Stanley Willot McParland was born May 10, 1925 in Ferris, Ontario, the son of Edward and Melissa (Sweetnam) McParland. He had five brothers and a sister and attended Tweedsmuir Public School and the NBC&VI. In 1943, Stan joined the Royal Canadian Navy, following in the footsteps of his two older brothers Orval and Cec who were also members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Although Orval had been killed in action in Dieppe in 1942 and Cec was still being held as a POW, Stan proudly enlisted and served his country from 1943-1946. When the war ended, he was honourably discharged and returned to North Bay, where he found temporary employment with the Ontario Northland Railway on their Dining Car. When the opportunity presented itself to sign on as a Fireman with the Canadian Pacific Railway on the old steam locomotives, Stan never hesitated and followed the same path into railroading chosen by many of the McParland men.
Marie-Hélène Thérèse (Taillefer) McParland was born July 9, 1920 in Widdifield, Ontario, the fourth child of thirteen born to Joseph and Parmélia (Lamothe) Taillefer. She attended Ecole St-Vincent-de-Paul before taking on the important role of helping her mother at home with the younger children. As her younger siblings grew older and more independent, Thérèse was able to venture out into the workforce. In the early years, she worked in the church rectory at the Pro Cathedral of the Assumption, then at the former St. Joseph’s Hospital before finding her passion working with the public at the Chicago Restaurant under her mentor, Ng Sing. An opportunity of a lifetime presented itself when she was offered employment on the ONR Dining Car. While working there, friends set her up on a blind date with a young man named Stan, who would later become her husband.
Stan and Theresa were married on June 19th, 1951 in North Bay. They soon started a family and, within a few years, had four daughters. Theresa became a very dedicated mother and homemaker while Stan continued to work toward becoming a Locomotive Engineer.
In December, 1954, the McParlands moved into a home built by Stan, with the help of Theresa’s brother Malcolm. The house at 219 Elmwood Avenue was just down the street from the Taillefer homestead. They remained there for the over 50 years before moving to their respective retirement/nursing home facilities in the early 2000s. This address was a special part of our lives and, therefore, was a unanimous choice for the number on the Pergola leaf.
In 1963, the year began with the birth of a fifth daughter. Later that year, they purchased a small cabin in Kipawa, Quebec, which became the family cottage and a place that held many very wonderful memories for the entire family.
Over the years, Stan was an active member the United Transportation Union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers Division 308 and held the positions of Secretary-Treasurer and Local Chairman. He was also the General Secretary-Treasurer for the Eastern and Atlantic Regions for the BLE. After a 42 year career with the CPR, Stan retired in 1988 and Theresa, who had returned to work after the children were older, also retired. They enjoyed traveling throughout the world with fellow veterans and spending time
at their winter home in Clearwater, Florida.
Sadly, Stan passed away on February 8, 2007 from the complications of Alzheimer’s disease. Theresa lived to see her 95th birthday celebrated in 2015 with her family by her side but lost her own battle with Alzheimer’s on January 29, 2016. May they rest in peace.
Stan and Theresa have touched our lives in so many ways. Their strong values, their commitment to family and work ethic have all contributed to making us the people we are today.
Dad was very brave, very strong and had a clear purpose and direction to his life. He was always upbeat and could be relied upon to provide assistance to anyone who “just asked”. When Stan said he was going to do something, you could always rely on him. He was “a man of his word” and just an all-around good guy. He would never let anyone down and always worked to maintain his good reputation.
Stan was a very devoted family man as well. Although he often got teased about being the only man in a house with six women, he loved his girls and would do anything for us. He beamed with pride whenever he was surrounded by “his girls” and was often an easy pushover when we asked him for anything.
Mom was strong and caring and taught us to stay true to our values. She always encouraged us to do our best and to let our conscience be our guide. It was always apparent that Mom also had a very strong sense of family. She was a devout catholic who always took her role as a daughter, sister, mother and grandmother very seriously. She would selflessly give of herself to allow others to have what she didn’t.
She hosted many holiday dinners, taking in anyone who wanted to attend. “The more the merrier” was her motto. At 75 years old, she once complained that carrying the very large microwave up and down the stairs was starting to get “a little hard” but never once said anything about the frozen laundry she took off the clothesline in the wintertime. She could easily outwork anyone, even those who were half her age.
Our parents shaped our personalities, our values and our commitment to work. We owe much of who we are and how we interact with and support our families and friends to their very strong parenting skills. We can only hope to have as positive an influence on the next generation as our Mom and Dad had on us.
Marlene Perreault, Sharon Robertson, Karen Murray, Dorothy McParland and Colleen Parker and families.