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"GIN" 2002 Obituary


GINGRAS o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2002-12-26 published
Martha Maureen " Mardi" FLEMING/FLEMMING
By Louise FLEMING/FLEMMING Thursday, December 26, 2002, Page A24
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, teacher. Born June 18, 1956 in Toronto. Died July 21, in Frontenac Park, of a heart problem, aged 46.
Any of her six brothers and sisters could write lovingly, honestly, and humorously about Mardi, their sweet, beautiful, generous sister.
She was on a canoe-camping long weekend with the love of her life, Marcel GINGRAS, her best friend Judy BEDELL, and Judy's partner Tony, when she died suddenly, in the early afternoon of what she had called "another perfect day."
The last photograph of her captures her peering intently through binoculars at a rare sighting of a rat snake.
The sixth of seven children born to Paul and Betty FLEMING/FLEMMING, Mardi was one of the three "little girls" and grew up in close quarters with Jean and Lee, with whom she had a deep and lifelong connection.
Her big brothers, Peter and Chris, loved sports and on occasion were able to press her into participating, sometimes with comic results.
Mardi preferred less athletic activities: the bedroom of her big sisters Louise and Loretta offered more interesting things to try out, such as makeup, tweezers and a magnifying mirror. She loved pretty dresses and cute boys. Her eyes were big and blue and could roll 180 degrees in a flash.
Her social conscience and compassionate nature developed from a young age and included raising money for those less fortunate by organizing a neighbourhood fair -- and working one summer with severely disabled children. Throughout her life, she was a good listener who helped others make peace.
Mardi's spirit of adventure led her to participate in Canada World Youth, including four months in Tunisia, where she first got to know Marcel. After travelling and working in Canada and Europe, she settled in Nova Scotia with Marcel to begin their life together.
Mardi loved the East Coast: the people, the landscape, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she learned to weave. Once Mardi and Marcel decided to have children, they moved to Ottawa so that they could be close to Mardi's family.
On March 28, 1982 Stefan took a mere three hours to enter the world; Lauren, who took a little longer, was born at home, with the help of a midwife, on November 12, 1985. Mardi adored her kids and her life was deeply enriched by being their mother. She stayed at home with them when they were young, all the while studying part-time to get her B.A.
She went on to get her B.Ed, and after more than enough supply teaching, was hired at Connaught Public School im Ottawa. She loved her Grade 2 and 3 students, and put heart and soul into her work.
She brought music and art into the school and was always looking for ways to be a better teacher.
With boundless enthusiasm and energy, she embraced all that life offered. Her curious and exploring nature included gardening, reading, writing poetry and lifelong learning. She exercised with determination so she could fully enjoy life. Says youngest sister Lee, "she was an everyday hero: a remarkable woman to all who knew her."
Last Christmas, with only a little encouragement, she performed a spontaneous belly dance, showing the next generation that she still had her own impressive moves. In the words of her mother, "she made the world a better place and left a strong and sure mark on many."
Louise FLEMING/FLEMMING is Mardi's oldest sister.

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