Therese Yvette Blais

Therese Yvette Blais

March 10, 1930 - December 15, 2012
Laguna Woods California

Therese Yvette Blais

March 10, 1930 - December 15, 2012
Laguna Woods California


Therese Yvette Blais, age 82, died peacefully at the home she shared with her loving husband of 61 years, Leon Blais in Laguna Woods, CA, on December 15. Born March 10, 1930 in Manchester, NH, Therese was the sixth child of Rosa (Bourque) Pinard and Napoleon Pinard.

Upon graduating from St. Anthony’s High School, she worked at L’Avenir National newspaper where she met Leon, whom she married in 1951. They raised 10 children in Manchester before moving the family to Garden Grove CA in 1973. Upon retirement as the office administrator of St Columban’s Parish, she and Leon settled into an active retirement in Laguna Woods.

A life-long devout Catholic, Therese was active in her church, forming close friendships with other parishioners, Marriage Encounter participants and in a woman’s prayer group. Her travels in later years included such devotional sites as Medugorje, Fatima, Lourdes and the Holy Land.

Therese thrived in her years at Laguna Woods Village, taking advantage of exercise opportunities and handicrafts. She mastered crochet and completed several challenging multi-stitch “heirloom” blankets, as well as countless hand-made gifts for her children, grandchildren, other family and friends. She developed a hobby of creating handmade greeting cards and gift bags by using stamp pads, recycled materials, ribbons and patiently writing each card and address in beautiful calligraphy all her own. Hundreds of people have been the delighted recipient of thousands of creations, not only at Christmas and birthdays, but also at Easter, Thanksgiving, and many other occasions. She was thoughtful of people in hospitals and nursing homes, and would deliver cards to these strangers as well.

Her grandchildren hold fond memories of special times and gifts: ping pong games, beach outings, climbing their special cypress tree at Laguna Beach, hand crafted toys and Christmas tree ornaments with unique hand-sewn storage bags. Some of them benefitted from her drilling of the multiplication tables and other educational “fun” times. She encouraged her children’s and grandchildren’s musical pursuits and development of other talents, attending recitals and other performances both private and public. Best of all, we remember how she loved to laugh and to get us all laughing together until it seemed we would never stop.

In addition to Leon, Therese is survived by all ten children, sons Donald, Armand, George, Arthur, Roger, Frank and David, daughters Diane, Claudette and Estelle, along with their spouses, partners, twenty-two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She leaves a surviving sister, Rose Anna Harrington, three brothers, Fernando, Marcel and Louis Pinard, all of the Manchester NH area, sister-in-laws: Alice Blais Delisle of Moreno Valley, CA, Helen Pinard of Tavares, FL, and Rita Pinard of Manchester. She is preceded in death by sisters Georgette Pelletier and Rita Forcier, brothers Andre, Antoine and Paul Pinard, grandchild Justine Blais.

O’Connor Mortuary is handling arrangements to include:
Visiting 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Friday Dec. 21 at: Laguna Hills Chapel 25301 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Hills, CA 92653
Vigil and Rosary 7:00PM Friday at St Nicholas Catholic Church, 24252 El Toro Rd, Laguna Woods, CA 92637
Mass of Remembrance 10:30 AM, Saturday Dec 22 also at St Nicholas.
Graveside services will be held with the family.

Donations in memory of Therese Blais may be made to
Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood
700 Bridge Street
Manchester, New Hampshire 03104-5495
Attn: Sister Mary Joseph


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35 responses to Therese Yvette Blais

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  1. Lit a candle in memory of Therese Y. Blais

  2. donald blais says:

    eulogy continued…Therese and Leon lived their marriage vows every single day of those 61 plus years: the love, devotion, loyalty, all without question. They certainly were tested by the “bad times” and rejoiced in the good. Over the years, and certainly most recently, they sustained each other in sickness, and she was always praying for and believing in a return to good health. Her prayers were often answered and the fact that we are here today instead of anytime in the last 4 years or so, is a testament to her faith, strength and determination, not just for herself, but for Leon as well.

