Jan’s Tribute to Maria
(with contributions from Johanne)
June 29th Funeral St. Patrick’s Church, Fallowfield, ON

This is not a time to be sad but a time to Celebrate Maria’s life!!

I stand here with trepidation as I say a few words for Maria.. You may realize that sometimes she could be critical of her brother especially when he tried to be humorous.. I can hear her now saying “don’t screw it up!!”

Where to start with Maria.. ??

In her younger years Maria enjoyed travelling, often mentioning her favourite time on the Greek Islands. Crete, Turkey, England, Italy, Germany, France, .. Chased by thieves; teaching English to locals, meeting and travelling with a gang of friends, living in hostels, living with locals,  etc.. She thought it was great fun, and each telling seemed to make it more interesting and scary..

Maria was also bright and very artistic.. From an early age she drew better than the rest of us and painted throughout her life some wonderful paintings.. I only wish I had as much artistic and also musical talent as she was.


Family was the most important thing to her, followed by her friends. She enjoyed attending family gatherings, especially when it meant she would see many of her aunts, uncles and cousins whom she loved very much. Maria really enjoyed a party and was usually the last one to leave and was always disappointed when anyone left early. She enjoyed her visits with Rosemary and Armand or the Buteaus or Roger and George's Bizarre group parties where good food and good stories were told. She was a mainstay at the annual Menard clan party in the Eastern Townships – we can still hear her laughter as she kidded her aunts, uncles and cousins.


Maria and our mother were two peas in a pod and did many things together, especially if it had to do with eating or partying.. Though they didn’t always get along 100%, they always came back to each other to commiserate. I think that the death of our mother about a year ago hit Maria pretty hard.

Like her mother, Maria loved the water, often spending many hours in the pool by her place in Domaine des Trembles, Lac St. Antoine or when possible, in the ocean. Trips to Jamaica, Dominican Republic…… Trips to Old Orchard Beach as kids – coming out of the water with blue skin..

I now have a Bone to pick with her.. I thought that I was a pretty good fisherman when my Dad and I would head off for a weekend of fishing.. But anytime Maria was around, she seemed to catch the first fish or the biggest one.. That’s why we called her ( grudgingly) the Fisher girl.

I also think that had she had the chance she would have been a first class Real estate mogul – Lord knows she watched TV renovator Scott MacGillivray by the ton – and then the in-depth explanations of how you could become rich with flipping, or tearing down – or renovations or splitting, etc. etc. etc. . Inevitable of going into business to make money together.. I think it usually involved her ideas and my money.. Funny instances.. Martin’s winery in the Gatineau hills..

Maria lived her life fully and by her rules.. She was skeptical about traditional medicine and doctors. She was interested in non-traditional medicine and read extensively about unique cures for ailments.

She was also a true believer in the power of herbs and other natural remedies. May have been borne with our father who believed in natural remedies and in Poland where herbal remedies are often used. Who doesn’t remember being told of the latest remedy for whatever might be ailing her or us? Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, etc.. Lavender was always a favourite which actually worked for our mother’s dry skin, as she grew older!!

She was always ready to try news remedies.. I do remember one time about 20 years ago, I had a really bad back.. I had seen doctors, specialists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, tried every remedies under the sun. Maria was over one day and told me she had something which would be a miracle cure.. Having heard this before, many, many times,  I was understandably skeptical .. So the next day she brought me some medical patches for my back.. I didn’t put them on at first but finally decided “oh why not”’ just to get her off my back.. And didn’t they work and relieve the 9 month pain in about an hour. Well I was elated, but hesitant to tell her how she had cured me , as I thought she would keep reminding me how her remedies work every time I had anything wrong with me and she prescribed some remedy..

Maria could have made it as a daredevil.. really loved driving her Toyota around town and on occasion to the Eastern Townships. Tales of her driving in the most intense rainstorms and having to be pushed down her street and many other streets during the biggest snowstorms were normal. While others feared such outings, she reveled in them.

We received a comment from a longtime family friend from Senegal, Salam who commented:
“Maria had a strong sense of business and Mama Laurence did not curb her impulses by explaining to me that Maria was a bank of gigantic projects!”

Maria was unique and fit the description of “they broke the mold when she was born.” She died too young but lived her life fully and on her own terms.