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October 18, 1926 - April 17, 2016
A loving husband, father and grandfather who lived a life graced by deep
faith and abundant good humour, Martin James O'Leary died peacefully at the
Houses of Providence in Scarborough, Ontario on April 17, 2016 in his 90th year. He
was the beloved husband for 65 years of Noreen (nee Frechette); loving father
and role model to John (Lynn), Paul (Anna), Jim (Bev), Kathy Byles (Dan), Dan,
Marty (deceased, 1986), Greg (Cathy) and Anne Marie Switzer (Ed).
Martin was a proud grandfather to 19 wonderful children/adults. Matthew,
Meghan, Brad, Aidan, Jennifer, Joe, Kevin, Michael, Sandra, David, Erin, Andrew,
Mark, Sean, Martin, Samantha, Conor, Evin and Aveeva. Last year Martin became a
great-grandfather (Sawyer) and was awaiting the arrival of a second
great-grandchild in June. He had almost five dozen nieces and nephews and countless friends.
His sister Joan Tiernay and her husband Joe will miss Martin greatly.
Martin was born in Toronto in 1926 to Mary and James O'Leary. He grew up on
"the Danforth" and lived above the family grocery store, with his older brother
William (Fr. Bill O'Leary, deceased) and sisters Rita (Jack) Brehl
(deceased) and Joan (Joe) Tiernay. He forged life-long friendships dating back to high
school and the CYO at Holy Name parish.
After graduating high school from St. Michael's, he obtained a B.A. in 1948
from St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto and became a school
teacher for a short time before entering a life-long career in banking (Toronto
General Trust, Canada Permanent Trust, Canada Trust and TD-Canada Trust), retiring
Martin married the love of his life in 1950 and soon afterwards he and
Noreen bought a three-bedroom home in East York. He was an active parishioner at
Holy Cross parish, until the eighth child arrived and he moved the family circus
to Scarborough in 1967, where he was an active member at St. Boniface parish
for almost 50 years.
He always placed Noreen and family first, ahead of even the Maple Leafs,
Blue Jays and Argonauts. Obviously, he was a patient and forgiving man. He was
renowned for his quick wit and an impish sense of humour that was always
accompanied with a tell-tale twinkle in his eyes.
He followed most sports and was an accomplished bowler and curler. He
enjoyed explaining the difference between an in-turn and out-turn to whomever
joined him for whatever curling bonspiel was on television. He liked his beer cold and
his scotch with just a drop of water. Playing cards was another favourite
pastime. From boys-night poker, to bridge-club night, to euchre to cribbage, he
pocketed more than his share of other people's dimes and quarters.
A highlight of family celebrations was watching Martin take Noreen by the
hand and, to the big-band sound of "In the Mood", show the younger generation
how to swing on the dance floor. Even after 65 years of marriage, he continued to
affectionately refer to Noreen as “my bride.” Family meals were important
to him, particularly Sunday dinner, where, as the family grew, he learned to
carve a large roast into thin slices. He was also handy on the barbecue and, as
his eyes filled with smoke from a grill crammed with burgers, he never (well,
seldom) cursed in front of his children.
Martin and Noreen collected countless friends over the years, from
neighbours who moved away but remained close to fellow travellers they met on several
extended vacations. Their Christmas Card list was always extensive. His
many relatives and friends knew him as a man who was fun-filled, loyal and
Most of all Martin will be remembered as a loving husband and a family man
of great faith and generous nature who loved to make people smile. He will be
dearly missed by all who were fortunate enough to smile along with him.
Special thanks to the dedicated staff and volunteers at Providence
Healthcare for the wonderful care they provided over the past two years.
Friends may call at the McDougall & Brown Funeral Home, 2900 Kingston Rd,
Scarborough, on Wednesday and Thursday from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. both
days. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Friday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Boniface
Catholic Church, 142 Markham Road Scarborough, ON M1M 2H9, with a reception to
follow.In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to one of Martin’s
favourite charities: the St. Vincent de Paul Society (care of St Boniface Church,
address above) or Providence Healthcare, 3276 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto, ON