Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some like Carman Lalonde stay for awhile and leave deep footprints, and when they leave us we are never the same.
A cloud of sadness now hangs over his family and those who knew him. Grief comes in like waves and sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it’s not–all we can ever learn to do is swim. We have to hold on to the love and not the loss, and that is what Carman Lalonde was all about. He shared his love for the world with his kindness, laughter and stories with all of us.
I had the honour of first meeting Carman and his late wife Irene when his granddaughter Stephanie came into my life and joined our family. Carman and I immediately clicked as we both shared a love of Lanark County history. Most knew that Carman was a reluctant historian, and all the cajoling in the world would not give me a story of the humble man I most wanted to write about. One day I even offered him the cover of my book Tilting the Kilt because as I told him, if my stories were not enough to sell the book, his legs in a kilt might be.
Everyone knows about his love for his cats and his garden, but he also had a passion for his photo collection. He knew that one of my hobbies was trying to save old photos from the hands of dealers at auctions, and the last group of photos I bought we shared almost on a bi-weekly basis. When I found and purchased the Millie Aitkenhead collection and showed it to him he began to smile and laugh. I said,
“What’s so funny Carman?”
He said with a sly grin on his face, “I know that woman very well- she dumped me for one of the Woodcocks!”
My mouth dropped at his forthcoming as I could not imagine anyone dumping Carman Lalonde. But Carman was honest and lived his life like Mark Twain. If you always tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.
Carman was always the man to go to at Eades Hardware in Carleton Place and he went above and beyond what was expected of him. He would deliver things past store hours and even plant your tree or plants if need be. Word was if you didn’t have a shovel he would go home and get his. That was just who he was.
Carman began to really fail last week and as I kissed him on the forehead Friday I knew deep in my heart it would not be long. I sat in my car after the visit and cried, but then I smiled and remembered the day his daughter Heather got married– Carman and I sat together and talked away most of the afternoon.
Did we talk abut the beautiful bride and his lovely granddaughters who were bridesmaids?
Instead of smiling at the guests and talking about the beauty of the day we talked about Clyde Hall in the village of Lanark all afternoon. That was because we were sitting inches away from the front doorway of that very same building. I will remember our conversation forever and cherish every second. I was honoured to be able to listen to him, just like the Lanark County Geneological Society and other local historical groups have been through the years.
Now we mourn the loss of a man who cannot ever be replaced. No more will his family and friends see his smile and hear his loving words. No longer will Middleville enjoy his visits, and no longer will I enjoy his conversation.
Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget. This week I lost a friend and a family lost their beloved Grandfather and father. My heart is breaking and all I want to do today through my tears is to go visit Carman, see his smile, place some local newspapers on his bed and say
Hello– How Are you?….
And if Carman would see the sadness I have now he would shake his head, and say quite emphatically,
Six Degrees of Separation — Carman Lalonde and Marie Olivier Sylvestre
I Live On
Don’t cry for me in sadness; don’t weep for me in sorrow,
For I will be beside you, as sure as comes tomorrow.
My body has gone but my spirit lives on, as does my love for you.
Just as in life. I’ll watch over you, I always will be true.
My blood lives on in my children, how I’ve watched them grow up with pride.
I’ll live on within them, always by their side.
I know my jokes weren’t always funny and jobs weren’t always done.
Just try and always remember the good times, the days when we had fun.
Reach out if you need me, for I will always be near.
Just talk to me, as if I am there, I promise I will hear.
For I’ll live on, with in your mind, we’ll never be apart,
As long as you keep my memory, deep within your heart.
So lift up your hearts, don’t be sad, my spirit hasn’t gone.
While your still there, so am I, I really will live on
Carman Lalonde–Obituary- Alan Barker Funeral Home
(Died May 1, 2016)
Peacefully in hospital, Carleton Place, surrounded by his loving family, on Sunday, May 1, 2016, in his 90th year.
Dearly loved and devoted husband and best friend of the late Irene Isobel Lalonde (nee Blackburn). Much loved and loving dad of Heather (Carlos Grimm) and Ian (Jody Drew). Adored “Grampy” of Stephanie (Perry) Seccaspina and Hannah Southwell. Cherished “Great-Grampy” of Sophia. Predeceased by sisters Kaye McLLravey and Ruby Magahey and brothers Boyd, Harvey, Clarence, Ernie and Stewart. Survived by his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Raymond and Ruby Blackburn. Loved by many nieces and nephews. Carman will be sadly missed by Joyce Tennant.
Carman loved life, his family, the great outdoors and having good times with family and friends. He had a warm and compassionate disposition, always respectful of others’ feelings and opinions and was a totally devoted husband, dad, grandpa, brother and friend.
Friends may visit the family at the Alan R Barker Funeral Home 19 McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place on Thursday, May 5, 2016 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Funeral service will be held in the chapel on Friday at 11 a.m. Interment at Greenwood Cemetery, Middleville.
Donations to the Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital Foundation would be appreciated.
A heartfelt thank you to the Staff, Doctors and wonderful Nurses for their outstanding care and compassion given to Carman.
Jayne Munro-Ouimet– Linda, your words are a beautiful tribute to one of the kindest gentleman I ever met. He sure did have a liken for Lanark County history and didn’t mind sharing a few stories with me. Those I will not forget, nor will I forget his encouraging me to record my family history- You’ll need 20 Volumes or more he said with a chuckle. Your Munro’s are in every corner of this county!
He was right and he will be missed. Look up! there’s a new star shining brightly tonight. My condolences, Jayne Munro- Ouimet President of the Lanark County Genealogical Society
Carman was one of the finest gentlemen of Carleton Place. I am saddened to hear of his passing.
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This goes up tonight–you have a preview:). I might have to say this aloud and wondering how I am going to do this through my tears.
Well said Linda. Carman was a unique person and a true gentleman.
and we will all miss him greatly
Carman was my neighbour for nearly all my life. I can’t say enough wonderful things about him. How caring and kind and thoughtful he was. Thank you for writing this Linda.
Shan– he was one in a million.. one in a million..:(
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