Obituary – Jeannine Marie (Thibodeau) Reid

Jean Reid

It is with great sadness that the family of Jean Reid announces her passing on Oct. 3, 2022.
Jean was born Sept. 4, 1935, at her maternal grandmother’s home in Falher, Alta. She was the eldest of two children born to Armand and Marie Thibodeau, who made their home in Ballater, near Guy, Alta.
At the age of eight and a half years, Jean started Grade 1 and lived with her maternal grandmother in Falher. She completed Grade 1 but in May of the following year her grandmother passed away, so Jean finished Grade 2 in the Falher convent. After completing Grades 3-9 at home by correspondence, Jean attended the Fairview School of Agriculture for one year. Jean thoroughly enjoyed her time there. She learned many life skills, made many new friends and participated in team sports such as basketball and curling.
Jean’s parents lived near the Little Smoky River ferry crossing, so they had the chance to meet many people who crossed the river. This is how Jean first noticed John. She said his blond hair and blue eyes were what caught her eye. They had a brief courtship and were married on Sept. 28, 1954.
Their story is that they eloped! They drove until they found a preacher to marry them, which turned out to be in Spirit River. Jean recalled they were married in the living room of the preacher’s house just before supper time, with the preacher’s wife’s babysitter as the witness! They could smell burning peas from the kitchen while the preacher’s wife was praying with her rosary beads; Jean wondered whether she was praying for her supper or the newlyweds!
Jean and John made their first home on John’s homestead in Whitemud. Soon after, they moved to Jean’s homestead west of the Little Smoky hill. They had four children: Betty, Shirley, David and Patricia.
For most of her life, Jean lived on a farm. She raised rabbits, chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, and one milking cow. She learned to drive by practicing in the field, grew large gardens, and harvested food to last the winters. For the most part, this was all done without electricity or running water.
In 1967, the family left the homestead and moved to Joussard, where they planned to purchase a larger piece of farm land. The following year they found farm land to rent between Enilda and Sucker Creek and moved there instead.
When not busy on the farms, John would go away to work for grain elevator construction crews, lumber camps, or road construction, and Jean would maintain the household, raise their children, and take care of the farm animals.
In 1974, John started working as a seasonal employee for Northern Alberta Railways. The family moved to Wagner when a permanent position became available. The Wagner section house was extremely close to the train tracks and Jean remembered how weird it was the first time the train went by and rattled the dishes in the cupboard.
Three years later, John transferred to Enilda where they lived until they purchased an acreage in Triangle in the mid-1980s; this was their last home together.
Jean was hardworking her entire life. As a child, she helped with many chores. As an adult, she held several jobs including cooking in hospital and nursing home kitchens, and cooking for Bissell Brothers’ sawmill. For a change, she even tried her hand as an Avon lady.
Jean thrived on meeting new people and contributing to her community. She was an active member of the Big Meadow Women’s Insti- tute for several years; she enjoyed the meetings, especially the quilting bees. She loved the social part of it and the sense of community it gave her.
Jean was a founding member of the Triangle Rural Crime Watch until it dissolved. She also joined the High Prairie and District Museum Society from 1995-2016, holding various positions including vice-chair. Until a few years ago, Jean was a volunteer member of the High Prairie and District Palliative Care Society.
For many years, both Jean and John were members of the Enilda Seniors Bowling League and High Prairie Golden Age Club, rarely missing a social activity whether it was playing crib, a party or a potluck meal where Jean would usually bring her homemade traditional French beans. Jean and John were loyal fans of the High Prairie Regals hockey team for several years; Jean would cheer, “Go, Regals, Go!” and John would ring his cow bell! They were awarded 1983-84 hockey fans of the year!
Jean liked road trips in her car and to drive the ski-doo, especially when the moonlight shone on the frosted trees which she described as “magical.” Every trail or road she travelled was an adventure. Jean would often say, “I jumped in my car” and would drive out of town for shopping or visiting friends — “just to get out of the house.”
