, that was one of my mom’s special qualities, she helped us become the people we were meant to be. She was always there for us but she never judged us or made us feel that we were coming up short.
Mom had a sense of adventure. When I look at photos of her as a young woman, I’m struck with how confident she appears. Mom, from a very early age seemed to know how to move forward to create the life she wanted and how to adapt to the surprises that came her way. In those early photos we see her with friends, on a solo trip to Ottawa, at house parties and then at the Normal School in Edmonton in 1940-41. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for her to decide to continue her studies and also the courage it must have taken to leave the area to do it.
Her years as a single young woman were filled with exploration. When we were at that stage of our lives, Mom wanted us to study, to party and to develop a good sense of who we were. She taught me how to be a single, young woman.
After Normal School, she started her teaching career is a one room schoolhouse with 42 students, half of them came in the morning and the other half came in the afternoon. Her teaching career spanned 32 years, nearly all of them spent here in the area. Her career influenced me and many in our family, to pursue the same career path. It seems that in our family if you aren’t into farming then you are probably somehow involved with schools.
After Mom married my dad, Benoit Aubin, the family grew, ten children, 25 grandchildren and 42 great grandchildren and soon to be 43. It wasn’t necessarily her plan to have added to the population quite so much but she embraced us all. We belonged and we were each important to her. When Mom was in the hospital in Edmonton and Dad was at home with all of us, mom wrote to Dad and made sure to write a little message to each of us.
Mom kept track of all our comings and goings with year after year of diaries. I’ve had the privilege of reading these diaries, some from before she was married but most are from when she was busy parenting us and after when she left the area to live in Edmonton with Paul-Emile.
It is astounding how much life she packed into each day. How did she have all that energy! How did she write about hundreds and hundreds of visits, people she saw and spent time with and yet never write a harsh word about anyone.
Mom’s example taught me how to enjoy life. We had fun camping in a tent, then in the back of the grain truck and then in a camper. We watched as she accepted the challenge to go tubing behind a boat. She traveled alone and with dad and then Paul. She played games of cards and even a drinking game with the grandchildren. She spent time with her siblings in Yuma or at one another’s home. She hosted parties, gave many family dinners and filled her life and ours with fun and adventure.
Mom’s life was not only filled with wonderful moments, she also experienced major losses. She lost her husband, our dad, she lost two sons and at the end of her life she lost her short- term memory.
What is most admirable in my eyes is how she coped with these losses. When she lost our dad, she devoted herself to the Guy Historical Society and helped produce an amazing book that is a collection of Guy’s history. Many times, it is my reference guide to figure out how families are connected to one another.
A few years after mom and Paul-Emile Maisonneuve married they moved to Edmonton, where they lived for about 10 years. I had the privilege of seeing first-hand how the lives of seniors could be filled and made fulfilling. They took university classes at Campus Saint Jean, attended talks, took tours, organized crib tournaments and acted in plays and always took time to be with family and to contribute in any way they could to the people around them.
I feel truly blessed Cecile Ernestine Houde Aubin Maisonneuve was my mother. She taught me how to navigate life through her example of a long, well-lived life.
But her influence is so far reaching, from the many students who passed through her class to the community members who worked with her on numerous committees, to her siblings and her husbands. We have all been enriched by her life.
Her grandchildren each have had a special relationship with her. She always took the time to get to know them, to spend time with them and support them in any way that she could. One of her granddaughters, Renette writes that, “The grandchildren were never limited in their play time activities by sticky fingers or dirty feet. Renette remembers the strength and determination mom showed when she cared for her grandpa when he was ill.
Twenty-five grandchildren and 42 great-grandchildren each with a unique relationship with an amazing woman, what a legacy to leave! To celebrate Mom’s life today on Family Day is truly fitting in my mind. She is the fiber that runs through our family, she connects us and her example of a living a good life inspires us and shows us how to draw the most and gives the most we can in each part of our lives.

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