Eugenie "Jean" Marie (Marchildon) Heisler
July 19, 1934 - January 5, 2020
Mom (Jean - Eugénie Marie Marchildon) was born in the farmhouse on section 2 (currently Norman Lavoie’s farm) to Rudolph and Velma Marchildon of Laventure, Saskatchewan on July 19, 1934, the fifth of nine children. Mom attended school at Regent School in Laventure until grade 8, then made the trek to Prince Albert to attend the convent, which only lasted a few weeks before her homesickness brought her back to her family. Growing up at Laventure, Mom would often run across the road to the Lavoie family, where she would sit and rock the babies, as one came nearly every year! And she always told us that Louis Lavoie was her first boyfriend. Growing up in a French speaking community, all the time she spent with the Lavoie family, and Grandpa coming from Trois-Rivières, Mom spoke French until she started school. Throughout her life she held on to a bit of the language and later, when Alzheimer’s set in, she seemed to remember French when it was spoken or sung to her. At the age of 15, Mom met the man she would spend the remainder of her life loving, Alf Heisler. After three years of dating, Dad and Mom were married in October of 1952 in Laventure Church. “Upon returning from our honeymoon (which was a three-day trip to Saskatoon and Allan, to visit relatives of all things) we made our home in Ernie Ullen’s cabin. Bill and Annette Heisler had polished it all up and put up the cutest curtains, cut out of toilet tissue. There were only two small windows in the cabin and those curtains hung there for quite some time… No matter how humble it was, it was our first home.” Their early years were spent working together on the farm south of Amiens, the Heisler homestead north of Mildred and the Marchildon homestead at Laventure. Each place they moved for work, Mom lovingly made a home for them. In November of 1953, while Dad was working at Burns in Midnapore, Alberta, their oldest daughter, Laurie, was born. In August of 1955, while farming back at Laventure for Mom’s parents, Connie was born. Dad and Mom and the girls moved around a lot in those early years. Mom and the girls would follow Dad where the work took him; Mildred, Laventure, Estevan to work on Boundary Dam, and the logging camps north of Glaslyn and northern British Columbia. Mom would often be hired on as cook with two little girls in tow. Out in Fort St. James, BC, “Dad working on the landing and myself cooking for supposedly 15 men, I thought that would be a snap as we were fourteen at the table at home many times. When we got out there (what a long way from home), they informed me that I would be cooking for a mill crew as well as a logging crew. 35 men in all! Wow! If it had not been so far from home, I think I would have hightailed it back!” The spring of 1960 found them back home in Saskatchewan, having purchased three quarters of land five miles east of Mildred near Amiens. Their dream of farming had begun! In 1964, they built their home along Highway #3. “The first morning that we were in our new home, there came a knock on the door, before we were up and about. We turned over in bed and saw one of our neighbours trying not to look in on us. That helped decide to quickly put up some temporary walls. We opened some large cardboard boxes and tacked them around the bedrooms and the bathroom. That’s how the Mildred folks found us the next evening when they had a surprise housewarming for us. I still have the “Kitchen Prayer” plaque they gave us in my kitchen.” In May of 1971, Mom and Dad added to their family with the surprising birth of their third daughter, Kristy. As well as working on the farm, Mom was very busy as a homemaker and gardener. She was an active member of the Mildred Community, helping with activities like the Fall Supper and Father’s Day Picnic. Her faith was strong and Sunday mornings would find her worshipping or volunteering her time at Church. In the winter, she loved to curl and had many laughs with friends and family at the local bonspiels. Mom’s yard and garden were her showcase. For Mom, gardening was a labour of love. She took pride in the beautiful landscape she created and won many awards through the Spiritwood Horticultural Society. Mom always had a craft on the go, be it knitting, crocheting or sewing. Her “Stitch and Bitch” crew met once a week for many years, and that group of women were close friends. They shared many projects, laughs and tears together! Mom’s home was always a warm and welcoming place to be, and she and Dad enjoyed entertaining friends and family and visiting with neighbours. Mom spent many afternoons in her kitchen cutting a neighbour’s hair or giving a perm, with payment sometimes being a quart of cream. Mom and Dad put many miles on their motorhome, travelling through every province and territory in Canada, and many of the Northern States and Alaska. Mom loved to dance! Mom and Dad took old-time dance lessons and would kick up their heels every opportunity they got! Most winter mornings saw Mom and Dad sitting at the kitchen table with a deck of cards between them, and summer evenings were spent out on the fishing boat. They continued farming for forty years, until they sold the farm in 2000 and moved to Spiritwood. Mom was a loving wife, caring mother and doting Grandmother. She loved us all fiercely. In her later years, as her Alzheimer’s progressed, she was unable to always care for herself. Learning from her lifelong example of caring and love, Dad stepped in and what she was unable to do, he did for her. In March of 2013 Mom moved into the Alzheimer’s Wing of the Spiritwood Health Complex. Mom and Dad loved, lived and worked together for over 62 years, side by side, partners in every way. Mom’s legacy is her friendships, faith and family. Like my Mom and my Grandma before me, I too share a love of gardening and God. I shared this poem with Grandma Marchildon’s readers of “Resident’s Corner”, after she passed away in June of 1996. It is also a fitting tribute to Mom.
Count your garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall.
Count your days by golden hours, don’t remember clouds at all.
Count your nights by stars, not shadows;
Count your years with smiles, not tears.
Count your blessings, not your troubles,
Count your age by friends, not years.
And when I look around this Church today, I can see that our Mom was truly blessed. by daughter Kristy with quotes from Mom
Jean is loved and remembered by: her three daughters and their families: Laurie (Roy) Mayo of Spiritwood, SK and their children: Karen (Wade) Fiala of Blaine Lake, SK and their girls: Abby, Emily and Lauren; Lynne (Dean) Lefebvre of Prince Albert, SK and their boys: Ty and Matt; Jillian Mayo of Spiritwood, SK; Mitchell (Kayli) Mayo of La Ronge, SK and their children: Ben, Jake and Shae; Connie Heisler of Spiritwood, SK and her daughter: Sara Yuzak of Lloydminster, AB and her daughter, Presley; Kristy (Tim) Martin of Parkside, SK and their children: Danny, Katie, Jase and Sydney Rose; her brothers: Ray (Elaine) Marchildon of Calgary, AB, Ralph (Anne) Marchildon of Yellowknife, NWT, her sister-in-law, Sister Juliana Heisler of Saskatoon, SK, numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and countless friends. Jean is predeceased by: her loving husband of 62 years, Alf (d. July 21, 2015), her grandson, Jeff Yuzak, her parents, Rudolph and Velma Marchildon, her parents-in-law, John and Julia Heisler, her siblings, Marjorie, Arthur, George, Herman, Donald, and Elsie, numerous siblings-in-law, nieces, and nephews.
Funeral Mass was held Friday, January 10, 2020 at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, Spiritwood, SK. Interment took place in the Mildred South Cemetery. In Jean’s memory, donations may be made to the Spiritwood and District Health Complex Auxiliary - Third Wing(Alzheimer) of Spiritwood, SK or the Spiritwood Horticultural Society c/o Box 425 Spiritwood, SK. Those wishing to send online condolences are invited to visit www.beaulacfuneralhome.com Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Lori Saam of Beau "Lac" Funeral Home, Spiritwood, Sask. (306) 883-3500
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