Marjorie Phyllis Gagnon
Marjorie Phyllis Gagnon, age 86, died on Monday, May 5, 2020. Marjorie was born November 17, 1933 in Montreal to parents James Scott Parke and Maude Winnifred Parke. Predeceased by sister Jean and infant sister Grace. Devoted wife of 58 years to Laurence Charles Gagnon. Survived by their children David (Susan) of Amherstview, Allison of Winston-Salem, NC, USA and Eric (Karen) of Kingston. Loving Granny of Andrew (Caitlin) and Erika (Dustin), and great-grandmother of James and Peter.
Educated in Quebec at Lachine High School and McGill University's School for Teachers at Macdonald College, Marjorie taught elementary school for four years in Lachine, QC. Married on August 27, 1955, she then lived her belief that education begins in the home, raising three children. Upon moving to Amherstview in July, 1969 Marjorie re-entered teaching, this time as a supply teacher for nine years. Also a caring volunteer for special needs children, Marjorie assisted Ruby O'Neill at Fairfield Elementary School in Amherstview for many years. Proudly independent, she would drive alone from Kingston back to Montreal to visit her aging mother.
Upon her 'retirement', Marjorie fulfilled a life-long dream by enrolling at Queen's University. Over the next 14 years, she steadily worked toward earning her degree, receiving her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in language and linguistics in May, 1998. Achieving the highest marks among those enrolled in Continuing and Distance Studies, she was the proud recipient of the Part-Time Studies medal. "There's such opportunity for someone to learn at any age. You have to take advantage of it".
Annual trips to the Stratford Festival, two journeys by train to western Canada, and exploring lock stations on the Rideau Canal gave her and Laurence enjoyment in their later years. When she could no longer care for Laurence in their home, she steadfastly drove to Providence Manor in Kingston to visit him daily.
Ever active in church community, Marjorie was a Sunday school teacher and member of UCW Unit 1 at Edith Rankin Memorial United Church in Collins Bay, and choir leader at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Amherstview. She proved that Handel's Hallelujah Chorus could indeed be sung by a handful of motivated choristers.
Marjorie could often be found in her flower and vegetable gardens. She kept active by swimming and bicycling, and enjoyed handiwork such as knitting, crocheting and sewing clothes for her family. An early proponent of organic gardening, she insisted on hand-digging her sizeable vegetable garden, donating extra produce to the local food bank. She taught her three children and both grandchildren the piano. An unabashedly patriotic Canadian, she loved listening to or watching the CBC or reading a Maclean's magazine. A prolific letter writer to all manner of broadcasters, local and national politicians, and community causes close to her heart, for over six decades she was a faithful penpal to seven fellow correspondents in Europe and Australia. She proudly shared one of her final writings, her 'Laurie Story', an account of their life together, an early encounter being Laurence's school violin concert arranged by her elementary school principal - also her future father-in-law.
Special thanks to the kind staff of Confederation Park at Arbour Heights Long Term Care Home for the care they provided Marjorie as she struggled with dementia.
Memorial donations, for those wishing, may be made to the University Hospitals Kingston Foundation, or to Oxfam Canada (UHKF).