MARTINEAU, Marie Antoinette
1930 - 2022
Marie Antoinette Martineau
After a long and adventurous life that touched many people across Canada and around the world, Marie Antoinette Martineau (affectionately known as MAM) passed away suddenly but peacefully on June 20th, 2022 at Montfort Hospital. She was 91. MAM is survived by her only child, Gisèle Yasmeen, her much loved son-in-law, Ishkandar Ahmed, and her only grandchild, Marcel, who was her pride and joy. She leaves in mourning her brother, Louis Martineau (Sherry), six cherished nieces and nephews (Marie Antoinette, Marcel, Michelle, Carmaine, Bob and Glenn) and her two most longtime, loyal friends, Deni Belecque and Fernande Lapointe as well as man others. MAM was predeceased by her parents, Ferdinand and Cécile (née Carrière), her sister, Fernande Montpetit and two brothers, Gratien and Arthur.
Born in the town of Legal, Alberta in November, 1930, MAM left home at 17 to study and then practice nursing after graduating at St-Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. She spent the early part of her career caring for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in both western and northern Canada, even delivering babies in igloos in the 1950s when she worked in what is now Nunavut. She lived many years in Montréal where she did graduate studies in public health at McGill and worked in occupational health at Bell Canada. In addition to Alberta, Manitoba, the NWT (on two occasions) and Québec, she lived in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and even Newfoundland, where she worked for the Victorian Order of Nurses taking the narrow-gauge railway and the “Baccalieu” ferry to remote parts of “the rock”. She lived in Germany as well as India where she even assisted in cataract surgery for her then mother-in-law.
As a loving mother, she faced the challenges of single parenthood with resourcefulness, hard work and an unflagging energy, which she brought to all aspects of her life and career. MAM was a mighty and determined dynamo in her community of Château Vanier where she lived for the past twenty years.
Although her work in the health field came to define MAM, she had many other interests and talents. She rescued cats and had an extraordinary green thumb. A gifted pianist, she performed Rachmaninoff and many other great composers at the age of 15. She shared her love of music with others as a choir director. MAM was politically engaged and made sure decision makers benefitted from her views through frequent letters to elected officials. As it became more difficult to write, she left long messages on politician’s voicemails, including the Prime Minister.
MAM lived a full and inspiring life. Her brilliance, respect for life and energy kept her going. A celebration of her life will be held in July. Donations to the Montfort Hospital Foundation would be appreciated in recognition of the excellent care she received in her final days.
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