Obituary: LORRAINE AYOTTE MCKINLEY, 1941-2014
May 07, 2014 | 1424 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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ASTORVILLE, Ontario and STE-AGATHE, Maine - Lorraine Ayotte McKinley’s brilliant light was extinguished on May 4, 2014 as she peacefully passed away with her loving family by her side. She was born in Ste-Agathe to Lawrence and Irene Albert Ayotte, the fourth daughter in a family of 10 children. She arrived on her mother’s birthday on April 10, 1941. A nephew, Keith Ayotte, would complete the third generation claiming this birth date. She graduated from Our Lady of Wisdom Academy in Ste-Agathe and the Hôtel-Dieu School of Nursing in Edmundston, New Brunswick. Her extended family saw her always as a poteau dans la famille, mature beyond her years, loved and treasured. She was a can-do, no nonsense, creative individual with boundless love and admirable strength. She would never settle for the status quo but forge ahead especially breaking down gender barriers to be self-sufficient especially in the '50s and '60s when this was not easy to do for a woman. She was the first child in the family to have a vehicle of her own because of her commute to school. During this time, her maternal grandmother, Beatrice Marquis Albert, became very ill, and McKinley became an important conduit for teaching the family how to take care of a bedridden elderly. She met her husband Barry while working for Hydro-Québec in northern Canada. She was married at the Chapelle de St. Michel at Long Lake in Madawaska on Aug. 12, 1967 with Monsignor Albert Long officiating. He had been the catalyst behind building this chapel to serve the people in that area. It was barely finished on time; it meant the couple having to clean out construction debris the day before the wedding. McKinley made her way through life with exuberance, patience, forgiveness, bearing no ill will, always the healer wanting to fix situations gone awry. She was non-judgmental and egalitarian, respecting all of God’s creation as she was raised to believe. This positivism and optimism made her very successful in tackling daily challenges in her life and nursing profession. She would take responsibility and deal with issues head-on, always gracious, loving and conciliatory, not looking back in regret because she always gave it her all. She would never complain or ask why but turned the page and moved on. As a result, people felt safe and understood in her presence, knowing she would give her full attention and help in any way possible. Her sense of justice and fair play served her well. Always fearless and adventuresome, she and her family traveled to many places over the years by air, water and land. Brother-in-law Ross Paradis said that she reminded him of Bea Arthur, who played Maude in “The Golden Girls” – tall, elegant and assertive. She never missed family gatherings despite the long distance, often arriving home with her recreational vehicle packed with goodies and a meal plan for the duration of her stay, knowing what each member of her large extended family liked. In addition to her work in various aspects of nursing, she was ever ready to assist her entrepreneur husband in his various businesses. Both were very involved in their church and community. She was a voracious reader, and one of her lifelong efforts was scrapbooking the lives of her extended family. She was a gardener par excellence. She took care of Barry at home for 10 months after he suffered a massive stroke. He passed away in her arms on Oct. 12, 2013. Most recently, she opened her home to provide hospice care to a widowed friend. Shortly after her friend's death, her multiple myeloma returned in full force and continued unabated. She is being mourned by her sons, Dwayne and his wife Mary Ann of Montreal, Quebec, and Dale and his fiancée Kerrie of Cochrane, Ontario; brother-in-law David and wife Lorraine of Montreal, Quebec, and sister-in-law Carey-Lynn and husband Bill Mossman of Thunder Bay, Ontario. She is survived by six sisters and three brothers, Thérèse and Doris of Bangor, Sisters Joan and Jackie of Ste-Agathe, Judy and Rosaire Paradis of Frenchville, Clarence and Helen of Camp Verde, Ariz., John and Clara of Hampden, Mary Ann Leblanc of Westminster, Mass., and Larry and Theresa of Brewer. She will be remembered always as the fun and cool aunt by her Ayotte nieces and nephews, Danielle and Elyse Leblanc of Massachusetts, Keith and Kelly Ayotte and children Joshua and Logan of Camp Verde; Randy of Gorham; Ben, Jimilee and daughter Sorcha of Stettler, Alberta; and Jesse and Nicole of Brewer. She is survived also by her uncle Alcide and aunt Gisèle Ayotte of Plainville, Conn.; two aunts, Marie Aurore Ayotte Pelletier of Bristol, Conn. and Hilda Ayotte Bosse of Presque Isle; and also by many Ayotte and Albert cousins and their families. She was a communicant of St. Thomas d’Acquin Catholic Church in Astorville, Ontario. Her funeral service will take place Thursday, May 8, her husband’s birthday. She will be laid to rest next to him at All Saints Mausoleum in North Bay, Ontario. Memorial donations may be made to the Long Lake Public Library, 384 Main St., Ste-Agathe, ME 04772.