    Their strength as couple is also evidenced by the major life decisions they made together, especially the moves from NH to California. The first time in 1953, was to join Leon’s parents and sisters and a brother who had earlier moved to California. Some months later, Therese and Leon came to the conclusion that they needed to raise their family in NH, so Leon learned to drive a car, bought a 1938 Buick [ad lib: right year? Oh, no, Dad is saying “37 (sic- turns out it was a Chevy)], and we set out across the country in the spring of 1954, long before the interstate highway system was built. You can imagine what an adventure that was” especially when you consider that my sister Claudette was born in July of that year.
    Back in Manchester, they spent the next 19 or 20 years raising their family of 3 daughters and 7 sons. Any of you mothers here today know well the joys and pains of bringing even one child into this world. Therese managed 10 single births in less than 13 years. One way she managed to get through this and the exhaustion of raising so many children was to take advantage of the long post-partum hospitals stays that were possible in those days. Until nearly a decade later when our camping trips started, these few days in hospital were her only breaks from the children, other than the newborn. Some vacation! But thank you, Mom.

    She had tremendous strength, love and determination. She taught us her values, encouraged our studies and our development of any musical or other talent. Perhaps because of her tough standards, we are all succeeding in our life journeys and she came to feel joy and pride in her children and their families.
    In 1973, Therese and Leon once again relocated the family to Southern California. It was a move that now seemed the right choice at the right time. It opened up new opportunities to all of us, and eventually, she thrived in their version of a California lifestyle.
    The separation from the Pinard family was still difficult, but Therese seemed to console herself with recounting fond memories such as, her brothers escorting her on the long walks to and from the city bus stop, memories of all the holiday gatherings, family picnics and camping trips. She and Leon both missed the Saturday night card games that were once the only entertainment that young couples with children could afford, but now their focus would shift to their own growing family in California.
    After many years of nurturing and finding creative outlets mostly through her children, Therese started to blossom at age fifty. She often said “I broke out of my shell”. She resumed a career as a secretary and office administrator at St Columban’s Church in Garden Grove and would proudly recount every new skill learned or mastered. Last night Father Emond kindly shared examples of her self-effacing dedication to the work and how she sincerely tried to help and advise anyone coming to the office door , and earlier, Fr. George gave other examples
    Upon retirement and the move to Laguna Woods, Therese took advantage the craft making classes offered. She used to feel intimidated by the seeming ease that her sisters could crochet and knit. Now she went all out, completing complex multi-patterned blankets that challenged even the crochet teacher’s skills. You may see a wonderful photo of one of those blankets in the church reception hall. She also started sewing again – making all kinds of gifts for her family.
    Therese was extremely resourc

  3. donald blais says:

    Eulogy delivered at Mass of Remembrance, 12/22/12, by Donald Blais:

    1. May your hearts be filled with joy
    2. Better to be laughing than crying.
    3. Oh shoots! That was supposed to be another strike.

    These are 3 phrases that Therese Blais could have said or written on any given day.

    Therese Yvette Pinard Blais, or Terry, Theresa, Mom, GranMa or Memere, would send us wishes of joy in the hundreds of personalized greeting cards she created and lovingly wrote over the years.

    You only have to look at any photo of her and you’ll see and remember the wide, happy smile, or a moment where she was caught up laughing and getting everyone to laugh with her.

    The third expression shows her competitive spirit and how she loved games, whether ping-pong or cards, scrabble, or in recent years, the Wii fit games such as bowling. She and Leon spent many any evening in loving competition at the virtual bowling alley.

    Last night we gathered together with heavy hearts. Today, let us remember Therese’s wish that our hearts be filled with joy.
    Her earthly journey lasted a few months short of her 83rd birthday, and we can all feel joy to have had some part of that journey.

    As with many of us in life, joy did not always come easily to Therese. But she was determined to find ways to lighten the burdens of life, and to find joy in simple pleasures. These could be a rainbow, a walk at the beach, a bit of sunlight coming through stained glass, or Italian ice cream, gelato that somehow, just happened to be sold exactly where she and Leon had to walk by every time they went to Laguna Beach.

