BOISSONNEAULT, Lorette Lucy
January 1, 1911 – June 12, 2010
Lorette Lucy Boissonneault passed away in Calgary on Saturday, June 12, 2010 at the age of 99 years bringing to an end the life on earth of a remarkable woman. A direct descendant of a member of the French army and one of the “filles du roi” sent to the New World, her roots in Canada date to the early 1600’s. Lorette was always a bold and independent person. She toured Europe, including Nazi Germany, before the Second World War and subsequently worked with key officials in the war effort in Washington. She visited many parts of Europe immediately after the end of the war as a part of the reconstruction effort and later became an economist with the International Monetary Fund where she traveled to many countries in Africa. The onset of arthritis led to an early retirement to her tropical paradise in Montserrat where she remained until moving to Calgary in early1995 to be close to her beloved sister Yvette.
Lorette was born in Rainy River, Ontario on January 1, 1911, the eldest child of Nellie and Ernest Boissonneault and never married. She was predeceased by her brothers Fernand, Reginald and Roy, sister Yvette and sister-in-law Norma. She is survived by her brother Gerald (Norma) Boissonneault of Montreal, sister-in-law Evelyn (Fernand) Boissonneault of Saskatoon, sister-in-law Philomene (Reginald) of Vancouver, sister-in-law Ruth (Roy) of Calgary, niece Marcia (Norman) Holton of Calgary, who looked out for Lorette and was her advocate during the last fifteen years of her life, and by numerous nieces and nephews and their children.
Lorette was an artist, most notably a sculptor during the latter part of her time in Washington and in Montserrat. Later in life she taught herself to paint with her left hand after her right was permanently disabled by her arthritis. She was an author of many papers and articles on international financial and monetary policy.
After graduating from high school in Rainy River at the age of 15, Lorette attended business school in Winnipeg before joining her family in Calgary in 1927. She worked in the medical offices of Dr. Beauchemin and Dr. McAffery until 1940. During her time in Calgary she was active in theatre as an actor and director and also wrote a play jointly with B. Smith which won provincial awards and was published in a book of one-act plays.
In the mid-1930’s, she fulfilled her dream of traveling to Europe and took an extensive trip which involved a transatlantic crossing by cruise ship and visits to Berlin, Rome and Paris.
Answering a call for secretaries to work in the British Missions as a part of the war effort she went to Washington in 1942. Her mastery of the French language proved a great asset to her career and led to her becoming the secretary and later administrative assistant to Monsieur Jean Monnet, the noted French diplomat and “Father of Europe” who was a confidante of Winston Churchill and one of President Roosevelt’s most trusted advisors.
At the end of the war, with the return of Jean Monnet to Europe, she joined the Forestry Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and participated in a mission which surveyed the needs for and the availability of timber for the reconstruction of post-war Europe leading to an oft told story in later years of smoking a cigar with the King of Sweden and others after a formal dinner in Stockholm.
In late 1944, Lorette joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Administrative Assistant to the General Counsel. During the war years she had attended evening classes at George Washington University and after earning her Economics Degree with Honours she transferred to the Special Studies Division of the IMF as an Economist where she specialized in the French-speaking countries of Africa (Burundi, Ivory Coast and Dahomey) and published numerous articles and studies with Rudolf Rhomberg, J. J. Palek and others. She made numerous trips to Africa, once narrowly escaping a premature and tragic end at the hands of bandits in Burundi.
Her IMF career was shortened by advancing arthritis and in the early 1960’s she retired to the Caribbean island of Montserrat where she built a home overlooking the sea. She spent a mostly idyllic 30 years in Montserrat interrupted by Hurricane Hugo, a category 5 storm that ravaged much of the region in September 1989. The eye of the hurricane passed over Montserrat and Lorette’s home, destroying much of the memorabilia of a life well lived.
In early 1995 she left the island to move to Calgary to be close to her sister Yvette. It proved to be a timely move as her island paradise was about to change dramatically and she was fortunate to have been able to sell her home in Montserrat as in July, 1995, Montserrat’s Soufriere Hills volcano, dormant throughout recorded history, rumbled to life. The eruption eventually left her former home uninhabitable and buried the nearby Town of Plymouth and, along with it, the Catholic church and its stone altar carved by Lorette.
Lorette moved into Mayfair Place in 1995 and later spent many happy and contented years at Trinity Lodge. She moved to The Beverly Centre after being disabled by a fall in 2009. A special thanks to Diana King who was her caregiver and companion since September 2009. Diana was very special to Lorette and her genuine concern and empathy made her as comfortable as possible. The family truly appreciates her kindness to our aunt. Thank you to the staff at the Beverly Centre and the Rockyview Hospital for the excellent care that she received in her final months and days.
Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Friday, June 18, 2010 at 5:00 p.m.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church (5340 – 4th Street S.W.) on Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. The Graveside Service will follow at Queen’s Park Cemetery. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers please direct donations to The Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank (www.calgaryfoodbank.com).
In living memory of Lorette Boissonneault, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200.Print This Obituary & Condolences