When Nancy and I were on our way home from Yosemite we got a call from my father that his older sister Alfreda Theresa Allain Ladroga died. I had to ask him if I had heard it right because she was not the person I expected to be the one to die. My father is the youngest of seven children: Jeanne, Ed, Joe, Freda, Norman, Andre, and Donald (my father). Andre was always known as “Tonto” and I always heard him referred to as “Uncle Tonto.” He died in a drowning accident in 1964 and I’m too young to remember him. My father is 77 and his siblings are all in their 80s. I’ve known for a while that in the next few years I’ll be getting some calls with this news, but this call was a surprise. At 83 she was one of the younger ones and appeared to be in good health. On the other hand I found that the last time she had seen a doctor was when my cousin Rick was born in 1960.
As I understand it she was talking about abdominal pain and my cousin John noticed that she appeared weak. Last week he finally convinced her to go to the hospital. When she got there they noticed her liver enzymes were off and further tests showed she had advanced colon cancer that had spread to her kidneys and liver. In a few days she was gone. My theory is that she had known for a while she was sick and chose not to have it treated. I respect that as she was in her 80s and probably didn’t look forward to facing chemotherapy and/or radiation for the rest of her life.
In any case I will miss her. Earlier in my life Gardner, Massachusetts was an important part of my life as were my father’s siblings. A few times I visited Gardner in college I stayed with her since she had the room and she was very kind to me. She had also been important to my father as she could give him information on what was going on with his siblings (this may not make much sense unless you’re French and understand that communication is not our strong suit).
Here is her obit in the Gardner News:
GARDNER — Alfreda Therese “Freda” (Allain) Ladroga, 83, of 61 Lake Street, Gardner, died Friday, January 23rd in UMASS-Memorial Medical Center, 55 Lake Ave N., Worcester, surrounded by her family, following a brief illness.
Born in Gardner on March 18, 1925, she was the daughter of the late Calixte and Emma (LeBlanc) Allain.
Alfreda graduated from Gardner High School with the Class of 1943.
She was a Personal Care Attendant, employed by Worcester State Hospital, Worcester for several years, retiring in 1985. She was previously employed by Rutland State Hospital, Rutland and Gardner State Hospital, Gardner.
Alfreda was a member of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, Gardner.
She enjoyed playing scrabble, crocheting and doing crossword puzzles “in ink”. Alfreda loved to cook and was generous with her special recipes. She most enjoyed her family, friends and church.
Alfreda was predeceased by her husband of 53 years, Zigmond Ladroga, who died in 2001.
She leaves two sons, John A. Ladroga and his companion Renee Haley of Phillipston and Richard K. Ladroga and his wife Tracy of Athol; one daughter, Kathleen A. Gallant and her husband Laurie of Gardner; four brothers, Edward Allain and his wife Eva of Gardner, Norman Allain and his wife Lempi of Gardner, Joseph Allain of Gardner and Donald Allain and his wife Claire of Woodbridge, VA; one sister, Jeanne Hetnik of Otter River; ten grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; several nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was predeceased by a son, John Henry Ladroga and by one brother, Andre Allain.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, January 28th from the Boucher Funeral Home, Inc., 110 Nichols Street, Gardner with a Mass at 10:00 a.m. in Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Church, 135 Nichols Street, Gardner. Burial will be in Notre Dame Cemetery, Gardner, at a later date.
Calling hours in the funeral home are Tuesday, January 27th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, January 28th from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of the Holy Rosary School, 135 Nichols Street, Gardner, MA 01440.
Rest in peace, Aunt Freda. I’m sorry I’ll miss your sendoff.