RUMFORD -- Jackie Fallon died suddenly February 4, 2012 at the Rumford Hospital, with her husband and children, her brothers and sisters, at her side.
She was born Jacqueline Frances on March 23, 1940 to Albert and Reta (Boyle) Thibodeau in her parents’ bedroom on Oxford Avenue in Rumford.
Jackie attended St. Athanasius School, Stephens High School in Rumford, graduating in 1958. Later in life, she attended the University of Maine at Farmington for two years, focusing on psychology. She continued to learn about psychology and medical care for the rest of her life.
She married Tom Fallon in 1960 and together they raised a family of seven children.
Jackie was religious, growing up in the Catholic Church, taught CCD as an adult, was elected to the St. John’s School Board, organized church suppers and fairs, and taught at St. John’s School as a substitute. Her mother was a strong influence in her religious education.
When health problems slowed her religious activity, she prayed daily for anyone who needed help as well as praying the Rosary with Mother Angelica on EWTN. And, she was a well-spring of spiritual knowledge and guidance for her husband.
Jackie composed a religious poem, prayer, “Lord, bow my head/And bend my knee/Teach me/True humility,” that is engraved on the family’s cemetery stone. She loved to attend Mass, where she and her husband held hands “in the sight of God”, as she said, and attended all church functions when able, especially when school children were presenting activities. Over the years, she often sacrificed her own comfort to support those in need.
Jackie loved to laugh, read the comics every morning, and more important, poked fun at her husband, bringing him down with a laugh from his rantings about politicians. She also continuously trounced her husband at gin rummy. She sacrificed the development of her writing support her husband’s writing.
She was passionate about her role as wife and mother although she was often kept off-balance by her husband’s irrational Irish temperament. She was “the person who saved my life with her patience, her intelligence, and love of God,” her husband always said, and “she worked to keep my feet planted on earth.”
Jackie’s last years of deteriorating health were marked by wonderful discussions with her husband, as, he said, she “correcting my ignorance of different subjects, especially religion.” She shared many memories with her husband of her Thibodeau family’s life in Rumford, when they were as “poor as everyone else, but no one knew they were poor,” always speaking with love for her father and mother, her brothers and sisters, her Grammi Boyle, Uncle Oliver, her Aunt Amelia, Mrs. Forni, the Theriaults and others.
She was a loving, deeply happy person in life, and had difficulty understanding people who did not forgive. “Do not let the sun set on your anger,” she told her husband early in their marriage, and she lived it. She always tried to point to the positive in people.
As health problems prevented her from leaving home, she became a bird watcher and loved the beauty of the trees changing with the seasons, often stating to her husband that “we are very lucky to live in Maine before the developers ruin it.”
Jackie spent 10 happy summers with her husband on Prince Edward Island where her mother was born. She loved her birthplace, Rumford, and refused to leave when her husband retired from the paper mill to be closer to more advanced medical care as her health deteriorated. She was active in the Local 900 Food Bank during the Rumford paper mill strike of 1986 and always fondly remembered those who work with like “Frenchie” and Judy Freeman.
Her deepest desire while at the Rumford Community Home was to return home where she grew up and where she raised her own children. She wanted to be with her husband alone at the end.
Jackie leaved behind her husband of 51 years, Tom; their children, Thomas, Mary, Katherine, Rebecca, Deirdre, Melissa and Patrick; her beautiful grandchildren, Olivia, Heather, Brandi, Rikki, Jacob, John, Jeffrey, Amelia, Martin, Devin, Kyle, Andrew, Allison, Brian, Michael and Casey; her siblings, James, Jerrold and Julie, and their wonderful children; many nieces and nephews; her mother’s brother; her beloved uncle Jim Boyle; special friend Rosalie Gallant Marin; her cousin Frank Pelletier of Florida, as well as Audrey at WalMart.
She was predeceased by two children, John and Isabel; her mother and father, Albert and Reta Boyle Thibodeau; her grandparents, Wilfred and Isabelle MacDonald Boyle, Jean-Baptiste and Marie Amanda Thibodeau; her uncle, Frank Boyle, and aunt, Ellen Pelletier; her sisters, Isabel and Jeannine; and her brother, Johnny.
The family is grateful to Fr. Phil Tracy; the ICU nurses, Doctors Deiter Kreckel, Dr. Henk Goorhuis, Dr. Stephanie Youd and Dr. Charles Armstrong, of the Rumford Hospital; her cardiologist Dr. Roy Ulin and her heart surgeon Dr. Carmine Frumiento, as well as those beautiful people at the Rumford Community Home who actually helped her during her last year. Jennifer Kreckel, of Kaynor and Kreckel, also provided valuable legal support during this time.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Parish of the Holy Savior St. Athanasius-St. John Church. Interment in the spring will be in the St John Cemetery, Rumford. Friends are invited to call 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Meader & Son Funeral Home, 3 Franklin St., Rumford. In lieu of flowers, those who desire may contribute to Saint Andre Home Inc., 283 Elm St., Biddeford, ME 04005-3093.