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LAMARRE, Ruth (nee Noonan)

19270727 -
20220824

Ruth to her friends and Nana to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Mum started every day with a cup of coffee while reading the daily newspapers. Keeping up with current events, whether local, national or international, was her life’s blood and passion. Her day was not complete unless she had first scanned the headlines!

Ruth Lamarre (nee Noonan) grew up in the village of Low, Quebec. Mum was an only child and her parents, Jack and Lillian Noonan, owned and ran the general store in Low. The store, where they also lived, played an integral role in the lives of the villagers and farmers from the Gatineau, selling everything from groceries to animal feed to men’s ties at Christmas. Her father had been fortunate to have completed high school and had served in the First World War where he had been exposed to the wider world. I would say that my grandfather was largely responsible for imbuing in my mother an interest and passion in politics and current events. Their house was filled with books and newspapers, as well as copies of Hansard (the official record of debates in our Canadian parliament). Everyone was expected to be quiet while our grandfather watched the nightly news on television. My mother inherited this same passion for current events and the importance and civic responsibility for staying abreast of what was transpiring close to home and around the world.

Mum attended a one room school house in the village and then as there was no high school at the time, her parents sent her to a Catholic boarding school in Ottawa. My mother eventually married on September 4th, 1954. Mum and Dad, Paul Lamarre, were married at St. Martin’s Church in Martindale and they held their wedding reception at Paugan’s Inn in Low, an elegant establishment at the time. They settled in Hull where they bought their first and only house.

As my mother had grown up in a home where following the news, whether in print form, radio, or television, was a daily part of life, it was not surprising that she would eventually secure a position with the Privy Council Office (PCO) Press Clipping Service on Parliament Hill, a job she loved! This was an era long before the Internet and online media. As head of the unit, she would ensure that her team would scour the leading national and international newspapers for articles of interest for the Prime Minister of the day and other government clients. She often followed her instinct and could sense a story brewing , usually found on the back pages, that could potentially be controversial. She was usually spot on! My mother was extremely dedicated to her job, taking the city bus early in the morning from Hull to Ottawa, to get to the office. It was not uncommon for Mum to work on a Saturday so that news clippings could be faxed when the PM was out of town. I remember hearing about the many wonderful Christmas parties my mother attended on Parliament Hill! It was certainly a different era!

Once retired, Mum continued to read the daily papers. At one point, up to five newspapers, three in English and two in French (for Dad), were delivered to the house. Of course television news at supper time and in the evening also became a part of the daily routine. There was no such thing as 24 hour news channels then! As the years passed and Mum’s mobility began to decline, the newspapers were delivered to the front door of the house where it was easier for her to retrieve, rather than the side door which had stairs. She sometimes used a long shoehorn to drag the papers closer to the front door in order to pick them up. I have many memories of running around town trying to find a copy of a newspaper if for some reason it was not delivered!

When Mum turned 92 she had to move to a seniors residence with assisted living as a result of a stroke. At this point, she was down to two newspapers from five. I made the arrangements for the papers to be delivered to her new address. The staff would usually bring them to her room with her morning coffee! As her eyesight wained, Mum mainly read the headlines but it still pleased her to receive the papers. Although she spent the last three weeks of her life in hospital I continued to bring her the Globe and Mail, her favourite newspaper, which she had received for the last 34 years!

There are numerous adjectives to describe my mother including funny, generous, opinionated, impatient, loving, observant, and hard working. Although she was passionate about politics, Mum also enjoyed reading articles on travel, arts and culture, real estate, and even obituaries of interesting and ordinary people. She would get upset reading stories describing injustice, famine, poverty, war and gun violence. She often clipped articles for me that she thought would be of interest. She often would say “ Make sure you read today’s column by ….”. !

Despite the often negative news coverage in the world, Mum continued to have a passion and positivity for life right till the end. Her love for her grandchildren and great-children kept up her spirits. Throughout her life, Mum loved the Gatineau hills, and all the villages such as Farrellton and Brennan’s Hill that lined the highway. She attended many church suppers in the Fall as well as garden parties at the Wakefield Hospital. I remember many Sunday drives on the old highway 11 going to visit our grandparents in Low. We continued to bring Mum for drives “up the Gatineau “ past Wakefield and up to Low, until her passing.

Just like the name of this newspaper, my mother started her life in Low, then moved to Hull where she resided most of her adult married life, and now in death, she is back to Low, where she is buried with Dad and her parents at Martindale Cemetery!

I miss her every day especially when I read the newspapers!

Julie Vergara

(daughter)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

News

A fiery 40th

Wakefield’s treasured wooden bridge – a village icon that had spanned the Gatineau River for 69 years – was a fiery inferno. Villagers were out on their docks or scattered along the riverbank, watching the structure crack and bust apart span by span – many of them, like Garnett and her partner, Norma Walmsley, aghast as the violent flames tore through the nearly 90 metres of wood in a matter of minutes. It was precisely 40 years ago from this edition’s publication date. 

Sports

Rapids sauce free hockey gear to aspiring Crosbys

Organized by the Paugan Falls Rapids hockey team and Next Shift Hockey, the “Gear up for glory” event on the Heritage Hall lawn in Low on July 6 will provide new or lightly used hockey equipment for free to youth aged three to 18.

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Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

Digital Subscription