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Ethel Allegra Trudeau
June 18, 1936 - Oct. 14, 2023
On the morning of October 14, 2023, we said goodbye with profound sorrow to Ethel Allegra Trudeau at Nanaimo General Hospital. She passed away peacefully with family by her side. She was a mother, grandmother/great grandmother (aka Nana Banana), mentor and friend. Her loss will be felt by the many people she loved over what was truly a remarkable time on this Earth.
Ethel’s inspiring story of ‘Three Sisters’:
“Began in Montreal, Quebec where she and her three sisters, Mary, Rose, and baby Lisa were born to loving parents, Thomas and Veronica Critchley. Sadly, Lisa died in infancy. It was during the depression and times were hard for many young families, and when the sisters were very young they were sent to Newfoundland to live with their grandparents. After a time, the need came to separate the girls. Mary and Rose would remain in Newfoundland while Ethel was sent to Toronto at the age of six to live with their father. As the years passed, the two sisters in Newfoundland, married with children, often wondered whatever happened to their little sister Ethel after she was sent away so many years before. Well, Ethel grew up also, as time would have it. But never far from her thoughts were memories of her two big sisters. She eventually married her best friend, Michael Trudeau, and they raised five beautiful children. Back in Newfoundland, the search began for the missing sister, but to no avail—until one day Ethel received word from an aunt that she was able to obtain the name and address of her beloved big sister Mary. A few letters followed between the sisters, and more than 20 years after leaving St Johns on the Newfoundland Bullet, Ethel returned on the same train to meet her beloved sisters and their families. It was a most wonderful time in all their lives, and they spent many happy hour together getting to know each other again and sharing memories and tales of growing up.” (ET 19Aug20)
Ethel’s childhood, despite a hard life on the docks of Vancouver with her father which resulted with her ending up in a series of foster homes, never held her back from achieving a life full of accomplishments. Eventually, she was taken in by the Bell family, whose kindness and love helped her to become the positive force she was on so many lives. Under their care, she graduated high school and completed nursing school at the Vancouver Vocational Institute—a field that became one of the biggest loves of her life. As a young nurse, she met and married her soul mate, Michael Joseph Trudeau (1932-1999), a young private in the Canadian Armed Forces stationed in Esquimalt. The couple married in March of 1957, and their family soon grew to include Dennis, Donald, Daniel, David and Dawn.
Aside from raising children and taking care of her father, she dedicated her time to the Stellar Jays Lions Club and Junior Volunteer program at the Chilliwack General Hospital. She was recognized repeatedly for her service. After retiring from nursing and the loss of her husband Michael, Ethel relocated back to their beginnings as a family on the Island. There, she threw herself into more charitable work, including the huge task of helping to open the Nanaimo Auxiliary Hospital Thrift Shop where she worked as a volunteer until she retired in 2022. In addition, she kept the Kiwanis Gift Shop stocked with her crafts, and she regularly volunteered there right up until two weeks before her passing. Ethel also helped to run the Junior Volunteer program at the Nanaimo General Hospital until 2020, providing guidance to numerous young people over the years.
Apart from her many charitable pursuits, she was happiest when surrounded by her family. She dearly loved making tote bags, blankets, sweaters, toques, mitts, slippers and more with her cats CoCo and Yum Yum by her side. Ethel often attended craft fairs where her knitted dolls and bears, crocheted snowflakes, and sewn Raggedy Ann dolls were the stars of the show. She was known to be a champion bowler, a first class horseshoe player, an avid fan of the Blue Jays/ Vancouver Canucks, a talented baker and a lover of adventures such as walks at Shack Island or fishing expeditions with family. Some of her favourite memories also included trips to Vegas with her husband and her sister Mary, lunches with family, as well as the occasional trip to a local casino with her sons and friends.
Ethel was predeceased by her parents Thomas and Veronica Critchley (Foley), her husband Michael Joseph Trudeau and her sisters Lisa Critchley, Mary Noseworthy and Rose Smith. She leaves behind her five children, Dennis (Nancy) of Nanaimo, Donald (Fong) of Vancouver, Daniel of Dawson City, Yukon, David (Lori) of Fort St. John, Dawn Smrekar (Troy) of Powell River; as well as her nine grandchildren, Devin (Rotem and their son Dagan), Dustin (Breyanna), Dylan, William (Rebecca), Brian (Cecilia) Dana, Michael, Marian and Megan (Jesse). Ethel is also greatly missed by many nieces and nephews and their families: Donna, Claudine, Sharlene, Gerald’s widow Bonnie, Joy, Billy, and Sandra. Although her time there was short, she made multiple friends at the Long Lake Chateau who miss her a great deal.
She left a light in this world that cannot be extinguished. Her generous and compassionate spirit lives on in all those who had the privilege of meeting her. She is and always will be missed, but never forgotten.
Thank you to the nurses/doctors at Nanaimo General Hospital and the Kidney Care Clinic, as well as the staff at Long Lake Chateau, who took such good care of her.
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to BC Cancer Society
BC Cancer Foundation
686 W Broadway #150,, Vancouver BC V5Z 1G1