Jean’s favourite season was autumn and she took many road trips to see the colourful leaves, especially near the Smoky River. Whenever approaching the railroad crossing in her car she would say with a smirk, “Well, the train already went by- there’s its tracks.”
In her later years she took a seniors’ bus tour to the East Coast, taking many pictures and sharing interesting stories of her trip. Jean held her driver’s license up until her death at the age of 87.
Jean and John took an interest in camping in their later years, so they rented a lot at Shaw’s Point Resort for about 10 years, and spent many days camped there each year. Jean and John always worked as a team. As soon as the spring weather was warm enough, Jean would stock the camper and John would supply the wood he cut and split himself. Barbecues at the lake with family were among their favorite things. John would fish in his small motorboat and Jean would enjoy nature and sit by the campfire. The coffee pot was always on!
Jean had a wonderful presence, passion for fun, and “joie de vivre” that could fill any room. She loved wearing bright colours and jewelry, especially bling-bling earrings.
Jean loved jokes and had a hearty, knee-slapping, contagious laugh. At Halloween, she was always willing to dress up in costume and accompany a family member to prank people she knew.
Jean loved her family and cared about their well-being. She let her children play and did not expect them to help with chores. She often baked favourite birthday cakes, always attended parent-teacher interviews and often volunteered to chaperone school dances and field trips. When a family member gave birth, Jean and John made every effort to be the first to visit the new mom and welcome the baby. Jean would jokingly say, “Bring them here so I can spank their bum.”
She loved school Christmas concerts and the Festival of Trees.
Jean was talented at sewing and needlework! She sewed her children’s clothes and winter coats until the children were about 10 years old, and sewed most of her own clothes throughout her life. Some of her creations included wedding and bridesmaid dresses for two daughters as well as several christening, first communion, Christmas, and graduation dresses for her granddaughters.
Jean learned to knit and crochet at the young age of eight and spent her free time making afghans, mittens, slippers and toques, donating several of her colorful creations to The Mustard Seed.
Jean was an awesome cook! She would generously share her homemade bread with family and friends. Within her family, Jean was the first one others would phone to ask for a recipe or cooking tips. She nurtured her family around the kitchen table; the love, laughter, and heartfelt conversations gave everyone a feeling of belonging.
Jean loved flowers, pets and birds. There are many pictures of Jean posing with her favourite flowers; especially brightly-coloured roses and lilies. Jean could not tolerate the sunshine; she loved to sit in the shade and listen to the birds sing. With a tender heart for all living things, her home always had indoor pets, and for many years she cared for budgies and cockatiels along with cats and dogs.
Jean loved dancing with John to “old-time country” music, but also appreciated ABBA’s Fernando, Mr. Mister’s Kyrie, and Zamphir.
Jean and John celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2004, renewing their vows in the presence of family and friends. Sadly, John passed away four months later after a battle with cancer.
In November 2007, their home burned down from a chimney fire. Jean was able to escape in her night clothes and boots, and thought to grab her purse, coat, and her car keys. Everything else was lost in the fire.
Jean lived in a small trailer in Betty and Real’s yard until moving to High Prairie’s Heritage Manor in November 2009. Jean thoroughly enjoyed her little apartment, the afternoon teas, social interactions, and many potluck meals.
In January 2022 Jean was hospitalized for nearly three months after slipping and breaking a small bone in her left knee.
Sadly, the following April she was diagnosed with stage 4 Melanoma. Jean practically lived in the hospital from January to October; she was discharged a few times, only to return to the hospital after a few weeks.
Jean is predeceased by: her husband, John in 2004; great-grandson, Kyler in 2015; and daughter, Betty in 2018.
Jean leaves to mourn: two daughters, Shirley (Wayne) Cunningham, and Patricia (Greg) Carrier; her son, David; son-in-law Real Gagnon; her sister, Annette; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, 10 grandchildren, 22 great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
A celebration of life was held on Oct. 14, 2022 at the Triangle Hall.
Jean was interred next to John at the Kinistino Cemetery in Saskatchewan on Oct. 21, 2022. Their epitaph reads, “We worked together in happiness; now we rest together in peace.”

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