February 27, 1936 – February 3, 2023
On Friday, February 3, 2023, our Mother, Delia, drifted away from this earthly life to join those family members who had departed before her. Her passing was perfectly peaceful, the most that we could have hoped for after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. For the past seven years, she had called the Elizabeth Centre in Val Caron her home. Our family wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the staff who loved Delia and provided her with the care and support she needed. In particular, we want to acknowledge Nella, Judy, Deb, Shawn, Sue, Shelley and Melanie. Despite the limitations imposed by the health care system, and COVID, you ensured that Mom was well cared for, and for that we are eternally grateful. A special thank you to Jeannine and Therese for their compassionate care of Mom.
Born to Aurele and Yvonne (nee Ross) Gagnon during The Great Depression, Delia was a hard worker from an early age. She recalled for us how, as a 5-year-old, she would scurry along the train tracks daily to collect shards of coal to burn for fuel at home.
Delia had one brother, Aurele (predeceased) (who married Edna).
Mom loved music. She developed her singing skills while a student at a convent. She continued to sing until the end (much to the chagrin of some residents who couldn’t name that tune).
In 1952, she married Michael (predeceased 1997) and began raising her family of five children: Mary Anne (Joseph Kelly), Anthony, Darlene (Mike Gosselin), Mitch (Nancy Vautour), and Della Rece (Marcel Gauthier). Over the years, she was blessed with many grandchildren: Alexander, Angela, Avery, Eric, Josée, Julia, Liane and Stephanie. She was the happy great-grandmother to Evelyn, Felicité, Lincoln, Marrisa, Mason, Nahla, Olivia and Sophia. Mom had many nieces and nephews who live throughout Canada. And she was fortunate to have strong, lifelong friendships with Patricia Newman and Elsie Gryschuk (sister-in-law, predeceased).
During her early years, Mom was active in the PTA (remember that?), the choir at Our Lady of Peace Church, the Daughters of Isabella, and the CWL. But her focus was on maintaining a household, especially when Dad was away for long stretches on work trains. As we grew older and had to manage our own budgets, we developed a true appreciation for her abilities. It seemed to us that there was nothing she couldn’t do. Her cooking was superb, and her skills with a needle and thread and her knitting needles produced clothes that were the envy of many. She loved tending her flower beds and helping Dad with the vegetable beds that produced a bountiful harvest every year. She was also an avid hobby ceramist when that craft was all the rage.
Mom pulled out all the stops for special occasions, and there were many. She mastered Ukrainian cooking over the years, and she delighted in treating family and friends with traditional dishes as well as her killer meat pie. She happily produced handmade chocolates for Easter and Christmas. We knew that everything she did was with unconditional love.
As the last of her children prepared to head to university, Mom embarked on her first venture in the workforce as a personal support worker at Garson Manor. Around that time, she and Dad also became avid golfers and curlers. They were virtually inseparable until his passing in 1997.
Mom became active with Palliative Care in Sudbury and gave freely of her time to help families of patients battling cancer and Alzheimer’s. She made the acquaintance of Jim Lepki, who became her constant companion until his passing in 2003. To honour Jim’s service during WWII, Mom became an honorary member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Br. 179, Capreol. In those years with Jim, his family (Leona, James, Glenn and Moira) and ours shared the couple’s happiness.
In 2004, Mom met Joseph McCauley. They had a very happy relationship, travelling often, hauling their golf clubs along for the ride. Joe’s family (Judy, Linda, Cathy, Gail and Debbie) and ours mixed and entertained together, giving the couple our blessing. Mom and Joe were along side each other until she moved to the Elizabeth Centre due to the progression of Alzheimer’s. Even then, Joe visited Mom every day until his passing in 2019.
Since then, Mom resided at Elizabeth Centre, enjoying daily visits with family and friends. With regular visits, we were blessed to experience moments of recognition and remembrance.
Mom has left us, but she has left us with wonderful memories.
A Celebration of Delia’s Life, and interment of ashes in the family plot at the Capreol Cemetery will be held in early summer.
For those wishing to make a donation in Delia’s memory, gifts to the Elizabeth Centre Residents’ Council (2100 Main St., Val Caron, ON P3N 1S7) would be greatly appreciated.