43 years ago, my cousin Richard passed away. He was killed in a car accident on 4 October 1969 in North Bay, Ontario. He was only 18 years old.
Richard was the eldest child of René and Madeleine (Desgroseilliers) Legault. Born on 2 February 1951 in Sarnia, Ontario, Richard was the first of seven sons in a family of eight children. His sister Lise was the only daughter.
|Richard on his first birthday, 1952.|
When he was a baby, Richard and his parents moved to Kirkland Lake in northeastern Ontario, where his siblings were born. I didn’t know my cousin Richard all that well, because he was a few years older than me, and I have only a few memories of him.
|Aunt Madeleine with her eldest children, Christmas 1959. |
Richard is on the right at the bottom of the picture.
My family lived about 2 hours away in Timmins and we’d often travel to Kirkland Lake to spend a weekend there. I loved visiting my Legault cousins. When we were with them, my sister and I would have lots of fun playing with our naturally exuberant cousins. We even didn’t mind getting teased by them, because it was good-natured and we felt special getting all this attention from our cousins.
In the fall of 1969, my Mom found out she was expecting a baby (my brother Raymond) the following spring. It wasn’t long after she told us her good news that we got a phone call. Cousin Richard was dead. My aunt, uncle and cousins’ lives were forever changed. Mom went to Kirkland Lake to be with her sister for Richard’s funeral. My sister and I stayed with our aunt Joan in town, while Dad was away at work.
In February 2006, Richard’s youngest brother Gérard died suddenly while driving home in London, Ontario. They are buried next to their father René, who died two years ago.