|Lionel Gauthier (centre), wife Rita (left) and family friend Diane (right), 1973|
Lionel Gauthier, a long-ago neighbor and landlord, recently passed away on 27 December 2013. I came across this sad news a couple of days ago when I checked the online Timmins obituaries. Although I no longer live in Timmins, I was born and raised there and like to read its newspaper and catch up on the obituaries.
Monsieur Gauthier, as I called him as a child, lived next door to my family on Commercial Avenue. We rented a basement apartment in the building next door to him that he owned as landlord. When I was about 6 or 7 years old, we moved to the other side of Mr. Gauthier’s house, in a two-apartment house he also owned.
From the time I was a toddler to when I was about 10 years old, Mr. Gauthier and his family were a daily presence in my young life. Wife Rita used to call me "Vo-vonne" (short for Yvonne), daughter Nicole babysat my sister and I, while son Jacques, the closest one in age to me, was a childhood friend who liked to tease me at any opportunity.
I remember Mr. Gauthier as a calm man, with a cheerful and smiling face. He worked as a postman (or mail carrier, to be more up-to-date) for many years. I can still see him now, sitting on his front porch, in his work clothes and with his mail bag by his side. He’s sipping a cup of coffee (or was it tea?) while waiting for the bus to round the corner so that he could go into town to do his afternoon rounds.
Rest in peace, Monsieur Gauthier.
Copyright © 2014, Yvonne Demoskoff.