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Thursday March 8, 2018


(nee Maranger), O. C., G.O.Q.

1928 - 2018

Jacqueline Desmarais ('Jackie') - Passed away peacefully in the company of her four children, at Domaine Laforest, Sagard, in the region of Charlevoix, Québec, on March 3, 2018. She had a full and happy life of family, friends and service to the arts and the community in Canada and abroad.
Beloved wife of 60 years to the late Paul G. Desmarais; dearest mother to Paul Jr. (Hélène), André (France), Louise, and Sophie (Daniel); devoted grandmother to Paul III (Mary Dailey), Olivier (Adriana), Maximilien, Alexandre (Madeleine), Nicolas (Myriam), Philippe (Amanda), Sébastien (Alexandra), Jacqueline-Ariadne (Hadrien), Charles-Édouard and Chloé; and great-grandmother of Paul Gordon, Henry Tecumseh, William, Gaia, Théodore Alexandre, Olympia, Athena Louise, Alix Marie Hélène, Mason Hunter, James Christian, Amedeo, Nicolas Jean Jr. and Arthur Noël. She is survived by her sister, Yolande Sylvain; many nieces and nephews; and predeceased by her brother, Robert Maranger; and her sister, Lucille Rouleau.
A private family funeral is to be held at Sagard in the coming days, to be followed by a memorial service at a date to be announced.
Born in Sudbury, Ontario, on September 20, 1928, to Ernest and Albertine Thanasse Maranger, Jackie studied nursing at the University of Ottawa and practiced in Sudbury.
Married to Paul Desmarais in 1953, they shared a powerful love for each other, from their early courtship to Paul's passing away in 2013 with Jackie close at hand.
Jackie was supportive of Paul throughout his business career. In the early days of their first undertaking, together they counted coins from bus fares at their kitchen table. Later she was a vivacious and gracious hostess welcoming guests from around the world.
Her love of music began with her father Ernest Maranger. She was an accomplished jazz singer and at the age of 20 had the thrill of singing 'Sophisticated Lady' with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in Ottawa. She acquired a deep love for classical music and opera with her dear friend and mentor the late Pierre Béique, former Managing Director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, in whose honour she sponsored the Grand Orgue at Maison Symphonique de Montréal built in Québec by Casavant Frères.
Over the past 40 years, she has significantly contributed to the vitality of the arts through personal support of musicians, opera singers, symphonies and organizations such as the Opéra de Montréal and the Montréal Opera Guild, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Orchestre Métropolitain, Domaine Forget, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Concours musical international de Montréal, the Canadian Vocal Arts Institute, Jeunesses musicales Canada and the Festival d'opéra de Québec. She sponsored 'Live from the Metropolitan Opera' thereby making available live opera broadcasts in theaters across Canada. Jacqueline took a close interest in the career of many young artists, welcoming them into her home and giving them the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their talent.
Jacqueline believed in the importance of education, community development and health. She supported many community organizations including La rue des Femmes, Centraide du Grand Montréal, Fondation Jasmin Roy, the Université de Montréal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, which inaugurated in 2016 the Jacqueline Desmarais Pavilion in her honour.
She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 1998, a Chevalier of the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur in 2011, a Grande Officière of the Ordre National du Québec in 2011, made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013 and a Commander of the Ordre de Montréal in 2017. She was inducted into the Canadian Opera Hall of Fame in 1996. She received an honorary doctorate from the Université de Montréal in 2011.
She will be sorely missed by her loving family and her many friends, but forever in their hearts and memories.
The Desmarais family would like to thank all of Mme Desmarais' caregivers, in particular Dr. Jean-Luc Dupuis and Martine Richer, as well as Dr. Patrick Cossette, Dr. Jean Rouleau, Esther Desjarlais, Carole Drolet, Méliza Dupuis and Johanne Labbé for their excellent care and assistance.
In lieu of flowers, donations will be gratefully received in Jacqueline Desmarais' memory by La rue des Femmes, Jeunesses musicales Canada or a charity of your choice.

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