August 15, 1930 - January 25, 2024
Her birth certificate shows her name as Madeline Anna Crucil. She was born August 15, 1930, in the heat of a hot summer night at Kings Daughters Hospital in Duncan, BC. That little baby, Roma Rosa was the 8th child of Francesco (Frank) Crucil and Mary Anne Crucil, (neé Hocevar). There were twelve children in the family.
She was born on the floor and it was the night of a full moon. Her mother always said that she would go out the same way as she came, on the night of a full moon. She was very spiritual and she told Anna that she could not change her destiny.
Among her Mom and Dads many business interests in Ladysmith, and as far as Victoria BC, which included logging, beer delivery and bottling, trucking, and taxi service. Her parents also bought the Lewis Hotel in 1924 and renamed it the Green Lantern Hotel which was in Chemainus BC.
When her Mom and Dad migrated separately to Canada in about 1910 and 1914, they both spoke 7 different languages. They later married in 1921. Being fluent in many languages was to prove very helpful in later years when they operated the hotel.
The Green Lantern was known as little Europe and people migrating to BC and Canada came to Frank, and he spoke for them, found them work and, generally, helped them get established Anna recalled.
It was here at the Green Lantern Hotel that Anna grew up as a child and was so greatly influenced by the cultural aspects of her environment. Anna recalls that on many special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, her mother would provide meals for as many as 50 boarders.
Also, as a child Anna remembered the music of many languages played in their family home while growing up.
In Anna's memoirs book written in 1996, she says that the Green Lantern was by far the best memories of her childhood. The person who influenced her the most in her life was her father, then it was her mother. She says that she especially remembers how much her Dad and Mom loved one another. "They were very much in love and my Daddy was always very gentle with Momma." She adds "I can remember when he made his moonshine, he was extra loving with Momma".
Anna's older brother Karl was killed in a logging accident in August of 1946 at his Dads logging camp at the age of 17. Anna and Karly were very close to each other, he was a year and a half her senior. In July 1948 Anna's father also got killed in a similar logging accident. There was a lot of heartache during this time for the whole family.
If anyone knows Anna you would know how much she loved and was so proud of her family, her children, she called them her 7 Roses. On the Reid side there was:
1. Kenneth Carl, was born February 6th, 1948
2. Howard Keith, (called Keith), was born May 9th, 1950
3. Frank Bryan, (called Bryan), was born June 17th, 1951,
4. Stephen Bruce, (called Bruce) was born May 25th, 1952
5. Anne-Denieve, (deceased at 3 months old) was born March 31st, 1954
6. Debra Anne was born August 31st, 1955.
At the age of 25 years old Anna was a single Mom with a big family and life was very hard with 5 kids. She also grieved the loss of her daughter Anne-Denieve. Anna told stories of washing all their diapers every night before bed, otherwise you wouldn't have diapers for the next day. She also remembers washing all their little blue jeans with muddy knees each day.
To get by she got a job at the Lincoln Inn, then later on at the Crofton Pulp Mill. She had to be gone by 7 am each morning. Her younger sister Mary was like a 2nd mother during this time. In 1956 she moved from Duncan up to Chemainus into a little tar paper shack so she could be close to her mother to help out with the kids. The boys still remember the big rats that would come out of the crawl space at night.
Anna taught all the kids to swim early. They lived close to Fuller Lake and she told stories about swimming across with her 5 little ducks following behind. She always had a tube so they could rest. She said that during this dark time they were a very close family. Like her family of origin, the children had each other to play with, and not much could compare to that.
In 1962 Anna and all the kids moved up to Williams Lake. She had visited there some months earlier with a friend named Hank that she had met while working at the Crofton Pulp Mill. She immediately took a shine to the area. Hank was very kind to her and treated her with love and respect.
The main reason she moved up was because Bruce had asthma and the doctors said that she needed to take him away from the cold wet climate as he was having to spend a lot of time in the hospital on oxygen. Even though her mother did not want her to leave Chemainus she did.
They arrived in a 1946 Chevrolet 4 door sedan, which held everything they owned in the whole world in that car. When she arrived, she immediately went to the Catholic church to ask for help and advice. They called a woman by the name of Faye Moore who had some cabins out past Glendale area around Comer Hill. The 6 of them stayed there for a number of months and Anna worked with Faye at the Famous Café. Faye always commented on how polite all of the kids were.
Faye Moore and our Mom were friends for the remainder of their adult life. Mom had two very best friends, Faye Moore for 50 years before she died in 2013 almost at the age of 102 years old. And Faye Stinson for 49 years, they were just like sisters.
It was here in 1963 in Williams Lake that she met Albert Chevigny. He played music and brought back her musical roots, and she was also no longer alone. She had 2 more children on the Chevigny side:
1. André Albert, was born May 27th, 1964
2. David Daniel, was born July 13th, 1965
In 1972 they moved back to Vancouver Island to Campbell River, then to Chemainus. The reason for moving was that André had allergies and asthma and was also hospitalized requiring an oxygen tent a lot in his early years.
Albert and Anna separated in 1974. Once more Anna found herself back in Williams Lake where she spent most of the remaining years until André and David finished high school and got married.
In 1981 Anna started communicating with her mother back in Chemainus regarding their family history and family tree. Both on her father's Crucil side, and her mother's Hocevar side. Two weeks before her mother's death on April 23rd, 1982 her mother asked Anna to take over all of the completion of their family tree.
