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Mary Frances Laframboise Beaulieu

BEAULIEU, Mary Frances Laframboise - grew up in South Lancaster, second-last of the twelve children of Théophile and Melina Laframboise. She is pre-deceased by her brothers and sisters: Théophile Jr., Wilfrid, Jimmy, Edmond, Goldie (Mrs. Edmond Maheu), Jerry, Oscar, William (Bill), Isabel (Mrs. Albert Charron), and Arthur. She was beloved "Aunt Frances" to literally dozens of nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, who dropped by the house whenever they felt like it (if not quite as often as dozens of us did with Mémère Laframboise!), and invited her to their weddings. Like lots of other kids and generations in South Lancaster, Mary Frances grew up swimming "down at the wharf" several times a day during the summer. In their youth, she and her sister Yvonne regularly swam from the South Lancaster wharf to the Glengarry Cairn - and back - in spite of cold and amazingly strong currents. Over the years, Mary Frances, who held a valid Royal Lifesaving Society Bronze Medallion from early in her thirties, worked part-time as a lifeguard, and taught people of all ages to swim at lakes and in community pools in southern Ontario. In later years, Frances and Yvonne walked down to the wharf for a swim, often three times a day in the summer, well into their eighties. A personal moral principle was to get into the water by the 24th of May every year. True to the Laframboise family hunting tradition, Mary Frances was also an accomplished hunter and trophy-winning trap shooter in her youth. She could still find Lancaster perch and haul them out of the water until declining health forced her to hang up her rods in the shed. Wanderlust Long before any of us thought about packing our bags to wander the globe, Mary Frances decided that there was a bigger world out there and decided to join the army. Those days before computers and country-wide surveillance meant that she actually joined the Canadian Women's Army Corps at just 17 years old, when Canada was at war in Europe. By the summer of 1945, she had learned to play the bagpipes and was marching down the Champs Élysées with the CWAC Pipe Band. 250,000 people lined the streets of Paris to watch the Band take a salute from Governor-General Vanier. As the only French-Canadian piper, she was interviewed in Paris newspapers, who commented that she spoke French like a "vieille Normande". The exciting black-and-white newsreel of this event can be found at . Returning to a job in Cornwall with the Unemployment Insurance Commission, she met Robert Wilfrid Beaulieu, a handsome fellow veteran who liked to fish and hunt, and who got along well with "the boys" in Lancaster. His premature death from a "soldier's heart" tragically left Mary Frances a widow at 25. Five years later, Mary Frances packed her Cornwall belongings into storage and set out to see a little more of Ontario, initially leaving UIC's Second Street offices to take a retail job at Chateau-Gai Wines in St. Catharines, Ontario, getting back into office work in Toronto. A number of years spoiling her daughters throughout their formative years in Richmond Hill followed, along with Early Childhood Education courses at Seneca College. Then we all became a little more French again after 3-6 years of quite good fun in Quebec City. Finally, the warmth and peaceful charm of South Lancaster drew her like a magnet back to the St. Lawrence River. Of course, with her own peculiar logic, she started to ask us why we couldn't settle down in one place. Besides being the only family superstar so far, Mary Frances Beaulieu was our first leader and hero, and one of the very first active environmentalists. She wasn't afraid to innovate or be the first to go out and do something useful, whether it looked silly or not. Starting with her Girl Guide leadership days in Cornwall, she'd embarrass at least one of us kids in city parks, wandering around and picking up litter with a pole that she'd hammered a nail into herself. Mary Frances Beaulieu taught us many more principles and ideas and brought them into our lives. She actively lived these herself, and we hope to pass them along to our children and grandchildren: - The concrete and literal meaning of honesty and generosity - A healthy distrust of "the System": question everything - The spectacular richness of other cultures and travel - Love for the outdoors and the planet, and a (mostly!) active lifestyle - The urge to actively promote fairness, resource-sharing and love wherever we can, because no matter how badly off we think we are, there'll always be somebody who is a little - or a lot - worse off. During these past few years, and particularly over the past few weeks, we were happy to experience that these principles are alive and well among most communities in the Cornwall area. The competence, consideration and love shown to us by the CCH and Chateau Garden's nursing home staff, our extended family members, friends, and many people we had never met before, supported us through difficult logistics and the loss of our dearly loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. While she was at the Cornwall Community Hospital, Mary Frances woke up feeling relatively refreshed after a nap that was full of dreams, and said, "I LOVE sleeping. I like swimming, skating and sleeping." "Rest in peace, Mom. Grandma. Great-grandma." Cathy and John, Marguerite; Mireille and Chris, Avery and Kate; Auguste and Jacqueline10242882
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Thank You!
Posted by Susan Fowler (Friend) On Thursday, March 29, 2012
Frances was not only like a second Mother to me as she looked after us while my parents worked, going to the cottage for the summer. Teaching us to swim and walking to town for groceries. But when I started my own family she was working at the local day care center in Richmond Hill and she then cared for my children as well. She truly was a very special person in my life.
You will always be with us
Posted by Louis Eykens (friend) On Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Francis used to come by all the time with baked goods for us. Especially her water bread! She was always there for our kids. Frances was like the rock of South Lancaster while we lived there. The lord will have a special place for her.

Louis Eykens

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