Obituary for Leonore Grenier
On Tuesday, May 16, Leonore "Mem" Grenier of Manchester departed this world to be reunited with loved ones after 90 years of life marked by laughter, love, perseverance and an unending love of learning. She was predeceased by her husband of 51 years Joseph Grenier and son Michael Grenier, brother Roger Grenier, and infant granddaughter Lisa Marie Grenier.
Left to mourn her passing and celebrate her life are her seven surviving children and their families:
Dianne Grenier of Andover, Lorraine "Lorry" Young and husband March of Cromwell, Dolores MacLachlan of Largo, FL (Amy and Joe & Hillary), Tom Grenier and wife Mariann of Enfield (Kaitlin), Judith Melchreit and husband Charles of Wethersfield (Peter & Elise, Tess, Clara), Eileen Doughty and husband Randy of Manchester (Kevin & Emily Angell), Mary Wagner and husband John of Manchester (Erica), and daughter-in-law Joan Grenier of Vernon (Melissa and Jim). She also leaves her four beloved great granddaughters Maisie, Charlotte, Kensie MacLachlan and Lena Melchreit.
She was blessed to share over 90 years of life with her twin sister, Leonora "Sissy" Gaudreau of Seymour, Connecticut who survives her. They shared the special bond known only to twins, and Sissy was with Mem at both her first and her last breaths in this world. Her sister lovingly attended her in her last weeks, a constant presence at her bedside holding her hand. Nephews Art, Dan, and Lou Gaudreau and their families of Seymour, Connecticut join their mother in mourning.
Born in the family home on July 9, 1926 in Burlington, Vermont to a mother who was widowed during pregnancy, the twins were raised in a large extended family which included many cousins. Their mother's brother and sister stepped in to help their sister raise her girls and "Daddy Pete" and Aunt Tessie continued in these supportive roles for the next sixty years until the end of their lives.
In her teenage years the family moved to Hartford where she attended Hartford Public High School for two years, graduating in 1944. She married Joseph Benoit Grenier on June 1, 1946 and moved to Manchester CT to the tiny four room house where they would raise their large family and live for the rest of their lives.
After her youngest child entered school, Mem took computer programming night classes at the Computer Processing Institute. Upon completing the course, she went to work as a programmer at the University of Hartford where she quickly rose to a managerial position.
She later took a job at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Bloomfield as an IT manager. These were some of her happiest years. Although she loved her job, she retired in 1993 when Dad's health began to decline. Her retirement gift from her colleagues was a Gibson guitar which she taught herself to play.
Her post retirement years led to new adventures, including her favorite role which she cherished : being a full time Memé to her ten grandchildren. She loved having the house full and kids underfoot.
In retirement she fulfilled another lifelong desire to perform on stage. Along with a group of residents at Orford Village Commons, they organized the "The Antiques Roadshow" which they performed at local elderly housing facilities. Dressed as iconic country western singers, the group would lip sync to hit songs. Mem took on the role of Miss Minnie Pearl of the Grand Ole Opry. Dressed in Minnie's trademarked straw hat with the dangling price tag, Mem kept up a steady stream of corny jokes and stories as she introduced each act.
When her daughter and friends founded nonprofit Team Towanda Foundation in 2002, Mem became one of TTF's biggest supporters. She hand stitched quilts for their raffles and printed reams of tickets and signs for events. Hundreds of women came to know and love her as the adorable little lady who ran "Mabel's Label Table" at the Towanda FUNdraisers. Most had no idea that her real name wasn't "Mabel," but just a name picked because it rhymed with "Label".
The family would like to thank VITAS Hospice Care of Glastonbury and Abbi of Caring Hands of Vernon for the kindness they showed Mem in her final days. In accordance with Mem's wishes, in lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to the Orford Village Activity Fund, 370 West Center Street, Manchester 06040 or to Team Towanda Foundation, PO Box 290185, Wethersfield, CT 06129-0185. She was determined to go out in her own way: at home, happy and at peace surrounded by her loving family. She not only accomplished this final goal by any measure, the lessons she taught us in these last few weeks were her last great gift to us. She was a giver in life and she continued to give until her last breath.
Funeral service will be held on Friday, May 19th at 9:15 from the John F. Tierney Funeral Home 219 West Center St. Manchester with a Mass of Christian Burial to be held at 10:00 a.m. at the Church of the Assumption 29 Adams St. South, Manchester, followed by burial in St. James Cemetery, Manchester. Family and friend may call at the funeral home on Thursday from 4:00-8:00 p.m. For online condolences please visit www.tierneyfuneralhome.com.