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Renée Marguerite Gabrielle Alford

July 2, 1924 ~ May 7, 2024

Renée Marguerite Gabrielle Alford

May 7, 2024, Renée Marguerite Gabrielle Alford, “Mom”, left Earth for Heaven, at almost 100 years old. Mom was predeceased by her brother, Jacques, and her beloved husband, Monty. Dad had remained Mom’s “Darling” for 63 years, until he passed away in 2014. Mom was a loving, caring mother to all her children: Bernadette (Jim), Marguerite (Kevin, deceased), Jacqueline (Dan), Mark (Susanne), Dominic (Karin), and Michael,

grandchildren: Philip (Angie), Danielle (Paul), James (Selena), Hugh, Kathleen, Ben (Jenn), Sam (Katie), Lizzie (Matt), Amy (Dave), Genevieve (Jere), Lauren, Huxley, Devon, and Tyler.  Mom prayed for them all and remembered each of them on their birthdays.

She is also survived by her great grandchildren: Evelyn, Ella, Joah, Mia, Jackson, Addison, Aubrey, Scarlet, Monty, Norah, Oscar, Celeste, Neve, and Elijah, and by sisters-in-law: Ellie Gilly and Jean Matejuk, and many nieces and nephews.

Mom was born in Paris, France to Jean and Victorine Gilly. She obtained her degree at L’École de Science Politique de la Sorbonne after the war. It was shortly afterwards that Mom met Dad (Monty) on a train during a trip with her parents when Dad (from England) was en route to climb in the Alps. It was love at first sight, and that love blossomed through many letters and occasional visits between France and England. After Dad’s long canoe journey through Canada and the United States, Mom bravely left Paris to reconnect with him in Canada. They were married in New Brunswick and then travelled across Canada to begin their new life together in the Yukon (whose beauty Dad had recently discovered on his canoe journey). Mom embraced her new surroundings, and, if trees had eyes, would have been seen leading us children along forest trails singing French songs. As the years unfolded, she cared for all of us with great devotion (never complaining, although from time to time, we are sure that she longed for a good baguette!)

Mom’s deep faith was expressed by serving in countless ways in her Parish community of Sacred Heart, as well as by working tirelessly on the revision of the Education Act for Catholic education in the early 60’s, and again in the late 80’s. She advocated for many social service programs. Her passionate, perceptive, and often feisty French temperament made her quite the advocate indeed!  She co-founded the Yukon Family Services (later known as Many Rivers) in the late 60’s. She served as president of the Federation of Home and School Associations of the Yukon at a time when the importance of bilingualism was rising nationally, giving presentations in the schools and to parents regarding the development of a French Immersion program. When the instruction of French as a second language to government employees became available with the development of the French Language Centre in the early 70’s, she was offered the position of instructor. Many of her students have shared with us that her understanding of the French language, her enthusiasm, and her rich knowledge of French history and culture, brought them much delight. She retired from that position in 1988. She was also instrumental in establishing a Teen Parent Center for Learning, was involved in the local Anti-Poverty Coalition, and served on the Health and Social Services Board into her 80’s. In 1997 Mom was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Medal for her many years of service in the community.

We remember Mom as always lending her ear to each of us, whenever we needed it, and responding with great insight and wisdom. She did this not just with us, but with many more in the community, and with great care and compassion.

Mom had such an effect on her children’s own faith journeys, prayed for her entire extended family so faithfully, and helped whenever she could. We are confident she is now in the presence of the One for whom she lived. We know His words to her will be “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

A Celebration of Life / Funeral Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Church on May 18, 2024, at 1:00 pm. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, you may kindly donate to the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition.

Comments (4)
  • 12 May 2024
    Mary Anne Harach

    So sorry to hear of the passing of such a special, beautiful lady. She will be so missed by all her family. R.IP Renee in the arms of Jesus.

  • 13 May 2024
    Sandra Henderson

    Mme Alford was indeed an inspiration for all of us. Her dedication and commitment for others were outstanding. RIP dear Renée

  • 14 May 2024
    Père Claude Gosselin

    Femme de Magnificat , « Le Puissant fit pour moi des merveilles», Mme René fut aussi pour moi Femme de Résurrection « Ne cherchez pas parmi les morts, Celui qui est vivant ». Je rends grâce à Dieu pour sa sagesse et sa bonté. Elle avait ce don de valider en nous l’oeuvre de Dieu. Toutes mes sympathies à la famille dans l’assurance de ma prière!

  • 14 May 2024
    Kenechukwu Onwudinjo

    Jacqueline, your mum was an incredible woman! I read her obituary and I see a life well lived, with tenderness, courage, audacity and an abundance of love for her children and her husband. Having met you, now I understand the source of your kindness and generosity of heart and soul, and your gracefull beauty ( yes I said it), you mother was everything admirable. Your love kept her alive to 100 years old!
    Rest with the Lord mum, you left an enviable legacy here in the Yukon; you gave so much to make this world a better place. You left a huge presence and love-filled stories.
    God rest your beautiful soul. Lots of baguette in heaven for you mum!

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