Fortune died at the age of 78 on April 22, 1924, and was laid to rest on April 25, 1924, in the historical St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery, plot site plan west, row #2, plot #4 overlooking the beautiful Red River and City of Winnipeg skyline. A copy of his death certificate has been obtained from the St. Boniface Parish Archival records to verify this information.
By the time of his death, all the children had gone their separate ways: Gabrielle and Ernest were in Winnipeg, Marcel was established in Fannystelle, Marie Louise (Lily) in Timmins, Ontario and Thérèse in New York. It is reported that by this time, Fortuné had virtually spent his entire inheritance but Léopoldine still had some money. The fact that Fortuné had exhausted his entire fortune and died penniless is a rather tragic ending considering the various inheritances that he had received from his aunt, father and even the dowry from his father-in-law. The inheritances which Léopoldine had received were likely part of the funds upon which they lived in their later years while in Canada.
From stories passed on, it can be said that Léopoldine, from the first days in 1892, never really enjoyed life in Canada. She longed for the French culture, her family in France, her lifestyle of music and theatre; all which were sadly lacking in Canada. Also, she found the climate rigorous and harsh.
Soon after the death of her husband Fortuné, Léopoldine rented suite #6 in the Norwood Courts Apartments in St. Boniface (Norwood) at 246 Taché Avenue. This is according to the 1924 Winnipeg Henderson Directory. The address 246 Taché Ave. happens to be only a half block from the address 53 Eugenie St. then the home of her son Marcel and family. However, Léopoldine did not live there for very long!
Not surprisingly, thirty-two years after immigrating and six months after the death of her husband, Fortuné, Léopoldine left Canada and never returned. In October, 1924, at the age of 72, she moved to New York and lived with Thérèse, to help raise her granddaughter Yolande, age 4, while daughter Thérèse worked at a career on Broadway in New York. As recorded on passenger list manifests, a year later, October, 1925, Léopoldine left New York for France. There, she lived for some seven years with friends and family in rented apartments until August, 1932. In Paris, she lived for some time at the Hotel de Turenne, 6 rue de Turenne. From a letter dated October 23, 1930, to John Mollot, her grandson, (this author’s father), we know Léopoldine was living in a rented apartment in Geneva, Switzerland, close to her relatives by the name of Brodart. Unfortunately, however, on Sept. 2, 1931, during the Great Depression, Léopoldine, while still living in France, lost her eldest daughter Gabrielle of Winnipeg. Gabrielle, at the incredible young age of 55 died of a sudden heart attack. This must have been very difficult for Léopoldine because during the seven years (1925 to 1932) that she lived in France, of her five children, Gabrielle was the only one who was in a position to travel from Canada to visit her in France during the summers of 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930, according to Canadian Passenger Lists. Gabrielle loved to travel, especially to France, and, being single, was able to afford to spend time with her mother overseas. Truly, her mother would miss Gabrielle. She was buried next to her father, Fortuné, in the historical St. Boniface cemetery in the adjoining plot that was likely earmarked originally for Léopoldine.
Léopoldine’s last address in France suggested she was living with a cousin by the name of R. Vigoureux, 52, rue de Passy, Paris, as found on the passenger list manifest. Finally, because of the age of Léopoldine (80) and her ailing health, daughter Thérèse went to her in France in August, 1932. They returned to the U.S. to live specifically at 1206 ½ Beachwood Drive in Hollywood, California. This was Thérèse’s new home at that time. All of this information was found on a Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States dated August 23, 1932, list #13. On this manifest, passengers had to answer thirty-seven questions. They left the port of Le Havre in France on Aug. 17, 1932, on the S.S. “Ile de La France” and arrived in New York on Aug. 23, 1932. From there they travelled on to Hollywood, California.