LORETTA MARIANNE FONSO
June 25th 1949 - March 16th 2021
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that the family of Loretta Fonso (nee Lovis) announce the sudden passing on Tuesday March 16th, 2021 at the age of 71.
Loretta was a woman of great presence in any room she entered. She was beautiful, wise, strong and yet gentle. She was most fulfilled spending time with her family and friends, hosting weekly suppers, watching her grandchildren and laughing with her siblings. She enjoyed date nights with her “main man,” playing cards, dancing, walking, and contributing her efforts to catholic education.
Loretta was the oldest of 6 siblings, born of Romeo and Lelia Lovis on June 25th, 1949. Being raised in the east end provided a unique family experience, one she spoke of quite fondly, watching her grandmother chase down the chickens in the backyard. Growing up with 3 sisters and 2 brothers, there were so many laughs, ‘choking sessions’ with her sisters, and drama that comes with the sharing of one bedroom with all the girls. They enjoyed cramming into the Pontiac for a family trip to B.C., no seat belts, lunch on side of the road, and a loads of laughter and memories. “I don’t know how my parents did it,” she would constantly say when telling the story.
At the tender age of 18, Loretta began her teaching career, barely being older than the students she taught. Because of her youthful appearance teaching kids her age, she was placed in a position where she said, “I had to be extra strict in order to deserve any respect from my students.” As her career moved along, she continued to upgrade her education for greater opportunities in the classroom, also contributing an immense amount of time to her students with extracurricular activities like volleyball, cheerleading, and staff advisor for student council.
At age 27, Loretta paused her teaching career to dedicate time to raise her family. When mentoring younger teachers she would talk about how grateful she was that she took that time with her young kids, as ‘you never get that time back and it goes by so fast.’ Leanne and Steven were blessed with a dedicated and devoted mother. She would stop at nothing to ensure their safety, well-being, and that their lives were filled with values that reflected both independence and autonomy, while living from the heart with care, compassion, and thoughtfulness of others. Both children ended up in the healthcare field in leadership roles with an emphasis on helping others improve their lives.
After an incredible career in teaching, volunteering, and serving on various boards and committees, Loretta retired from teaching in 2003, ending her professional career at her beloved St. Patrick’s High School. From that point, the teaching and contribution expanded deeper into family in the form of three beautiful grandchildren, new daughter in-law Lea, son-in-law Sylvain and his daughter Jessica. She was also able to dedicate more quality time to her mother, and discovering new ways of connecting and enjoying time with her sisters and brothers.
Her grandchildren were the absolute apples of her eyes, where she provided so much love, adventurous meals, trips to Jamaica and Florida, little getaways, introducing them to theatre, and cooking, bringing them to the family camp, and providing them with an overall sense of safety, love, and always feeling welcomed.
In the winter months, she was able to find a new home and ‘happy place’ in Progreso, Mexico. She absolutely loved soaking up the sounds of the ocean which was so relaxing to her. She immersed herself in the culture, language, food and new social life. Her and Steve spent time enjoying romantic beach walks, exploring restaurants, and daily socializing at the pool with their friends. In the summer on Lake Superior, Loretta created the Sunday ‘happy hour’ where no invitation was needed and where she could enjoy food, drinks and laughter with family and friends.
Reflecting on her past and recent involvement in the community, she was past president of OECTA Secondary, and later served as the Board Trustee Vice Chair for the Thunder Bay District Catholic School Board, following in her father’s footsteps and facing her biggest fear of running in an election. She was also a devoted member of the Catholic Women’s League and past president of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Survived by her children Leanne (Sylvain), Steven (Lea), life partner Steve Pielka, grandchildren Maiah, Logan, Hannah Fonso, Jessica Galarneau, mother Lelia Lovis, sisters Donna (Rob) Nickerson, Elaine Graydon (Bruce Slater), Annette (Joe) Raynak, and brother Larry (Teri) Lovis. Many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and colleagues. Loretta is pre-deceased by her father Romeo Lovis and her brother Gerard Lovis.
To our new angel, we all want to dearly thank you for all you have done for us and for the sacrifices you have made to make our lives better. You have shown us a way of being in the world that we will forever remember, work to emulate, and use to navigate our lives moving forward.
Cremation has taken place and a Private Service will be held at St. Dominic’s Church. Should friends wish to view a live stream of the service please go to the Blake Funeral Chapel Facebook page (www.facebook.com/BlakeFuneralChapel) on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 11:00 am.
Should friends desire and in lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Loretta Fonso Memorial Fund (www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/3753) c/o The Thunder Bay District Catholic School Board would be appreciated.