By Sue Tiffin
Published Nov. 13 2018
When you flip through pictures of Carol Lefebvre’s experiences in life it’s clear that she was as so many of her friends and colleagues describe her very passionately “up for anything.”
In the Community Living Trent Highlands photo collection there are countless pictures of Lefebvre playing paint-ball sitting on a massive ATV smiling on a trip to Nashville dancing at Christmas parties tucked comfortably into the corner of an ice hut and posing alongside her longtime boyfriend Jerry Corby as well as pictures – and video – of her enthusiastically belting out Shania Twain’s “Man I Feel Like a Woman” at karaoke. She loved parades and marching bands Blue Jays games live theatre and musicals and even took great joy in running errands with good friends.
“Her smile was infectious and her love of life tremendous” said Jeanette Pilcher supported independent living co-ordinator with Community Living Trent Highlands.
Lefebvre didn’t have to be born in Haliburton to become a fixture here ingrained in the community as an enthusiastic and joyful active participant in life and welcomed into friends’ homes and on vacations as a sort of extended family member.
“The community just welcomed Carol with open arms” said Pilcher.
Lefebvre was 65 when she died after being hit by an SUV on Friday Nov. 9 near the intersection of Victoria Street and Maple Avenue after spending almost 40 years of her life in Haliburton County.
Born in Hearst in 1953 she was 28 when she moved from the Rideau Regional Centre in Smith Falls to a group home in Haliburton in 1981. Lefebvre became one of the first people in Haliburton County to move from a group home to join Community Living’s Independent Living Program upon its launch.
For the past several years she lived at Parklane Apartments where she was a beloved tenant and she was a familiar face as a volunteer at the Lily Ann Thrift Store helping to sort clothes on Friday and at the Knitting for Warmth group held in Minden where she was known to knit precise squares.
“She was an absolutely perfect knitter” said Pilcher. “You could measure everybody’s on hers.”
Her love for music was well-known.
“Carol could be kind of reserved at times” said Patty Babineau of CLTH but responded energetically to music like on a recent trip to the theatre “She was on the edge of her seat the whole time so excited she was bouncing in her seat pointing singing along.”
“She could feel the music to her soul I always felt” said Tim Tofflemire who knew Lefebvre through CLTH for almost two decades and who noted his post on social media in memory of her garnered a quick reaction from the community with more than 150 likes at press time. “She’s the one that would stand in front of the speaker and the joy in her face as she listened to the music and moved and danced … She really gave it her all. She really hashed out a neat existence for herself.”
Lefebvre made deep connections with many community members including Karen Code and family and Sarah Levis who was a high school student more than 20 years ago when she first met Lefebvre and developed a lifelong friendship.
“Carol and I went for a walk and got ice cream and decided to go again” said Levis. “We went for another walk and we got Diet Coke. We said we were going for coffee and we both got Diet Cokes. That kind of cemented it.”
“That lasting friendship was a rock for Carol” said Pilcher.
“That was a natural connection” said Babineau.
Lefebvre became like part of Levis’s family spending Christmases with her and then later with Code and her family.
“She’s definitely impacted a lot of people” said Levis. “She was a lot of fun … There wasn’t very much that she didn’t want to at least try … She did love life. She loved to try new things and go out and do things together.”
Levis said Lefebvre’s friendship made a great impact on her own life.
“She was really the first person I got to know in depth with her types of disabilities and that relationship forever changed me” said Levis. “I think that sometimes people with intellectual disabilities still kind of walk on the edges of society because people are afraid they won’t know what to say or you’re not really sure what the friendship will be like and she was family and our friendship was among one of my most life-changing.”
The unexpected loss of Lefebvre is being mourned throughout the community.
“She was very happy in Haliburton and it showed” said Levis.