Hilarious and intelligent, dramatic and tragic. Doris Bourgeois left her mark on the Association as a beloved client who touched the lives of many of the people who spent time with her and were able to experience her unique approach to life.
Doris was able to relate to people on many levels and one of her strengths was that she was bilingual. Growing up in Fahler, AB Doris was fluent in French and didn’t miss a chance to use this skill to her advantage whenever possible.
Darrin Stubbs recalls many special relationships among the clients over his years at the Association. “One, in particular, was Doris Bourgeois. She was an interesting person who was just a character that anybody could love. She had her trials and could be a strain on anybody, but what a reward to know that person. She was full of humour and had a lot of rage at times. I really miss her a lot.”
Kelly Lagace worked with Doris as well. She smiles as she remembers the times she spent with her. “Doris was one of my favourites. I just loved her. I did a lot of respite for her. She used to come to my house and my daughter fell in love with her as well. She had a wicked sense of humour and you never really knew if she caught on until she started her “evil little laugh.” She was the only person I knew who fall asleep standing up. She was smart as a whip and had a sadistic sense of humour at times.”
Kelly remembers taking Doris grocery shopping. The only way Kelly could keep Doris awake and following would be to put her in charge of her young daughter and ask her to keep an eye on her so that she wouldn’t wander away. Every time Kelly’s daughter would try to sneak away, she would pull her hand away from Doris, who would wake up and say, “Hey, hey, hey get back here!”
Doris also used to get into lots of trouble, according to Joanne Wiens. But despite the trouble she got into, she was always a favourite. “Everybody loved Doris no matter what kind of hassle she gave them.” At her funeral the priest spoke about how Doris’s purpose on earth was to teach unconditional love.
Doris lived with the Dempsey family and is remembered by Mary Ann Dempsey in an article from “Special Friends” magazine, published by Marilyn Cramer in the 1990s.