Obituary of Gabrielle Monaghan
Monaghan, Gabrielle ("Gaby") Mary Pascal
Our beloved mother, Gabrielle Monaghan, passed peacefully away, surrounded by love, on Sunday July 8, 2018.
Gabrielle Martin was born in Kilnaleck, County Cavan, Ireland on April 24, 1933. After qualifying as a nurse, she emigrated to Canada in 1957 with a group of friends, including her future husband, Tony Monaghan, arriving with $150 dollars and a keen sense of adventure. She worked as a nurse in Hamilton and then Sudbury where she and Tony married in 1958 and began raising a family. Mom worked as a nurse and later nurse manager at Sudbury General Hospital. She loved learning and found time to obtain a Bachelor of Arts from Laurentian University while working and raising four children.
When her marriage ended in 1973, Mom and her four children moved to St John's, Newfoundland. After two years working at the St John's General Hospital, she was accepted into a program of health administration training, sponsored by the Newfoundland Government. When she graduated from the University of Toronto with a Masters of Health Administration (which included a one-year internship at Belleville General Hospital), the family returned to St. John's where Mom worked first at the General Hospital, then The Health Sciences Centre before becoming Director of Nursing at the Waterford Hospital. She subsequently moved to Thunder Bay, Ontario to become Director of Nursing at McKellar Hospital.
In 1981, Mom joined the Ontario Ministry of Health in Toronto, rising to the position of Director. Her personal papers are full of glowing letters from colleagues and junior employees she mentored over the years, thanking her for her dedication, hard work and support. Following her retirement, Mom continued to work as a health care consultant until the age of 72.
Mom embraced all that life had to offer. She knitted, crocheted, baked and was an insatiable and enthusiastic reader, always with a book or three on the go and a quote, an idea, or a recommendation for us. She taught herself to skate by pushing a chair around the ice rink she flooded on the lake behind our house in Sudbury. She learned to ski, both downhill and cross country. She was a reluctant swimmer, but loved being by the water whether at our family home on Lake Nepahwin in Sudbury, by the ocean in Newfoundland, Myrtle Beach (where she holidayed for many years with her sister Carmel and brother-in-law Seamus), Panama City Beach in Florida where she wintered for several years, and most of all at her beloved cottage on Mephisto Lake near Bancroft, Ontario. We all spent many happy summers at the cottage and Mom loved having her children and grandchildren there. She would sit on the deck with a cup of tea and the newspaper and revel in our company.
She was generous and loving and kind. If you admired something of hers, she would offer it to you immediately. She was greatly interested in politics and loved a debate. Her keen wit endured even during her recent hospitalization.
Although she remained on good terms with our father, Mom raised us on her own, in sometimes difficult circumstances. She was our defender, our champion, our biggest fan, and loved us unreservedly. Although she enjoyed the companionship of a few gentlemen over the years, for Mom, children and grandchildren came first always. She was the most brilliant mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother, reading to and playing with her grandchildren for hours. She lived in Toronto when Siobhan's children were young and moved to Kingston in time to enjoy Barry's children. She travelled to the United Kingdom twice yearly for extended periods to spend time with Damhnait's children and they visited her every year at the cottage. She was proud of her grandchildren's every accomplishment, big or small. They were all her favourite.
In later life Mom began writing, publishing three novels, some short stories, a book of poetry and two children's books. She always said she wrote for her own amusement, but people around the world enjoyed her words. In 2009, she moved to Kingston and became active in Writers' Rendezvous and Irish dancing at the Seniors' Centre and made many dear friends there and on Picard Place. She was always writing something: poetry, letters to the editor of The Toronto Star, journals, and cottage reminiscences. As recently as March of this year, on International Women's Day, The Incubator, an Irish journal, tweeted a link to her essay 'The Day I Became A Feminist". Mom was thrilled.
Mom's death has left a gaping hole in the lives of her children: Siobhan (Colin Arnold), Damhnait (Nigel Morris), Barry (Brenda Gluska) and Sean; and her seven grandchildren: Kyle, Michael and Kate Arnold; Ben and Rebecca Morris; and Emily and Sarah Monaghan. She will remain in their hearts forever. She is also survived by her brother, Barry (& Lois) Martin of St John's, NL; her sister, Dolores (& Tom) Skelly of Roanoke, Virginia and many nieces and nephews around the world. She was predeceased by her sisters, Eithne Martin, Ita Corrigan, Dymphna Power and Carmel McCarthy.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to the medical, nursing, and support staff on Connell 9 at Kingston General Hospital and at Providence Care. Family flowers only. If desired, donations in Mom's honour can be made to Diabetes Canada, University Hospital Kingston Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association or The Food Sharing Project, Kingston.
Visitation at James Reid Funeral Home, 900 John Counter Blvd, Kingston on Thursday July 12th from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Funeral to be held on Friday July 13th at 10:30 a.m. at St Joseph's Catholic Church, 392 Palace Road, Kingston. A reception will follow in the church hall.