Evan here… It’s with great sadness that we are letting you know that our beloved Doreen (Deen to us) passed away on Saturday. From day one of our business she was a fixture in our kitchen, and in a larger sense, in the life of our store. Her infectious smile, her unfailingly pleasant demeanor, her humble nature and her sincere concern for the well-being of all who came within her orbit (which was big), her half-full approach to life… and her undoubted palate, made her an icon of our business, something that Cathy and I have been appreciative of every day. But there is more to my Mother-in-Law from Heaven…
Doreen was born in Woodstock, Ontario, and was raised in her family’s restaurant business, eventually going to school to become a nurse. Upon graduating and marrying, she moved to Toronto, and eventually, Thornhill, to become Supermom to three, one of which was her sidekick and the girl that I would marry, as well as Michael and Carol, who to this day work with us in our business. I must add that over the years all of her grandchildren have done stints here as well, with our firstborn, Thomas, manning the helm today and proving that she taught him well, someone and something she was very proud of.
Doreen was a force in her community, a family friend to all on the street where she lived for more than 50 years, and as I described above, that kind of person that you could never forget. Working in our business was her fourth career, and I think a most satisfying one for her. She rolled up her sleeves and selflessly set out to help us in each and every way she could, and as success came, she shared in that satisfaction completely. I must tell you that for us it was not work, but a daily adventure, in food, family, and people. Without ever trying to in the slightest, she became this unassailable icon in our food business, and whatever Doreen did, or said, became law.
Most of you know that I spent years and years getting up early to do the Market run, and sometimes Doreen would already be at work, blind-baking her quiche shells, or poaching salmons, or making pastry poinsettias on our chicken pies at Christmas… and yes, making her legendary chili sauce. We’d sit and have an early morning coffee, and if Grethe was there, as she often was, it would include Baileys, then we’d go about our day’s tasks till they were done. Days would almost always finish with a glass or two of Chardonnay, as we rehashed the day’s events and planned others.
There will be only a small and very private funeral, but in her memory we ask you to raise a glass (or two) of Chardonnay and join us as we truly honour and appreciate a life well-lived.