Craig, George & Micheline

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Micheline Caron 1910 – 1969 and George Craig 1902 – 1971

Oh song of Northern Valleys,
Played upon the winds
That sweep across the wilderness
Of tamaracks and pines,
In that sweet, wild abandon
Of a dark glade midst the trees,
Oh, let me drink the passion
Of your spirit to the lees.

There was a smile you gave me
That was native to the land
Of wide and tossing oceans
And of silver sifting sand,
It set my blood a-tingling
And I felt the call of love
While the northern stars kept twinkling
In the Heavens far above.

You may, perchance, forget me
As years flit quickly by,
Perhaps a fleeting memory
In a pale star-scattered sky.
Not so with me; forever
Will I live in that warm bliss –
The soft enduring fragrance
Of Micheline’s sweet kiss.

“Micheline on the Saguenay” by A. G. Bailey

Not many people can claim to be the inspiration for a published poet’s work but Micheline Caron could. She is said to have been so beautiful that Canadian poet, Alfred G. Bailey, included the above in his first book of poems called Songs of the Saguenay. Called “Mike” by her English friends and her family, she was also a great cook, so great that her apple and blueberry pies were legendary!
Her parents were Anita Dion and Joseph Eugène Caron who lived in Quebec City. Micheline’s great-grandfather, Michel, is credited with bringing the family to Tadoussac. He worked for Price Brothers Lumber at the top of the Saguenay, and for a time was mayor of Chicoutimi. He later moved to Tadoussac, still with Price Brothers, when he was promoted to “Agent de la Couronne pour la Region de Charlevoix et le Saguenay.” In this work he had responsibilities both for the forests and the fisheries. His son, Eugene Caron, (Micheline’s grandfather) was mayor of Tadoussac (1899 – 1927). Up until about 1960 there was a bridge over the gully on Rue des Pionniers leading up the hill toward our chapel. This was named Pont Caron, after Eugene.
In Tadoussac, the family lived in the house that is currently the chapel rectory, and then moved to the Coté house around the corner that became the post office. This is the same building that later became the Gite called Passe-Pierre.
Micheline was born in Tadoussac in July of 1910, but her family lived in Quebec City and she attended school at the Ursulines. It was in Quebec that she met her future husband, George.
George Craig was born in Quebec City in 1902. His father was Thomas Craig, who was the head of the Ross Rifle Company, a very prominent supplier to the Canadian Military in the first part of the century. George attended Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville, a private boy’s boarding school, but finished at the Boys High School in Quebec City. His family was staunchly Presbyterian and it was in a Presbyterian church in Quebec City that he and Micheline were wed on June 22nd, 1935. This suggests a certain bravery on Micheline’s part. She had been brought up Roman Catholic and was told she would go to hell for marrying a Protestant!
George and Micheline’s daughter, Louise, (who became known as Popsy) was born in Quebec City but then the family settled in Kenogami where George worked for H. B. Bignal Insurance. This was the company that insured the Price Brothers company, among others. They were great friends with the Prices and their son, Ian, who was born there in 1941, remembers baby-sitting Cynthia Price. He was also a very close friend of Toby Price. When the children were grown up, the family moved back to Quebec City.
Both George and Micheline were very enthusiastic about fly-fishing, and very strict in their pursuit of that sport. Wet flies only, please, and, careful adherence to local regulations and quotas. They were very active members of the Onatchiway Fish and Game Club, due north of Chicoutimi, situated in land where the Price lumber company was logging. They loved Tadoussac and also fished locally in the Marguerite River and Les Bergeronnes with their children.
When in Tadoussac, Micheline and George always stayed with Mary and Lex Smith who owned Bayview Cottage until the mid-1960s, which was a very busy place in those days, centrally located, with lots of people dropping in. They were very close friends and some summers the two couples would cruise from Quebec City to Tadoussac together on Lex’s powerboat, the Lady Mary. Arthur Smith, who was Lex’s “Uncle Art,” would often drop by in the evenings from where he stayed at the nearby Boulianne Hotel (situated where L’Hotel les Pionniers is today.) On one memorable occasion the Craig family were all out on Uncle Art’s boat, Empress of Tadoussac, and arrived from the Saguenay just as the CSL boat Quebec was entering the bay on fire. They were directed to head out into the river to see if anyone had jumped overboard but thankfully, only found a deckchair.
When the Smiths wanted to sell Bayview, George and Micheline’s daughter and her husband (Popsy and Robert) were very tempted to buy it, but they passed on the opportunity in spite of saying that many of the family’s happiest times had been spent in Tadoussac. The cottage was subsequently bought by Dennis and Sue Stairs and has remained in the Stairs family ever since.
At the age of 59, Micheline had a very sudden heart attack at her home in Quebec City. She died in her son’s arms before she could even get to the hospital. After her death, George moved to Washington for a short time to stay with daughter Popsy and her family. That worked well at first, but he missed Quebec City where he always felt more at home. He returned, but also suffered a heart attack and died in 1971, two years after he had lost Micheline.

Alan Evans and Cynthia Price




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