It is with the heaviest of hearts that the Kyle Family announces the passing of their matriarch, Marie Anna Phoebe (Stewart) Kyle.
“Mary” was born December 7, 1926 in Blenheim, Ontario and was the eldest daughter of the late Herbert Stewart and Emélia Leclerc. She is pre-deceased by her husband Herbert Kyle, her brothers Ernest, Alexander and Francis, her sisters Eleanor and Doris, brothers-in-law Murray Lyster, Roger Nassif and Steven Chew, sisters-in-law Amy (Kyle) Lyster, Anne (Squires) Stewart, Frances (Taylor) Stewart and Yvette (Provost) Stewart. Also predeceased by her nephews Stewart Smith, Gary Nassif and Serge Chew, and her nieces Wendy Chew and Lynda (Howell) Lyster.
She leaves to mourn her three sons and their spouses: Jim (Linda), Peter (Heidi) and David (Kym), her cherished grandchildren Connor and Marina, her remaining siblings Herman, Jean and June (Donald), and many more nieces and nephews.
Marie’s family returned to their original home in New Brunswick in 1929/30. Times were very hard during the great Depression and the family often had to go ice fishing to catch supper during the harsh Maritime winters as her father’s salary from working in a logging camp wasn’t enough to feed nine children.
At the dawn of the Second World War, Marie’s 2 oldest brothers and her father enlisted for active military duty and went overseas. Marie was now the oldest child at home and worked at several jobs to support the remaining family at home. When she turned 16, she altered her birth certificate in order to sign up for military service as well. She was stationed at several bases in Canada and worked primarily as a telephone operator for the Royal Canadian Air Force.
After leaving the Forces in 1946, Marie worked for Singer Sewing Machine in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and later in Montreal, Quebec. She then worked for a civilian branch of the Canadian Armed Forces called the Navy Supply Depot. There, she became friends with a lady named Ruth Bowden who was dating a man named Leslie Strong from up in the hills of Lakefield, Quebec. Leslie’s best friend was a bachelor named Herbie Kyle. So, some matchmaking took place and the rest is history.
Marie (Mom, from this point on) was a caregiver to many people throughout her life, beginning with her younger siblings as the family struggled in a very poor setting during her youth. Mom cared for her mother in her final days and for our grandfather, Austin Kyle in his last years as well. Mom assisted many local (Lakefield and Milles Isles) elderly people and their families in their time of need and was renowned as “The Best Ever Babysitter”. Mom became an integral part of community life as a member of the Lakefield A.C.W., many church-associated groups or committees and was Rector’s Warden at Holy Trinity Church in Lakefield for 28 years. She was also a volunteer chaperone on field trips for Laurentian Elementary School when time permitted.
The highest level of care she ever provided was for her three sons who were extremely successful at racking themselves up in car and work accidents. Yes, we put her through the paces.
Mom endured many, many hardships in her life, but came through them all with her dignity and a smile that would not quit. When she was no longer able to live alone, she became the main source of entertainment for the Personal Care Workers at The Lachute Residence, reciting her dirty jokes and flashing that smile. “Thank You” doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to people who cared for her as time progressed. From her doctors to her neighbors the Rotary Apartment Building, particularly Brent, Helène and Bill, and the helpers who became friends: Gail, Pat, Karen and Mary-Louise.
Mom left us very peacefully at 2 a.m. on January 9, 2024 after a long battle with breast cancer and an even longer battle with dementia. At last, these horrible diseases can no longer eat away at the body and soul of a woman who gave endlessly and selflessly to countless others. She was an amazing person who has left an indelible mark on the world and set a benchmark for the rest of us to reach. Rest in Peace, Mom. You have earned and deserve it and we ALL know that the Lord has waited a long time and prepared a special place for you.
At Mom’s request, there will not be a visitation period and SHE does not want flowers sent in memoriam, but donations to cancer and Alzheimer's/dementia research or The C.N.I.B. instead (she always said that flowers were such a waste of money!).
There will be a Memorial/Celebration of Life at a date when the weather is warm and dry. We will keep you posted.
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