July 31, 1951 – Dec. 2, 2009
Heaven decided that a second-soprano was needed for Christmas and recruited Madonna on Dec. 2, 2009.
Madonna was born in New Waterford, Nova Scotia, the second of seven children to Henry and Margaret (Gillis) Howell. She is pre-deceased by her father Henry Howell.
She is survived by her husband Alvin; daughters Jeannine and Linda; mother Margaret (Peggy) Howell; sisters – Beverly Morrison, Yvonne Madore, Patricia Alisch, Jacqueline Clarke; and brothers Frank and Joe Howell.
Madonna attended Holy Angels High School in Sydney and graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in 1972 with a senior Diploma in Education. She taught at several schools in the Sydney area and married Alvin in 1975. The couple resided in Baie Verte, Newfoundland where she taught at St. Pius X Elementary School.
In 1978, they moved to Elliot Lake, Ontario, where both of their daughters, Jeannine Elize (1978) and Linda Marie (1981) were born and baptized at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. Madonna decided to become a stay-at-home mom and raise her daughters. Madonna enjoyed exploring Ontario with her family and took every opportunity to return to Cape Breton to nurture her children’s roots and cement bonds with their extended family.
When the family moved to Hampton, New Brunswick, in 1985, Madonna became an active member of St. Alphonsis Catholic Parish choir and excelled as a cantor. She was also very active in the CWL. This period of her life also saw her run a play school from her home for self-fulfillment and to help with the family’s finances. Many an evening she was seen on one of her regular strolls along the Kennebacasis River Road, drinking in the beauty of the Hampton Marsh and greeting friends along the way.
In the late 1990’s Madonna began to feel the effects of the Alzheimer’s disease which would eventually claim her. In March 2001 she and Alvin moved to Fort MacMurray, Alberta, where the malady eventually progressed and necessitated her placement in continuing care at the Northern Lights Regional Health Center. Despite the continuing onset of Alzheimer’s, she enjoyed day trips exploring Alberta, and a holiday to Victoria, B.C., which completed her desire to see both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada.
Madonna never lost her love of music and could be heard at first singing familiar songs, then listening and enjoying local artists and church groups perform at the Center.
To all those who provided moral and professional support, the family offers our sincere thanks. To the care-giving staff at the Northern Lights Center, we cannot say enough. The respect with which she was treated as well as the affection afforded her was top-notch. Many times a care-giver would enter her room and terms such as “m’love” or “dearie” or “darlin” would be freely used.
Visitation for the late Madonna Gallant will be held at the Pier Community Funeral Home, 1092 Victoria Road (entrance on Church St.) on Friday, Dec. 11, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Funeral mass will be celebrated at Holy Redeemer Church at 11a.m. on Saturday Dec. 12 with Fr. Errol MacDonald officiating with reception to follow at the Pier Community Funeral Home. Interment will take place in Resurrection Cemetery, Sydney Forks.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Alberta & Northwest Territories chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, The Alzheimer’s Association of Canada, Northern Lights Regional Health Center Foundation, Continuing Care Department or to charity of your choice.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of the Pier Community Funeral Home.