Yvette Croteau Messier
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Yvette Croteau Messier
1924 - 2020
Yvette, the Matriarch of the Messier Family, passed away peacefully in Roseville, CA, on Mothers Day, May 10th, 2020. She was born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, French Canadain 1924. Her family immigratedto Hartford, Connecticut whenshe was an infant. During the next 96 years she would live through the Great Depression, World War II, The Computer Age and experience a World Wide Pandemic. Her legacy revolved around her love for family, kindness to everyone she met and a lifelong commitment to her faith.
One of her fondest memories during the Great Depression was finding a $10 bill on the sidewalk. She immediately gave the money to her mother who purchased a badly needed winter coat. As an honor roll student, she helped in the Hartford High School office with attendance. She became familiar with the names of 1000 students. The future of many in her graduating class of 1941 would be changed forever by World War. For her part she became a "Rosie the Riveter" eventually supervising an assembly line making parts for aircraft magneto's.
Occasionally at large family gatherings, Yvette began to notice a handsome second cousin from Vermont named Marcel Messier. As they got to know each other they quickly fell in love.
In 1945 they married while Marcel was home from the Navy. In August of the same year she met him after his ship pulled into New York Harbor. They were in a movie theater when it was announced Japan had surrendered. They rushed outside to find the historical VJ Day Celebration erupting in Time Square. Although they did not see the famous "Sailor kissing the Nurse", men were trying to kiss Yvette. She avoided them by hanging on tight to her own sailor boy.
She had her first child, a son, in 1947. He was a handful to say the least. She told Marcel if the second child were a boy there would not be a third. Luckily a daughter was born next who was so exceptional the family grew to have seven kids.
The Messier family moved to Santa Clara in 1958. The Valley was filled with beautiful apricot and cherry orchards. Strawberry fields were within walking distance as were acres of prune trees. Yvette felt it was the best place to live in the world. She resided there for over 60 years. A saying she often repeated was "I would like to count all my blessings but I only have ten fingers".
Yvette was very careful about her diet. She always looked a decade younger then her actual age. She used a health food cookbook for her menu planning. All food not in the book was "junk food". Her kids knew they were in trouble when she would sing a song about black strap molasses and wheat germ bread. There was no white sugar, no white bread, no processed meat and no soda in the house. The eggs were brown and the milk raw. The meals eaten at home were very nutritious, but when the kids were away they secretly enjoyed a different menu.
While posing as a mild mannered housewife, Yvette was, in fact, an all-around wonder woman. Dinner for nine miraculously appeared nightly, seven days a week. The house was clean and tidy, clothes washed and mended. As a homework helper, she was like having a Siri or Alexa App. with a pulse. The seven trying to use the bathroom at the same time were controlled by seniority and need.
Yvette (and Marcel's) daily guidance on life issues created a desire in her children to help others. They all became first responders, civil servants or the spouses thereof.
Yvette grew in her religious faith realizing her calling as one of Jehovah's Witnesses in the early 1960's. For the next six decades she incorporated sharing the "good news of the kingdom" into her everyday life. Every celebration was complimented with her homemade bible cake and greeting card.
She became a Pioneer in her Santa Clara congregation, spending 70-90 hours per month volunteering in field ministry. This service put her in touch with a struggling immigrant population new to Silicon Valley. Her fluency in French and Latin helped with language barriers. More importantly she spoke the language of Christian love that touched the hearts of many. If she saw a need; whether food, clothes, furniture or household goods, she would try to fill it. Her expertise as a garage sale queen helped. Yvette's car and home always seemed crowded with items for others.
At the most recent Messier Family Reunion, Yvette sat quietly in a wheelchair contently watching and listening. She knew her physical and mental health was noticeably declining. Marcel had passed away over 20 years before. She now lived with her children who all contributed to her care. A rich full life was nearing an end. Before her was a group of 50 people of all ages. Children played on a waterslide, young adults shared the latest news and seniors joked about aches and pains. All were happily celebrating lives made possible because of her love. The warm rays of the sun touched her and she smiled. "C`est La Vie Mon Ami".
Yvette was preceded in death by her parents Emile and Annette Croteau, siblings Rita, Marcel and Roger, her son in-law Tom Swarner, granddaughter Alyssa and Marcel, her husband of 52 years. She is survived by her children John (Peggy), Teresa (Pat), Jeanine (Rick), Tom (Cathy), Mark (Lonna), Michele and Denise. She was the beloved Memere to 15 Grandchildren and cherished Great Memere to 21 Great-Grandchildren.
A private service will be held at a later date.
Donations can be made in Yvette's name to JW.org or Snowline Hospice, 6520 Pleasant Valley Rd, Diamond Springs, CA 95619.


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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on May 15, 2020.
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May 15, 2020
God Bless the Messier family!! Sorry for the loss of your Mother.
Terry Hofer
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