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IRENE LEA MARCHAND
June 18, 1934 – February 27, 2023
With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Irene Marchand on February 27, 2023 in Ste Anne Hospital at the age of 88 years. Irene was a proud founder of Lilac Resort.
The family wishes to express their heartfelt appreciation to the doctors, nurses and staff at the Steinbach and Ste Anne Hospitals for their care and compassion during Irene’s final months.
Irene’s memory will be forever cherished by her sons, Michel Manaigre (Gayleen) and Daniel Manaigre (Tammy); her grandchildren, Shannon Carten (Robert), Christelle Manaigre-Baggs (Michael), Vincent Manaigre, Lyndsay Loeb (Matt), Kayla Hurley (Braden) and Brandi Pilon (Alphonse); the Marchand family; nephews, nieces, numerous great-grandchildren and friends.
Irene was predeceased by her husband Raymond Marchand; former husband Denis Manaigre; parents Treffle and Prudence Dusablon; siblings, Heldege (Emelia), Thomas-Louis, Yvonne (Aime), Cecile, Simone (Marcel) and Denise; stepson Derald Marchand; stepson-in-law Garry Hammett.
Irene was born in Gladmar, Saskatchewan on June 18, 1934. In November 1934, the Great Depression forced her father to pull up stakes and move to Manitoba, where they settled on a farm located on a river lot along the Seine River, just east of the town of Ste Anne. Irene had fond memories of growing up on the farm, she would often reminisce about how much she loved the outdoors and the fun she had playing with her dog and climbing the many oak trees that shaded the farmyard. When Irene couldn’t be outside, she loved to read, and she had a passion for history and geography. These interests motivated Irene to attend Normal School shortly after finishing high school to become a teacher. Irene taught in rural Manitoba towns including Boggy Creek, Lorette, Ste Anne and Richer and it was while working in Lorette that she met her first husband and father of her children, Denis Manaigre.
Irene’s dream of building a tourist destination and accommodations all began in 1955 when the construction of the Trans Canada Hwy, running thru the very northern tip of her father’s property, made the concept of building a tourist motel & campground a possibility. The area at that time was lacking swimming-picnic facilities for locals, so it seemed logical that adding something like a spring-fed pool could be a source of revenue. In the fall of 1957, Irene and her father Treffle, wearing gumboots and armed with shovels, slogged through their swampy woods in search of an area where springs were evident. After an extensive search, they found their spot and marked out the area that needed to be excavated for a spring-fed pool. That first spring-fed pool is where the water park now stands.
On December 7, 1957, Irene, Denis & Treffle began building the Lilac Motel & Campground. After a busy and challenging winter and spring, they welcomed their first guests on July 4, 1958. On September 6 of the same year, Irene and Denis were married and they soon welcomed their two sons, Michel in 1959 and Daniel in 1961. Treffle passed away on December 24, 1960.
From 1965 to 1972 Irene and Denis went through some difficult and turbulent years and divorced in 1975. With hard work and sheer determination, Irene managed to operate her motel and campground as a single mother while still teaching. She was a pioneer for women in a time when women entrepreneurs were not afforded the same rights, privileges and courtesies as men. Despite all odds, she persevered and held on to her dreams.
In September 1974, at a wedding in Estevan Saskatchewan, Irene met the love of her life, Raymond Marchand and they married on August 14, 1976. Irene was well received by Ray’s children and loved her new Saskatchewan family; Derald (Michelle) Marchand, Randy (Sheila) Marchand, Margo (Garry) Hammett, Joyce (Jim) Halladay, Jocelyn (Stanley) Weinrauch, Michelle (Jack) Betke, and grandchildren; Amanda (Anson), Cory (Karen), Carrie (Brandon), Garry Jr. (Kerrie), Rodney (Rebecca), Nicole (Brad), Chris (Jenna), Janelle (Terry), Jessica, Janessa, Christa (Corey), Jennifer, Dallas, Steven, Josey (Brent), Erin (Jorden), and 34 great-grandchildren.
Together Ray and Irene created countless unforgettable memories for their merged family, whether at Lilac, in Estevan or at their winter residence in Mesa, Arizona; they provided their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with all of the love, hospitality and humor a family could ask for.
After a couple of years of a long-distance marriage, Ray retired from his employment and moved from Estevan to assist Irene full-time at the campground. From 1976 to 1996 Irene and Ray worked tirelessly and with the help of her son Dan and Yvette Vincent, the campground expanded and grew in popularity. In 1991 Irene and Ray semi-retired when the Lilac Motel & Campground was incorporated as Lilac Resort Ltd.
In the spring of 1996, Irene and Ray purchased their winter home in Mesa Arizona. During their 17 years of being snowbirds, Irene and Ray made many friends and enjoyed many nights of playing cards, Wizard and dominos. During the day, while Ray was busy with his pool leagues, Irene would go hiking on the many trails in the beautiful Arizona desert. Irene enjoyed hiking so much that she started a hiking club and twice took her group beyond the Mesa desert to hike the Grand Canyon.
Irene and Ray enjoyed many adventures together, traveling across Canada and the United States. They both shared a love of family history and thoroughly enjoyed a trip to Europe where they visited historical buildings, researched family history and visited with relatives they had never met before. Their last adventure together was a cruise of the Panama Canal.
After Ray’s passing, Irene continued to spend her winters in Mesa until the spring of 2020. In February 2018, Irene crossed off a bucket list vacation when she visited the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
Irene never fully retired and will be always remembered by her family, friends and the Lilac Resort community for her hard work ethic and her love of flowers and gardening. She was often seen in the resort trimming branches, spraying poison ivy and watering the many gardens on warm summer evenings. Even this fall, with all the pain she was enduring, she somehow managed to cover her perennials and prepare her gardens for the winter. She possessed a true pioneer’s spirit; a ready willingness to take risks and endure hardship in order to explore new places, try new things or found a thriving small business. As a mom, mémère, and grand-mémère she led by example and instilled in her family the belief that with hard work and dedication, we can achieve our goals and dreams.
Irene’s family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
In keeping with Irene’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a celebration of Irene’s life with friends and relatives will be held at 2:00 p.m., 28th of May 2023, at Lilac Resort in Ste Anne, Manitoba.
Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the charity of your choice or to honor Irene’s memory, please consider planting her favourite flower, a Lilac Shrub.
Miss Me But Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in the gloom filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long,
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we must all take
And each must go alone,
It’s part of the Master’s plan,
A step on the road to home.
So when you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your surrows in doing good deeds,
Miss me – but let me go.
Rest in Peace.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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