1918 – 2013

AUBURN — Yvette R. (Filion) Dubé, 94, of Cassell Street in Lewiston, died Sunday evening, Aug. 25, at the Androscoggin Hospice in Auburn. Nurse Linda and CNA Joan consoled her in French during her expected but sudden passing, before her family returned for their evening visit. Yvette lived on Cassell Street for 90 of her nearly 95 years, living in the same house since 1949. She suffered from increased blindness and Parkinson’s disease for nine years, and a ruptured spinal disc in early August precipitated her decline.

The last survivor of nine children, three of whom died in childhood, she was born in Lewiston on Nov. 22, 1918, the daughter of Fidèle P. Filion of Garthby, Quebec, Canada, and Modeste (Pinette) Filion of Frenchville. She attended local schools, both parochial and public. She lived through the Great Depression and remembered standing in food lines for bread and butter, and the saintly parish priest paying for her shoes, as he did for many other poor children so she could attend school.

She remembered how her father struggled to pay the 10 cents per week tuition for parochial school. She still had a vivid memory of being three or four and hiding under a bed at “le campe,” the old homestead, when “l’homme de la ville,” most likely the city coroner, came with a basket to pick up Ida, her baby sister, who had died during the night. She feared he would take her also.

Standing in food lines was followed by standing in employment lines, where she sometimes found work in shoe factories. With help from her oldest brother, Roméo, and the caring people in management, she finally landed a good job at Philips Elmet Corp., one mile from home. Several family members also worked there and the people at Philips were like extended family.

She made lifelong friends at Philips, where she met her husband, Normand. Their courtship was interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army in World War II. They married upon his return on Sept. 5, 1945, at L’Église Ste. Croix (Holy Cross Church). They honeymooned in Washington, D.C., travelling by train — her going-away dress covered in coal soot from the open windows. When they arrived at the hotel, there was “no room at the inn,” so a kind-hearted manager made room for the newlyweds.

Shortly after the birth of their second son, Normand died at the Boston VA Hospital following open-heart surgery. Normand’s three grandsons, Marc, Joseph and Daniel, all carry his name as a second middle name, in memory and thanks for the wonderful person that he was.

Widowed at 30, weeks prior to her fourth anniversary, Yvette and her boys were invited to move into the newly-built home of her brother, Roméo. Giving up her job at Philips, Yvette cared for her boys, mom, dad and ailing sister Cécile, and was the homemaker for her three brothers. She was the silent, wise and strong matriarch and caregiver, on whom everyone could rely for support and comfort without fail. She was the caregiver for both family and in-laws. She looked after her sister, Cécile, through her decades of chronic illness and her sister, Rose, in her last years. She had a special bond with her first grandchild and only granddaughter, Christine, whom she and Cécile babysat for a year when she was a baby.

Maurice and Anita moved back to Lewiston in 2004 to help support Yvette and her brother, George, in their later years. They built a house next to the Filion family home on adjoining land Yvette and Normand purchased to make their home in the late ’40s. George helped in the construction, as he had promised Normand he would do for the home Normand never had a chance to build. Anita had always been a surrogate daughter to Yvette, and looked after Yvette and George while Moe worked in Missouri and Massachusetts for more than three years. After George died in 2006, Anita was Yvette’s primary support and special caregiver through her last nine years of declining health; no daughter could have been more devoted. Anita’s cat, Élisabeth “Bettie,” a stray Maine Coon from Montréal, was also a caregiver, as Yvette’s constant daytime companion.

Yvette was the most caring and giving person one could ever meet. A true stoic, it was never about her and she rarely talked about herself, her health or her feelings. On the rare occasion that she related stories of her life, it was always as a matter-of-fact, without complaint, regret or pity; that’s the way it was and that was life at the time — glad it was over and thankful for the good of today. She was always willing to listen, provide common-sense advice without passing judgment, understanding and supportive, and loved without reservation. Even on her deathbed, her voice barely audible, she would ask about family and friends, thanked her caregivers and people for visiting and asked those standing vigil by her bed to sit down so they would not tire. Yvette lived the selfless and giving life in her everyday activities of a true Christian; Christ himself could not have asked for a better person.

Yvette was assisted in her final weeks by the by the exceptionally caring chaplains, medical staff and volunteers at St. Mary’s hospital and the Hospice House. Too many to name, but appreciated beyond what words can express by Yvette and her family, they will always be remembered for their professionalism, expertise, empathy, compassion and willingness to always go above and beyond the call of duty, taking care of the person entrusted to them in the best way possible. Their focus never deviated from the welfare of the patient, and that of her family. They are the angels among us who make extraordinary efforts to minister to others; people who choose to make a difference in our lives at the time of our most critical needs.

Yvette is survived by her son, Paul and is wife, Armande (Bégin) Dubé, of Collierville, Tenn.; Maurice “Moe” and his wife, Anita (Moulin) Dubé, of Lewiston and their sons, Joseph of Montréal and Daniel of Lewiston; very special granddaughter, Christine and her husband, Robert Medeiros, and their daughter, Morgan, of Warwick, R.I.; grandson, Marc and his wife, Nicole, and their son, Weston and daughter, Emerson, of Austin, Texas; special nephew, Roger and his wife, Joan Off, of Columbus, Ohio; and special niece and daily telephone friend, Mary (Off) Sauer, and her daughter, Melissa, of Kings Park, N.Y.

She is also survived by her late husband’s esteemed brother, Robert “Bob” Dubé, and his daughters, Irene-Yvette and Janette of Morongo Valley, Calif.; and her very special cousin and frequent visitor, Patricia (Filion) LaRose.

She also leaves behind her two childhood friends, May (Dionne) Beaucage, of Cassell Street and Lucille DeLorme of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; and friends, Janette Beaucage, Angie Boisvert and Nicola Mario Scarpelli of Lewiston; in addition to many very caring neighbors, Joan Duteau, Irène Boilard, Lorraine Dallaire and Nadette and Roger Landry.

Yvette was predeceased by two brothers and a sister, who died in childhood. She was also predeceased by her brothers, Roméo, George and René “Pete” Filion; and her sisters, Cécile Filion and Rose (Filion) Off.

It is the family’s very special wish that memorial contributions be made to the Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice House to allow them to carry on and expand their efforts to provide quality and compassionate assistance to people at their end of life, and if needed, an exceptional home away from home to spend their last days.

Online condolences and sharing of memories may be expressed at www.lynchbrothers.com.

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