It is with great sadness in the loss mixed with wonderfully fond memories in our hearts, that the family of Maria Josephine (Josie) Gollat age 102 announces her passing on Sunday February 9th after a brief stay at Thunder Bay Regional Hospital.
Born on Alberta Street in the Fort William “east end” to Bruno and Angelina Montagnese on April 26, 1917, Josie was the eldest of 4 siblings including a younger sister and two brothers.
Attending St. Stanislaus School as a young girl, she later worked at Canada Car travelling by streetcar and on foot to her distant place of employment and at the Victoria Avenue Belgium Shop, a women’s apparels store where she made life-long friends.
After the second world war a very handsome Louis Gollat who had recently returned from overseas navy service, became acquainted with our mother at a mutual friend’s house party. After a brief period of courtship, Josie and Louis were married on December 29, 1947.
To this marriage were born 5 children, a boy and 4 girls which over the years expanded to include 13 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.
Her family became her life and joy, and with the exception of a short period of employment with the Chronicle Journal, we were blessed that our mother was a full time stay-at-home mom whose greatest enjoyment was family gatherings. Extra lucky for us in the earlier years when our mom was still active in the kitchen, family gatherings often centered around her delicious home-cooked meals.
During the mid-period of her life, Josie was also an active member of the Canadian Legion Branch 129 Ladies Auxiliary where she gave freely of her time.
In later years to fill the gaps between family gatherings, she loved going out whether it be to a restaurant for lunch, dinner or a coffee and desert, general people watching or something as simple as just going out to a florist shop to hold and smell the flowers. She loved summer walks along the river with her cherished daughter Donna.
It was her love of life that made her look and remain so youthful defying her numerical age. Her simple life, devotion to her strong Christian faith, reciprocated family love and healthful youth lifestyle were her successful recipe for a long and joy-filled life. There wasn’t a person who knew her or casually encountered her on the street that wasn’t in awe at how happy and youthful she looked when informed of her age.
We are all so very happy that our mother was able to live her entire life at home.
She leaves to cherish her memories daughters Mary Lou Bernardi, Donna Gollat and Jo-Ann Dewar (Terry); son Rick (Rose Scott); grandchildren Shane Bernardi (Kerri), Mark Bernardi, Tim Bernardi (Katie), Dawn Marie Bernardi (Mike Sabaz), Alana Jennereaux (Justin), Ben Gollat (Mel MacVoy), Angie Gollat (Rich Luskleet), Matt Gollat (Kristyna Mayer), Adam Gollat (Nicole Michaliuk), Kim Dewar Mahe (Rich), Scott Dewar (Nikki McDowell), Katie Dewar (Rohan Lall), Derek Margarite, and sister Theresa Zablotny. Numerous great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and other relatives also survive.
Josie was preceded in death by parents Bruno and Angelina, husband Louis, brothers Dominic and Ralph two infant siblings, daughter Karen, son-in-law Don Bernardi and daughter-in-law Lynn Gollat.
A Mass will be celebrated in memory of Josephine on Friday, February 14th at 12:10 p.m. at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1019 Brown St, Thunder Bay, with visitation at the church one hour prior to the service. Reception to follow the service in the church hall. Internment will take place at Mountainview Cemetery immediately following the reception. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in her memory may be made to the Our Hearts At Home Cardiovascular Campaign.
Josie Gollat will be remembered in the Blake Funeral Chapel Memorial Grove. Annual dedication service Sunday, June 13, 2021.