“My life is storytelling. I believe in stories, in their incredible power to keep people alive, to keep the living alive, and the dead.”
Marie loved to tell a good story and boy, she was good at it. Maybe it was a history lesson on her ancestry, an adventure she experienced, or just reminiscing about years gone by. She could captivate any audience and often kept everyone wanting more. I guarantee all of us can recall a time, whereby Marie blessed us with a story and enriched our lives. Thankfully, these stories will keep her alive for many years to come!
Marie Eleanor was welcomed into this world by proud parents, Lloyd Ronald and Eleanor Mae (Rae) Krauter on Sunday, June 12, 1966. She joined them on the 12th of Bentinck on the family mixed farm. Being an only child had its positives, but also its drawbacks. She enjoyed a deeply close relationship with both of her parents. Marie was raised knowing the meaning of hard work and gained valuable lessons daily working alongside her mom and dad on the farm. She attended Sullivan Public School, where her mom also taught on a supply basis. Marie was also heavily involved in 4-H during these early years before attending Chesley District High School where she was active in the Yearbook and Library Club. She graduated in 1985. Marie went on to attend Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, graduating in 1988.
After university, Marie chose to return to her deep roots in the family farm, and Bentinck Township. She first found work with Service Canada, working in employment services. In 1991, Marie was looking for a change and sent her resume to the YMCA. She was soon summoned for an interview in Owen Sound, whereby true story, she ran the few blocks to make her interview. She was the perfect candidate and was hired as an employment counsellor. In the early years, she did quite a bit of teaching and mentoring one on one, but things quickly changed, as she was her mother’s daughter, and had a gift for teaching. Marie soon began teaching in a group setting and never looked back. It should be noted, her job was not the easiest, as she often was mentoring individuals between the age of 16 – 29 who had struggles finding employment. Marie took this challenge head-on, acting as a group facilitator for a variety of programs throughout Grey-Bruce. She devoted herself to her work, always engaging and providing a positive, upbeat environment to learn. Not only was she a teacher, but she truly cared for her students and earned a great deal of respect along the way. She literally made a profound difference to hundreds and if not thousands of job seekers through the years and was held in high esteem by her colleagues. and a favourite of many. A highlight came several years back when due to her work ethic and excellence, Marie was selected to travel to Kansas and help lead a pilot program. Marie also was the proud recipient of an Award of Excellence from the Ontario Association of Youth Employment Centre. She celebrated thirty years at the Y in 2022, and will truly be missed by all those who were blessed to call her a teacher, colleague, and friend.
Away from her vocation, Marie was involved in a variety of activities and causes. However, most were tied to her rural upbringing and agriculture. In fact, Marie’s maternal great-great-great-grandparents arrived in Canada in the mid 1850’s with only minimal belongings and one shorthorn cow. Therefore, it is easy to see why she and her family were so involved with the Canadian Shorthorn Association. Through the years, Marie held a variety of positions within the organization, even becoming the President, and was lucky enough to travel much of the world. She experienced the Arctic, Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, Ireland, Scotland, and England, just to name a few.
To be honest, Asia was the only continent Marie did not visit. In true Marie fashion, there were always stories to tell upon her return, whether it be an adventure she experienced, a place she visited, or just the great people she met along the way. She enjoyed sharing her experiences with others. One highlight came during her time in England when her travelling party was summoned to a meet and greet with Princess Anne. As you can imagine, not everyone got an opportunity to talk to the Princess in person, but it should be no surprise that Marie did… and there was a story to tell! Following many of these voyages, Marie often spent a great deal of time sharing these adventures with a variety of different groups and organizations, thus enriching the lives of others.
Marie was also heavily involved with the Ontario Plowmen’s Association, a passion that was passed down from her late father. Through the years and competitions, Marie’s wealth of knowledge continued to grow, and she eventually began judging. This again took her across much of Ontario, and in short order, Marie became a well-respected judge within this tight circle. Most recently, she gave of her time and talents at this past September’s International Plowing Match in Kemptville. Her smile and cheerful personality will be dearly missed.
Closer to home, Marie enjoyed curling, as well as experiencing any flea markets, yard, or auction sales. She loved a night out and was a staple at most community and church suppers, often accompanied by her mom, Eleanor. Marie’s faith was also important, but she was known to be a “church-hopper” – meaning she frequented several churches regularly rather than just one. She thoroughly enjoyed an adventure and rarely said “no” to a day trip, an invitation, a night out or a simple road trip for an ice cream cone with a friend. In recent years, Marie was able to experience more of the Bruce Peninsula, with her friend Steve, and loved its beauty and serenity.
Honestly, though, Marie was most at peace at home on the farm. She delighted in the simple things like walks around the farm, and spending time caring for her animals. As one can expect, Marie had her favourites, with Molly (a cow) being one of them. She often shared treats, like a cookie, with all of them at one time or another. She enjoyed being outdoors and one with nature, so time gardening or time spent sitting on her front porch visiting with family or friends were highlights for Marie. When confined to the house, Marie could often be found writing, about a variety of things, and often shared this gift with many of you, through her many letters and Christmas cards. If not writing, then Marie was usually talking on the phone and spent countless hours catching up and reconnecting with family and friends alike.
After Lloyd’s death, the already close bond between mother and daughter became even closer. Truth be told, Eleanor and Marie’s relationship was more like sisters, than mother-daughter. Eleanor also instilled in Marie that we must always say “thank you” as we can’t do it alone. In Eleanor’s final years, Marie became her devoted caregiver, and the two started a new tradition. At the completion of every day, the two women would share three things (big or small) that they were grateful for that day, always dwelling on the good in life rather than the bad. This daily process helped both women, and I think it would benefit all of us to do the same. After months of declining health, Eleanor died in 2020, with Marie by her side. Marie would be the first to admit that moving past this incredible loss was extremely difficult but with the support of family, colleagues, and friends, she slowly found a new normal.
There were no one or two words that could be used to describe Marie. She was selfless, outgoing, caring, empathic, and funny. Marie had a strong work ethic, was always optimistic, extremely giving, and probably generous to a fault. Her bubbly, cheerful personality could light up any room, and who could forget her engaging smile? Over the last several days there have been countless condolences that further put into words what this truly amazing woman meant to many of you. Although gone, please join me in telling Marie’s story, as it is the least we can do to honour this wonderful woman.
Let me leave you with some words from Marie’s favourite song, Humble & Kind, by Tim McGraw.
Hold the door, say “please”, say “thank you”
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb
But always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride
But always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re going don’t forget turn back around
And help the next in line
Always stay humble and kind
Please remember these words, but more importantly, Marie would want us to smile, enjoy life, care for one another, and pay our love forward… just as she would! Honour her memory and legacy with a random act of kindness and pay it forward, all the while remembering the acts we experienced being part of Marie’s life!
Marie Eleanor Krauter of R.R. #3 Elmwood, passed away suddenly on Sunday, April 9, 2023, in her 57th year.
Marie was the last surviving member of her immediate family and will be fondly remembered by her extended family, friends, and neighbours. She was predeceased by her parents Lloyd and Eleanor (Rae) Krauter.
A funeral service honouring Marie’s life will be held at the Klages Mill, Chesley on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at 1 p.m. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation, Geneva Presbyterian Church or Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.