“She never followed a recipe”
March 27, 1938 – Jan 20, 2023
Following decades of riotous fun on earth, reading recipes, and passionately connecting with others and their stories (illustrated by her avid obituary reading) our beautiful Edmée has unwittingly placed us in the daunting position of having to pen hers. Crafting this concluding essay has rendered her absence all the more keenly felt; as the teacher in our family, she filled an irreplaceable role as “editor in chief”. With her talent, and a detailed eye for grammar, style, and composition (in both official languages) we would have loved to have her input, one last time.
“Surprise me” she’d have quipped, if we could have asked her what to write today. How to do justice to that wit here? It was tough to get this done with her cheeky words ringing in our ears. Luckily, some solace, and a little mischievous delight, has come from unearthing her treasured memorabilia. As we wrestled with procrastination, the following example confirmed that we were in good company with her.
Her 1957 Normal School Yearbook described her as follows:
“A cute French lass, who never seems to worry. A great putter-offer, she likes everything about Normal, except the work. But she gets it done!”
And, quite aptly, for the rest of her life, get things done she did.
A dear friend wrote, upon hearing the news of her passing: “I have always found your mom to have been weirdly exceptionally wise, like some ancient monk in the Himalayas…and as funny as can be, like my favorite stand-up comedian; generous and thoughtful, always speaking her mind, being strong, accepting, and confronting life head-on.”
Indeed, her essence, her character, and her robust life force bespoke a resiliency and courage that held her a place as an outlier in the class of living life to the fullest.
She was a mover and shaker, an “everything” maker, from pastry to purses, clothing, and magic of everything in between. All of this was done with ease, joy, and more than a little fun. Her wicked humour would disarm any opponent and make easy friends of anyone.
She was fluent in all the “languages of love” with acts of service and sharing food at the top of her list. Any visit with her culminated in being loaded up with baking, made to feel at ease by her sympathetic ear, and having been given a pragmatic life coaching, complete with an inspiringly repeatable quote, be it self- invented, or drawn from a famous source.
Born on a Manitoba dairy farm, one of ten children in a boisterous French Catholic family, she was a model of sharing, peacemaking, and forgiveness. A favorite reference of hers was “The Prayer of St Francis”. A doctrine for her life’s philosophy, it begins “…make me an instrument of your peace”. She embodied this in her roles, with personal accountability at the heart of each. Her down to earth farm soul rarely sought recognition or found her “tooting” her own horn: she knew the virtue of humility. (unless a comparison was drawn to another woman’s cookies)
Self-pity was seldom indulged; she gracefully accepted any circumstances thrown her way. From her lips a reminder of Epictetus often came: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Never one to wear rose coloured glasses, she understood that a positive mindset was something to be practiced; Edmée was an unbeatable model of so many virtues and values to be lived up to.
With an unfailing sense of faith directing her internal compass, like the steady school horse of her childhood, who drew their sleigh home in the darkest of Canadian winters, she remained grounded and always found her way home.
And so it was, on a tranquil winter afternoon in January, we found ourselves beside our beautiful wife and mother, as she exhaled her last and headed home.
Peacefully, in her warm, sunny living room of 50 years, basking in the glow of her life’s work, she wrapped up her many roles, different roles to all of us who cherished and loved her. Her work here more than well done, she left on her own terms, which she had adamantly set: To leave the cozy, beloved home she’d made “feet first”.
She will be excruciatingly missed, since much like her recipes, she’ll never be recreated.
Tu nous manques beaucoup et à bientôt notre bien aimée.
Memorial donations may be made to the Pilgrims Hospice Society https://pilgrimshospice.com/get-involved/make-a-donation/ Or the Heart and Stroke Foundation http://www.heartandstroke.ca/
Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences
Edmee, a friend met in sociology class, University of Winnipeg, a lifetime ago, but filled with fond memories. She was my first and most-treasured French-Canadian friend. As a North-end raised Ukrainian-Canadian girl, I hadn’t even ventured into Saint-Boniface before adulthood. Edmee introduced me to the vibrancy of her culture, her humour and joie-de-vivre impressed and drew me to her. We became close and I was honoured to speak at her wedding. While I married and settled in West-Africa, Edmee wed and made her home in Western Canada. Our paths crossed over eighs years later when my husband had a two year study leave in Edmonton. Our daughter was born then, much to the delight of Auntie Edmee, who took me under her loving wings. As a new mother, far from family, I will be forever grateful for her mentoring, her friendship and down-to-earth advice to a fearful new Mom.
