The Story of a Tombstone


Robert M. Pilon

Pierre tombale ÈrigÈe en octobre 2000

Tombstone purchased and erected in October 2000 with the cooperation of owners Carrière and Pariseau and the assistance of Robert M. Pilon

John Cannon (born 1863) and his wife Mary (née Marie Rochon in 1865 in Grenville, Quebec) were the first owners of lot 3708 at Notre-Dame Cemetery in Ottawa.  They purchased the lot by contract on September 27th for the sum of $50.00 on a deposit of $25.00 on September 19th 1918 and a balance of $25.00 with special mention of $4.00 on grave #441. There, was buried their son Harry Cannon who died accidentally at work from the fall of a train water boiler.  Ten years later his father, John Cannon deceased on July 2nd 1927 and was buried alongside his only child and son.  He was 64 years old.

Mary Cannon (née Rochon)  widow, became sole heiress of John Cannon's estate.  She (Marie) was the sister of Edouard Rochon (1862-1922) who married Émérilda "Marilda" Francoeur July 9th 1899 at Ottawa Notre-Dame Basilica and resided in the Ottawa Lower-Town popularly called "la Basse-ville". 

On july 1932 Mary bequeathed lot #3708 to Fleur-de-Mai Rochon, her niece and God-child.  It is there that Mary was buried alongside her husband and son in August 1939. 

Photo of Mary Cannon with Pilon nieces and nephews l-r 2e Noëlla, Irène, Laurent, Annette, 1er Lucille, Robert, children of Fleur-de-Mai (her niece) and Léo Pilon, 1931 (?)

Fleur-de-Mai Rochon, eldest child of "Marilda" and of Edouard Rochon was born in 1901 in "la Basse-ville" in Ottawa.  During the summer months her father, woodsman and postman, rented row-boats near the Green Bridges "Ponts Verts" on the Rideau River close to the Rideau Falls.  In the winter he maintained a skating rink where Fleur-de-Mai was recognized for her talent as a beautiful figure skater. 

Fleur-de-Mai married Léo Pilon at Ottawa's Notre-Dame Basilica on novembre 1919.  They had many children:  Annette (1920-1997), Lucille (1922- ), Laurent (1923-1938), Jeanne "Irène" (1924 -), Noëlla (1926-1990), Robert (1931 -), Jean (1932 - ) and lived on Louisa street and also at 109 Booth Street near the Chaudière Falls in the Lebreton Flats, within the jurisdiction of St-Jean-Baptiste Parish. 
Léo and Fleur de Mai 
near the Rideau River

It is there in the churning waters on the shore of the Chaudière Falls that Laurent, eldest son and so promising 15 yeard-old, drowned as he skipped from one log to the another on logs left behind by loggers.  It was July 4th 1938.  He had just started a well-deserved summer holiday from elementary school studies having successfully completed his Entrance Exams. 

This was a traumatic event from which the entire family never recovered.  Laurent, a sickly child, generous, affectionate and caring had won all hearts at home and at school.  He was buried in half-lot #3979 and was tranferred October 1938 in the family lot #3708.  His name engraved at the back of the existing tombstone, fragile and porous, soon became illegible due to ravages of time. 

Laurent: Tragic and unforgettable death
This shock of Laurent's death culminated in the separation of Léo and Fleur-de-Mai whose strained relationship as a couple had persisted over several years.  Léo, broken down, had spent 36 hours on the shore of the Chaudière falls, praying and humming a totaly unrelated religious hymn "C'est le mois de Marie" awaiting the divers' recovery of the corpse of his first son, Laurent. Psychologically, very emotionally drained and succumbing to the strain, he immediately left the family of six children forever.  Some months later he attempted in vain to assist the family financially. News of his death, May 10, 1970 came from a Montreal morgue. 

Fleur-de-Mai, subject to frequent atrocious migraines and depressions, was bedridden during this tragic drowning and aftermath responsibilies. However, after a few weeks she recovered and courageously took over the care of the family. 

The children having grown, Fleur-de-Mai bequeathed in turn her lot #3708 to two of her daughters: Lucille, born March 20, 1922 and married to Maurice Carrière March 5, 1941, and to Noëlla, born December 21, 1926 and married to Roméo Pariseau, October 1942.  Lot #3708 was then divided in two half-lots registered as #3708 North (to Lucille Carrière) and #3708 South (to Noëlla Pariseau). 

Fleur-de-Mai (center) and inheritors of lots:  Noëlla (left) and Lucille (right) at Centre de Santé St-Henri, Montréal
On September 1965 Roméo Pariseau (1917 - 1965 ) suffering from severe bouts with schizophrenia died leaving his dear wife and their only son, Robert.  He was put to earth on the 17th of September a few days later.
Noëlla and Roméo:  two love birds
On March 10 1983 Fleur-de-Mai Rochon-Pilon (1901 - 1983) died at the age of 82 at the Centre de Santé St-Henri in Montréal. Lucille during many years visited her every week and sometimes more often to care for her needs and loneliness.  Her body was transported to Ottawa where she had spent the major part of her life.  March 14, 1983 she thus rejoined Laurent she missed so much and whose tragic death she had never forgotten.


Noëlla Pilon-Pariseau (1926 - 1990 ) the youngest of the Pilon daughters joined her Roméo at the Ottawa Notre-Dame Cemetery on the 21st of July 1990.  She was 63 years old.  A woman filled with vitality, always jovial and unendingly generous.  She suffered severely during the last fifteen years of her life subsequent to a brain tumour operation which left her paralyzed and incapable of making herself understood.
Roméo and Noëlla


...it would tell how Fleur-de-Mai Rochon-Pilon united all these people:  Cannon, Rochon-Cannon, Rochon-Pilon, Pilon, Pilon-Carrière and Pilon-Pariseau.... and that there is lacking the name and the loving tenderness of

Dearest Grandmother "Marilda" Rochon...

...who knew how to warm hearts by her incredible generosity and unforgettable love.

She is there, very close, in a neighbouring lot, that of the Rochon Family, always ready to comfort, to inspire her many children and grandchildren she accompanies and loves every day, even those who have not had the privilege of loving her.


Thank you so much "Grand'maman Rochon" 
and "Maman Fleur-de-Mai".


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