Phyllis Larocque

Obituary of Phyllis Geraldine Larocque

Phyllis passed peacefully on June 24th at Freeport Hospital in Kitchener after a brief battle with cancer. Phyllis was born February 16, 1926, in Haileybury to Elizabeth (Speck) and Wesley Rice. Employed by the old Northern Ontario Light and Power Company her father eventually moved the family to the Matabitchuan Hydro Colony in 1935. She often described life in the secluded colony, known affectionately as ‘the Mat’ to its’ residents, was an idyllic existence. Summers were spent fishing, canoeing on the Matabitchuan River, camping on Four Bass Lake, exploring the riverbed, as well as picking berries in the fields that surrounded the colony. Fall meant hunting, stockpiling fresh preserves and preparing for the long-isolated winter ahead. With the colony cut off from the outside world, they spent their time skiing, snowshoeing, skating and curling on the outdoor rink. Many hours were spent accompanying her father on his many adventures photographing the historical sites and scenery that were a part of the area she grew up in. In 1944 Phyllis married Sydney Larocque, whose family had been a part of the colony since the Matabitchuan’s earliest days. Shortly after that Phyllis took over the role of running the colony boarding house, a daunting task for an 18-year-old girl. In 1954 they moved to Hound Chutes and from there to the colony at Fountain Falls. In 1963 they moved to the Upper Notch where she took over the colony boarding house, which she ran until it was closed in 1970. With the flooding of the hydro plant the family moved to New Liskeard where she eventually joined Temiskaming Printing. She enjoyed a long career in the Stationary Department before she retired to enjoy time at the family cottage on Four Bass Lake and a chance to create many special memories with her family. Following the passing of her husband Sydney in 1996, she married Ivan Young. She began a brand-new chapter as they spent their time travelling, attending various bluegrass festivals during the summer and winters in Florida. She loved assisting Ivan as he entertained residents at Northdale Manor, the Lodge and other local musical gatherings they attended. They were both involved in Dan’s Music Jam in Earlton since its’ earliest days and always looked forward to meeting up with the friends they made there. Outgoing and friendly she absolutely loved to socialize, especially meeting with friends for coffee and a visit at Tim’s as often as possible. Always up for a good adventure, she loved planning a party, a game of cards, or getting involved in an activity that was going on. While she couldn’t play an instrument or hold a tune, which was always good for a laugh or two, she loved music and dancing. She also had a passion for history as she spent a great part of her life documenting life in the Matabitchuan hydro colony, the story of the Montreal River Landing settlement and the hydro plants along the Montreal River. Time spent at the family cottage on Four bass Lake was something she cherished, especially when her greatest love of all, her family gathered there with her. Phyllis was predeceased by her husband Sydney, as well as by Ivan Young, her sisters Irene Eastman, Audrey Hartman and Barbara Hagar as well as her grandson James Larocque (Sarah Pearcey) She is survived by her son Robert and his wife Karen (Thom), her grandchildren Erika Larocque, Daniel Larocque (Ashley Breault) and her sister Jean Lewis of Sudbury. She is also survived by five great grandchildren, Riley, Abigail & Emerson Larocque, and Kaiden & Landon Pearcey-Larocque, as well numerous nieces, nephews and friends. The family would like to thank Dr. Patrick Logan for his care over the years, the staff at Northdale Manor during her time there, her close friends Linda & Lloyd Males for all their support, Rose Murphy for her amazing care and the incredible staff in the Palliative Care Unit at Freeport Hospital. The family plans a celebration of life at a later time, once the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Her ashes will be spread at her favourite place, the family cottage on Four Bass Lake in a private ceremony as she requested. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the London Health Sciences Centre’s Multi-Organ Transplant Program. London Health Sciences Foundation c/o Multi-Organ Transplant Program, University Hospital 747 Baseline Road East, London, Ontario N6C 2R6 foundation@lhsc.on.ca
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