    As we heard last night and from Fr George today, Therese found joy and consolation in her faith, prayers and religious devotions. She had great joy and pride in the many family meals she prepared and in her carefully laid out table settings with ironed napkins and table clothes, and of course, there was always a lit candle or two.
    She created a new family tradition by putting names in a prayer jar and having everyone select a name at random. We read out the names and all of these people are in included in the evening’s pre-meal grace.
    On special occasions, Mom would have a sing a family blessing set to the tune of Edelweiss from the Sound Of Music. I found this particularly painful because in spite of the musical talent in the family, until Diana joined us and the next generation came along, none of us could carry a tune

    Here’s her remarkable story. Born into a French Canadian family in Manchester NH, Therese was raised with survival skills from the Depression Era, a strong work ethic and religious faith. This was a time when people learned to “make do” with what they had, to work hard, to sacrifice and to help each other. There was no time to feel sorry for yourself – you just had to keep at it and pray for better times.

    Therese used to say she was very shy and often felt a little inferior to the school peers she considered “smarter” or more at ease in social situations. Yet she was determined to make her way in the world. After 8th grade graduation from Ste Therese’s parochial school, she challenged her father’s wishes regarding which high school, if any, to attend. This was no small effort; given not only her shyness, but also the fact that Napoleon Pinard seemed to live up to his name as he ruled the household with little room for discussion.

    Therese prevailed and graduated from St. Anthony’s High School. It was a small class of 15 or so, many of whom became lifelong friends and celebrated their 60th class reunion together just a few years ago. Although she had to work hard to master the curriculum, Therese was very disciplined and left school with the skills for office work and with more self-confidence. She was soon hired at the Canadian-American newspaper L’Avenir National. This is where she met Leon. While they were dating, one day a prophetic stranger said to them “hand in hand they walk together, may their love live forever”. They married about two years later.

    Therese and Leon lived their marriage vows every single day of those 61 p

  4. Donald Blais says:

    Thank You to Sutter Delta IT department “family”.

  5. donald blais says:

    eulogy part 3 of 3:

    Therese was extremely resourceful. She soon found that she could get fabric samples or wallpaper sample books, just for the asking. Using these and other simple elements such as ribbons and her trusty sewing machine, she created countless gift bags, storage bags, and other items we will long cherish.

    Her card making must be legendary by now. Over the years, she tried and mastered various techniques and materials. As with the office computer skills, Therese was just thrilled with joy whenever she did something new that she never expected she could do.

    A few years ago, I spoke at her sister Rita’s funeral. My Aunt Rita was the real seamstress of the family and for her I used the metaphor that each stitch in a garment was a prayer and an expression of love. This is also true for Therese: every card was an expression of her love and of her desire to spread a little joy.
    [Ad lib: Pause as cell phone rings. Donald looked toward area where sound was coming from turned back to congregation and said: and she didn’t particularly like cell phones either].
    There is one more habit, or quality I would like to describe. Therese was extremely well organized. She would write lists, not only for shopping, as many of us do, but also for other tasks she would set out to accomplish. She kept notes describing the effort involved in something she did, perhaps so that she could plan out how much time she would need for the next project.

    She was painstaking in the detail she took with every card. Her last set of Christmas cards are now in the mail, having been signed for her by Leon. Therese had the cards organized in packets, each with a little colored post- it reading something to the effect of: “noon to 2pm 10 cards, [choke up and paused] 2:15 to 4pm 10 more cards.” Was this an organizing technique? a challenge or self-motivation? You decide.

    She sometimes seemed obsessed with her note taking, yet I cherish reading her Wii fit games journal. As recently as October 17, she recorded that her balance and agility test that day, resulted in a score equivalent to a 54 year old woman’s. That certainly put a smile on her face and brought her joy.

    May our hearts be filled with joy, today and every day, in memory of Therese Blais.

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