Sylvie (Lemieux) Wipprecht
Sylvie was born in New Liskeard, Ontario, on March 14, 1957, the second of eight children for André and Simone (Loranger) Lemieux.
Before going to school, Sylvie would help milk the cows on the small dairy farm on Hillview Road (off Highway 65 in Hudson Township). Summers were spent helping her father bale hay and other farm work.
She attended École Secondaire Sainte-Marie in New Liskeard. After graduating she went directly to Teachers College and wound up teaching in a French school in Cambridge, Ontario. In the summer of 1979 she took a summer course at Laurentian University in Sudbury, where she met John Wipprecht. They were at the campus beach one day sunning, and she threw a handful of sand on him. That was July 1979, he proposed that October,
and they were married the following July 12, 1980. They took up residence in Waterloo, Ontario. Mélanie arrived in November 1983 and two weeks later the family moved to North Bay, Ontario. Three years later Nathalie came, and in 1990, Christie. Sylvie stayed home to raise them. Sylvie was an excellent mother. She spoke to the girls in French, and John spoke to them in English, and they grew up to be bilingual. After the girls were old enough she went back to teaching Kindergarden at École St. Paul where she was adored by her young students. The saddest day of her life was the first day of school in September 2006 when she couldn’t go back.
A few months after Sylvie turned 49, she noticed a lump in her breast while showering. When the diagnosis of breast cancer was made, we learned it had already spread to her lymph system and her liver. Cancer specialists grade the severity of cancer on a scale of 1 to 4 and Sylvie was Stage 4 (the worst). She immediately had a mastectomy, and shortly after we made the first of many trips to the cancer centre in Sudbury. I can’t describe our emotions when, during our first visit, the oncologist informed us that it was not curable, and that the best that could be done was to keep it in check for 3, maybe 5 years. Despite some positive results now and then, the medical evidence was increasingly negative. The cancer was aggressive and adapted to the hormone therapy and she was switched to chemotherapy. Catheters were implanted to enable the delivery of the chemo drugs without damaging the veins in her arm. She had a lung biopsy and scans of every sort. The chemo had all the usual side effects which became more difficult to endure as the type and dosage increased in strength to combat the mutating cancer. Finally the oncologist advised further treatment was of no use. Within two months her liver failed, and her last x-ray showed the cancer may also have spread to her lungs. She died at home on August 14, 2009, a little over three years after she was first diagnosed.
You might be asking yourself if all the treatment and chemotherapy was worthwhile. The answer is YES. We had Sylvie for three more good years. Sylvie believed in living. During 2008, while she had a catheter implanted in her superior vena cava and was undergoing chemotherapy, she and John took a trip by train to Jasper, by car through the Rockies and ship to Victoria. Although her activities were restricted, and she spent a lot of time sleeping on the love seat at home, she had a good life with the support of her faith, family and friends. She learned how to paint. She got to see her daughters graduate, from university, college and high school.
Sylvie was a wonderful wife, mother and friend. She always had a positive attitude and inspired all who knew her. Sylvie should be a shining example to all of us when we are faced with adversity. She was always optimistic and always looked on the bright side of things.
We miss her.