Lots of memories created by Edmee are full of fun and laughter, caring and warmth…the first sleep-over for our infant daughter, May, in her home in Leduc; an unforgettable trip to the mountains in the Tilroe’s camper; May’s first steps in the Rockies, where Edmee and her two adventurous children showed May how to climb a tree! Then there was a visit with the Tilroe’s when May was 10. Aunt Edmee took her to explore the magical world of the West Edmonton Mall, a great reunion!
Edmee’s openess to life and friendship was special…she chose to phone often, instead of sending a card at Christmas.
We’ll miss her calls and caring.
Rest in peace, dear friend.
Our hearts are with you, Dear Bram and family.
Dorothy and Akin Orebanjo
Barbara & Wayne Sereda
We are so sorry to read of Edmee’s passing. She was a dynamic person and we were lucky to have her touch our life’s.
Our world without Edmee!? Incroyable!
Edmee brought joy to my soul, laughter to my life and peace to my heart.
That beautiful photo beams with her effervescence.
An offering from Daphne du Maurier:
As the months pass and the seasons change, something of tranquillity descends, and although the well-remembered footstep will not sound again, nor the voice from the room beyond, there seems to be about one in the air an atmosphere of love, a living presence.
Mes profondes condoleances a toute la famille.
Very sorry to hear Edmee passed. Blessings & sympathies to you & the family at this time.
Deepest condolences to Bram and the Tilroe family. We were so sad to hear of Edmee’s passing. We were so lucky to live next door to the best neighbors a family could have for fourteen beautiful years. Life in Sunny Acres was ideal for raising our little family and Edmee and Bram were an important part of the McLeod world. We are so sorry for your loss but we were so lucky to have had Edmee in our world. Wishing you all of the best. Samantha,Salena,Shelley and Scott McLeod
Bill & Shelley Hamilton
Edmee was literally the first person we met in Leduc. It was 1987 and we had been in the city of Leduc all of 10 minutes waiting to see a rental home close to the Tilroe’s. Edmee was walking by, introduced herself and invited us into her home for tea rather than have us wait on the street. That warm introduction to Edmee (and the Community) is where it all began for us. Bram, we are so sorry for your loss.
Cherry & Barrie Touchings
Bram and Family,
Maria sent me an email to tell us of Edmee’s passing. Barrie and I are very sorry to hear of your loss and want to offer our sympathy.
Cherish your many memories and please take care of one another.
Cherry & Barrie
I first met Edmee in 1964 as I was planning a hitchhiking trip to Europe with another friend Therese. Edmee found out about our plans and quickly asked to be included. We left Canada from Montreal in August 1964 and travelled through the Scandinavian countries, Europe and the Middle East for a total of 14 months. It was the experience of a lifetime, not soon forgotten. After returning to Winnipeg, we continued our University studies. After completion of her degree, Edmee got a job in Calgary and I tagged along. We shared an apartment until Edmee moved to Yellowknife where she met Bram, her partner of many years.. Our friendship continued over the years. She was a true friend and will be sorely missed.
My cherished relationship with my dear friend, Edmée is best expressed through the following poem ‘When Great Trees Fall’ by Maya Angelou.
“And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”
I wish to express the great admiration I have for a woman who lived a fulfilling and noble life
Love Colleen (& Stuart) Fraser
Beautifully written. Edmee would be proud! Our deepest sympathies. May you take comfort with the friends and family that surround you. She will be missed dearly and never forgotten.
Legacies are left in the aspiring minds, heartfelt connections, nourished souls, mirthful remembrances and communion of spirits of those whom we have touched. Dear Madame Tilroe, thank you for gifting us with the richest of legacies. Sweet journey home.
What a beautiful tribute to a very special woman. I’m so grateful that she was a part of my childhood.
Maria Thompson Corley
I know she is proud of this beautiful tribute. What a joy to see her face again, even as a photograph. It’s a cliche that she lives on in those she touched, but cliches sometimes become entrenched for a reason.
Micky and Chris Colton
Chris and I didn’t get as much time to enjoy Edmée as we were only in Edmonton from 87-92 but our adventures together are very fondly remembered. We are so sorry for your loss.