This was something that Anna dove into very passionately for years at her mother's request and to honor her Mother and Father. Of course, there was no Internet in those days and Anna did everything by mail and phone calls. She even obtained birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates for her grandparents and great grandparents whom she never met back in Europe.
Anna was very passionate about their genealogy and was honored to carry it thru to fruition. Every one of her 7 roses received a copy of the family tree. She has asked André to continue on with it. In the mid to late 1980's Anna played her music and traveled and sang in all kinds of prisons in British Columbia, both minimum security and maximum security. This was a ministry of passion and one she was wholly committed to for Jesus Christ.
In 1990 after her youngest son David's wedding Anna felt a yearning to go back to Chemainus to be close to some of her family roots and friends. At 60 years old she attended Malaspina University College and studied classical music. She had two very special teachers who taught her that she was a Lyric Soprano.
She attended Malaspina 2 1⁄2 years. Her two teachers raved at her accomplishments in music and Anna received a bursary to continue studying. She also played her guitar and sang at various venues and restaurants around Duncan, Ladysmith and Nanaimo every week for nearly 10 months.
In 1994 André was taking a log home to Germany and asked his mother Anna to come and accompany him for a 2-week trip. Anna brought original birth certificates for her great grand parents and had them authenticated at the European consulate's. It was always a dream to walk where her family had walked generations before. It was also so exciting for her to see the Black Forest.
She also brought her guitar with her and had previously learned many European songs and sang in the hotel where they were staying. Everyone was amazed at her musical talents. André took his mother on the train and it reminded Anna of the movie Dr. Zhivago. They did not get to Italy where her Daddy was born, but the trip as a whole was one of the high lights of Anna's life. She reminisced for years about it.
As mentioned above in 1996 Anna was inspired to write her autobiography, her life story. It is a story of love, courage and survival. It's a dedication to her family and her future descendants. Her story is a story of determination and swimming upstream not going with the flow. In it she says the golden threads of time have allowed her to put words on the written page. Her words will echo across the generations to come.
In 2004 Anna was inspired to make her own CD. It was a cut of 11 songs with 3 original songs written by Anna which she wrote about her childhood. All the profits from the CD were donated to the Avril Chevigny Fund. The CD was also dedicated to her family and for the awareness and the elimination of violence against women and children everywhere which was a particular personal cause for Anna Madeline.
In 2008 David, Bryan and André built their Mom a little beautiful suite at their work office so she could be close to them. She would come sit and bring us great big sandwiches and just hang out. All she wanted was to be close to us. This was such a blessing for us and our Mom over the years. Her suite was so full of bright colors, all mixed up with satins and flowers. It was definitely Moms very own sweet place.
Anna was especially known for her long black hair and blue eyes. She always had a flower in her hair, red lipstick and wore lots of bright and satin clothing. She always had colorful fingers and toes. She was known for her faith in Jesus Christ. God always had her in his hands, and Anna always had him in her heart. He was her one true Love.
After 62 years, the community of Williams Lake will remember her for her family all dressed up to go to church on Sunday morning. Ken, Keith, Bryan, Bruce and Debra Reid, with younger brothers André and David Chevigny were their Mom's pride-generating flock. The boys were her black leather jacket-wearing angels. Often with a matching black eye or two. You could see Anna beaming with delight as she ushered her brood into their pew.
In later years Anna loved to attend the Sugarcane church, she loved the First Nations people, the quaint beautiful little church and had many friends there. Rick and Anna Gilbert were special friends to her.
Mom always said that her greatest accomplishment are her 7 roses. We are truly blessed to have had such a beautiful mother. She loved the sun and salt water, the sand on her feet, she also loved the rain in her hair. We will dearly miss that one-of-a-kind strong independent woman who we are proud to call our Mom.
Her son André remembers people always staring at their beautiful mother as he was growing up. "She was so beautiful inside and out, she has left a big void in our lives. She stuck by us thru every crisis, every hurdle her prayers were for her flock. She has always been the constant in our lives. As always, she will help us get through it.
Mom taught us all about God and about Jesus. Her one true love till the day she passed away we would pray with her and she would be calm. When I started reading her autobiography back to her in 2018, I remembered the story regarding the full moon. In the last couple years as her health has worsened every night there was a full moon, I would look up at it and say, not tonight Lord not tonight, I'm not ready for this. I am so blessed to have had so much time visiting her these past years. A man only has one mother and she is mine."
On Thursday morning January 25th David called us all to look outside. Indeed, it was a full moon. We all knew in our hearts it was our mother's time. As our grandmother always told our mother, she could not change her destiny. Anna will be the last one of their large family of twelve.
The family would like to especially thank the Deni House for their love and compassion for our Mother over the last 2 1⁄2 years. Her hair was always braided and a flower was always in her hair. We would also like to thank Rosan and Sharn for their love and compassion before Mom was admitted to Deni House. Our mother loved and trusted you and was treated with so much respect and dignity.
And finally thank you to Anna's granddaughter Penny Michelle who stayed at Mom's side the last two days, your bond is so beautiful.
A service for Anna Madeline Crucil will be held at a later date this year. The family will announce once determined.
We close with a poem from Anna's book:
I love you freely without restriction
I love your understanding without doubt I love you honestly without deceit
I love you creatively without conditioning I love you now without
I love you physically without pretending I love your soul without wishing
I love you being without
I love you