Mildred Louise Ouellette passed away Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 at her home in Rainycrest Long-Term Care in Fort Frances, Ont. at the grand age of 100 years.
Mildred was born Friday, April 21, 1911 in Ashland, Wis. to Arthur and Pearl (nee Cain) Ouellette. She moved to Rainy River District in 1916 with her mother and her brother, William, to reside with her grandparents, John and Amelia Cain.
After her mother married Archibald McFayden, the family lived on the farm in Box Alder.
Although Mildred had many fond memories of her country childhood, she was anxious to establish her independence and go her own way. This fierce determination served her well during her long and fulfilled life.
Mildred began her career in the 1930s doing domestic service in private homes, in camps, and in the White Pine Inn. During the war years, she participated in the war effort by working at a shell plant in Minnesota, as well as in Brantford and Hamilton, Ont. in plants producing airplane parts.
In 1947, Mildred was hired by the Town of Fort Frances as a telephone operator and in 1957 continued this career with Bell Canada, retiring at age 65 in 1976 after 29 years of service.
Mildred had many interests outside of work and led a very active life. She was a participating member of Knox United Church. As well, she took great pride in her gardening and belonged to the Fort Frances Horticultural Society.
Mildred also enjoyed painting pictures and her artwork was displayed in many exhibits, including the Fine Line Art Gallery. For many years, Mildred also belonged to a bowling league and in 2002, at age 91, received the certificate for “Oldest Lady Bowler.”
Once retired, Mildred was able to travel more extensively. Her sense of adventure took her throughout Canada and the United States, as well as to Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the Middle East.
One of her favourite places to visit was Ireland, where she was able to explore her Irish ancestry. Genealogy was another of Mildred’s passions, and her extensive research and travels have left a rich legacy of information for other generations to enjoy.
In her mid-90s, health problems slowed Mildred down and she had to leave her beloved home on River Road, moving first to an apartment and then to Rainycrest. Although Mildred lamented the loss of her independence, she loved to talk about her experiences and enjoyed the connections maintained with the “Bell gals,” fellow artists, and the women from her neighbourhood, as well as with family and other friends.
In quiet times, she had her memories, which she played through her mind—memories of a life well-lived.
Mildred was predeceased by her father, Arthur Ouellette, in 1932; her step-father, Archibald McFayden, in 1941; and by her mother, Pearl, McFayden in 1978.
During WWII, she lost her brother, Donald McFayden, and brother-in-law, James Mahon.
She also was predeceased by her brother, William Willette and his wife, Betty; sister, Dorothy Revus and husband, Alex; and by her special nephew, James Mahon.
Mildred is survived by her nephews, Gary (Joanne) and Roger Willette of Oregon; and great-nephew, James (Kim) Mahon and family, great niece, Janice (David) Robertson, and niece-in-law, June (Tom) Stevens, all of the Kenora, Ont. area.
Mildred also is survived by foster sister, Irene Redford and by step-nephew, George (Diane) Revus of Fort Frances, Ont.; and by step-nieces, Helen (Bruce) Peterson of Thunder Bay, Ont., Lucy (Bernard) Kroeker of LaSalle, and Jenny Davies of Glen Williams, and their families.
Mildred always was proud of her family connections and leaves behind many cousins, including Ed Cain, Pam Cain, and Arlene (Cain) Roy, who were a great support to her especially during her final years.
Funeral services will be held Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 at 11 a.m. at Knox United Church in Fort Frances, with Rev. Barbara Miller officiating.
Visitation will be held from 10:30 a.m. until service time at Knox United Church.
The pallbearers will be George Revus, Darren Revus, James Mahon, Ed Cain, Norman Cain, and Mark Hudson.
Interment will take place in Riverview Cemetery in Fort Frances—her place of rest close to that of her mother, Pearl.
In memoriam donations may be made to the Knox United Church, 340 Church St., Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 1E1 or c/o Green Funeral Home, P.O. Box 427, Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 3M8.
Online condolences may be offered at www.greenfuneralhomefortfrances.com
“And in the end, it’s not the years of your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln