REGION -- A brilliant star appeared in the heavens today with the passing of Bernadette Arsenault of Mexico. At age 94, she was carried to heaven by her angels on August 3, 2013 to be reunited with her heavenly family.
The eldest of 10 children, she was born Bernadette Litalien on November 19, 1918 in Jay to George and Marie Rose (Vaillancourt) Litalien. She received her education at local schools in Jay.
Bernadette married Edward Arsenault of Mexico in a beautiful ceremony on June 17, 1940 at St. Rose Church in Jay.
After her marriage, she and her family lived most of their lives in Mexico where Bernadette worked for the Dixfield Match Company and later for Oxford Paper Company in Rumford. In 1966, she was employed as a cafeteria food preparer at St. Theresa’s School in Mexico and later worked at Bass Shoe Mfg.
Spending many years at their wonderful camp at Worthley Pond in Peru, she and her husband made certain that it became the gathering place for their children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters and their families to come and enjoy being together. She was an avid fisherman and loved to be out on the pond applying her skill at landing bass or night fishing for hornpout.
She was fortunate in being able to travel to Hawaii and a tour of The Holy Lands.
Bernadette was a member of the Ladies of St. Anne and a charter member of the St. Theresa’s Ladies Guild of St. Theresa’s Church in Mexico. She was also a member of the Greater Rumford Area Senior Citizens and the Oxford County Neighborly Senior Citizens where she enjoyed all of the activities and the many friends that shared the special times of being together.
A member of the WOW group, she was also a volunteer for the Greater Rumford Area Ministers and Priests Society. Working for the Mexico Historical Society was one of her greatest pleasures. Also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and the Acadian Society, she always looked forward to the gatherings and meetings. One of her wonderful enjoyments was the time spent with her friends of the French Club.
She was known in the area for her wonderful art work and belonged to the Pennacook Art Center where some of her works have been displayed. Bernadette’s greatest joys were the time spent with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and always looked forward to family gatherings and reunions.
A devoted mother and grandmother, who were committed to the happiness of her family, she is survived by her three daughters and their husbands and one son and his wife: Geraldine and husband, David Warren of Dixfield, Claire and husband, John Kelley of Mexico, Carol and husband, David Robichaud of Sebring, FL, and Donald and wife, Kathy Arsenault of Lewiston; a brother, George Litalien, Jr. and wife, Anita of West Peru; two sisters, Yvonne Hurd of Brunswick and Theresa LaPlante of West Peru; 12 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
Mrs. Arsenault was predeceased by the love of her life, her husband, Edward, who passed away in 1965; her parents; three sisters, Joanne Fournier, Irma Bilodeau and Mary Rose Smith; and five brothers, Albert, Andre, Donald, Roland and Roger.
The family would like to thank all of the caregivers at the Marshwood Center especially the wonderful caring and loving aides in the Eliot Wing. They became her family during her stay there for over 4.5 years. The family would also like to express their gratitude to Beacon Hospice for their comforting support in her final hours.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Thursday at Parish of the Holy Savior, 126 Maine Ave., Rumford. Interment will follow in St. John Cemetery. If so desired contributions in Bernadette’s memory may be made to the Marshwood Center Residents Activity Fund, c/o Dawn Franklin, 33 Roger St., Lewiston, ME 04240.