Bertha Groody was born on the 31st day of August, 1918 at Shediac River, New Brunswick, the daughter of Anna, nee Poirier, and Alphée, Leménager. Marie Anne Cecilia Bertha Leménager Groody died of natural causes on April 26, 2009 in her home, the Villa du Repos, in Moncton, New Brunswick. In the days and hours prior to her death Bertha was surrounded, comforted and held by the family who shared her love and who brought her so much pride and joy.
Bertha grew up and went to school at Shediac River, New Brunswick. She first lived in the “old house”, built with pegs but no nails, and with a natural spring for water. Throughout her life, she told stories of taking the rowboat across the river and of the fun she, her sisters, brothers and cousins shared growing up in the country. She loved fresh air and sunshine and the bounty of nature; picking blueberries, planting flowers and digging clams made her happiest.
At times in her long and happy life Bertha suffered loss. When she was only 22, her dear father died, leaving her to help raise her four brothers and sisters. She lost her beloved mother in 1963, when she was herself a young mother. Bertha was predeceased by her dear sisters, in the prime of their lives, Yvonne Goguen and Blanche Boucher. In February, 1989 her much-loved brother Emery passed away. Alphée Leménager of Lynn, Massachusetts is the sole surviving member of the immediate family. Alphee and his family treasure the memories of his sister and their shared childhood.
During the Second World War, Bertha met Patrick Groody, who was stationed in Moncton with the Royal Air Force. On November 13, 1943 Bertha married this avid soccer player (football to him) and exceptional mathematician. Shortly following the war, the young couple moved to Durham, England. There Bertha bonded with her husband’s large and welcoming Irish-Catholic family.
Patrick died in 1982. Bertha is survived by her sisters-in-law Kathie Wilkinson, Fay Brown and Audrey Groody. She was predeceased by Patrick’s brothers Edward, Thomas, Jim, and Bill, and his sister Mona Frayne.
Patrick and Bertha’s first child, Paul, was born in England, where they lived for five years at the beginning of their marriage. Paul and his wife Twyla now live in Saint John, New Brunswick. Annette, the second child, and her husband, Valerie Cormier, live in Dieppe, New Brunswick, where the Groody family grew up and where Annie and Val raised their two children.
Their second daughter, Faye Groody, and her husband Bill Connolly make their home and raised their two children, in Bathurst, New Brunswick. Eric, their second son, lives in Calgary, Alberta. Claudette, their youngest daughter and her husband, Mariner Palmer, make their home in Pierrefonds, Quebec. Dennis, the youngest child, resides in Logan Lake, British Columbia.
Blessed with extraordinary vim and vigor for most of her life, Bertha took great joy in travelling across and around Canada to visit with her children and their families. She loved Canada and was proud that its peace and freedom were the birthrights of her children.
As much as Bertha treasured her children, nothing could match the love she had for her grandchildren. She will be remembered by all of them as the “gentle matriarch”. She was an amazing grandmother — who baked bread, knit mittens at Christmas, told hilarious stories, and made sure you behaved. She showed her grandchildren the value and rewards of moral strength, kindness, and determination. She took great pride in their lives and achievements.
The first grandchild was Paul’s daughter Jennifer, who lives in Welland, Ontario. His daughter Kirsten resides in Toronto and his son James lives in Bracebridge, Ontario. Celia is in high school and lives at home in Saint John, New Brunswick.
Jonathan Cormier, the second grandchild to join the family, and his wife, Allison, are residents of Ottawa. Lise, his sister, and her husband Bryce Classen, reside in St. Albert, Alberta.
Erin Connolly, a university graduate like each of her older cousins, lives in Moncton. Patrick, her brother, is a student at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Brianne Groody, daughter of Dennis and Heather, is about to graduate from high school in Logan Lake, British Columbia.
In the final few months of her life, Bertha shared the joy of time with each of her three great-grandchildren. Harrison and Aidan Casu, three-year olds, travelled with their parents from Welland to be with her. Ethan Classen, still only two months old, came with his Mom all the way from St. Albert.
Bertha had the gift of friendship. She had a special place in her heart for each of her nieces and nephews. She welcomed countless people to her hearth and home and to the web of love that was her big, extended family. To the delight of all, her children’s friends were her friends too. Bertha will be missed but never forgotten. As the prophet Isaiah said, we shall write her name on the palms of our hands to remember.
Bertha will rest at the Chartersville Funeral Home at 363 Amirault Street in Dieppe. Visitation will be on Wednesday, April 29th from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm and on Thursday from 9.30 until time of departure. The funeral will be held at Ste. Therese R.C.C. in Dieppe at 10:30 am on Thursday, April 30, 2009. Interment will follow later in the spring at La Visitation parish cemetery in Grande Digue, New Brunswick. Bertha will take her final resting place on earth in the company of her parents, family and husband, beside the church where she was married and where, as a child, she went to mass by horse and buggy or sleigh.
The family extends heart-felt thanks, as our mother regularly did, to the many caregivers at the Villa du Repos and the Dr-Georges-L-Dumont Hospital in Moncton, who looked after Bertha.
We respectfully request that any memorial donations in Bertha’s name be made to the Isaac Walton Killam Hospital for Sick Children in Halifax, Nova Scotia, our parents’ favored charity.