Witthoeft, Mary Colleen Louise
July 19, 2019


After a courageous battle with cancer, Colleen passed away peacefully with family by her side, on July 19, 2019. Colleen had three passions in life – her family, her business and her garden. She was a renowned gemmologist and jewellery appraiser for over 30 years, and founder of G.E.M.S (Centre de Gemmologie Inc.). Colleen, a one time world traveller, apprenticed in Paris, Tel-Aviv and Antwerp.  She was a member of the Gemmological Institute of America and the Canadian Gemmological Association. Colleen’s beloved garden brought colour and beauty to the neighbourhood.

She leaves behind her loving sisters Madeleine (the late Joe), Faith (the late Charlie), Roxanne (Larry), Meta (Mark), brother David (Lena), and her many nieces, nephews, and friends. Predeceased by her parents Rose and Henry, brothers Karl (the late Ruth) and Peter (Thel).

A gathering will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 2 pm to 6 pm at Voluntas, 4695, boul. St-Jean, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Qc H9H 2A7 (voluntas.ca, 514-695-7979).

Special thanks to the Palliative Care Teams at the Royal Victoria Hospital, NOVA West Island, and CLSC Lac St-Louis for care provided. In lieu of flowers, donations, in her memory, can be made to the Cedars Cancer Centre Foundation of the Royal Victoria Hospital.


Voluntas Commemoration

4695, boul. St-Jean, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Qc H9H 2A7

Saturday, August 3, 2019, 2 pm to 6 pm

34 responses

  1. Madeleine Witthoeft

    July 21, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    And so passed the ” heart” of our family. She was always there for each of us siblings and our families. So much loved by us all….she’ll be forever missed. She will now be living in a higher element where there is only happiness and love..

    • Andrea Duszczyszyn

      August 2, 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Madeleine, thank you for your phone call. Sadness will live because Colleens great presence is gone but solace will be greater because of her legacy and our knowledge that she is free of any encumbrance. I feel sad that I didn’t have a chance to see her in the last couple of years – I never imagined that she’d be gone before I saw her again. But I can’t imagine your sadness – I only know that she was a special person and as her sister that specialness will linger on in you and through you. xo I won’t be Abe to make it tomorrow – a strange twist of fate…but I will be in Montreal soon and hope that I may stop by to say hello.

  2. Meta Witthoeft

    July 21, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    Loved by family and friends, Colleen will be missed every day of our lives. . . a unique, loving sister, hard to imagine the future without her. She made the world a better place. May all who knew her be inspired.❤️

    • Andrea Duszczyszyn

      August 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm

      Meta, she really was an inspiration to me and made the world a better place. Young and invincible, in 1963 I didn’t understand the profound effect that she had on me but I sure think about it often now. My heartfelt sympathy to you – your many cherished memories will hopefully allow you to smile. xo

  3. Mark Rataj

    July 21, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    Sometimes people go fishing, sometimes people go flying, but we all eventually go home. Home, where we are all embraced with the sweet love of the divine, home where we remember where we came from and why we chose to be born. Home, where our hearts overflow with the gratitude for the gift of life. I’ll see you again when it’s my turn to go home.

  4. Joanna Druda

    July 21, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Colleen was the Angel of our family. Her sense of humour, kindness, love, and support were freely shared with her family and friends. She is now in heaven with a few other beautiful angels: Nanny, Banty, Pete and Oleh. They are there to guide her home. I love you, Colleen. Keep on living, loving, and laughing. Thank you for inspiring, guiding and loving me my entire life. I wish you peace and joy forever. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  5. Kevin Fawcett

    July 21, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Kind, generous, unassuming. She would do a small thing for you, she would do a big thing for you. You would fall all over yourself thanking her and she would act as if it was nothing. But it was something. Something of a glimpse into how we all should be. She was the kind of person that you always wanted to be around, to call friend, to call family. Her home was the center of activity for the family. Card games were a means for us all to gather and talk of family, life and sometimes a bunch of nothing. With the passing of family members, the card games became a little more empty. With the passing of Colleen, the chasm grows too large.
    You will forever be missed by so many.

  6. Jessica Fawcett

    July 21, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    I met Colleen a little over 25 years ago, right before I married her nephew, Kevin. She was so warm and welcoming. From that moment on, I was family. That meant so much to me! Kev and I recently celebrated our 25th and in true “Colleen style”, she did something for us that I will never forget. She did this even though she was sick. She never focused on being sick. She was still helping others. Kev and I were talking about the special things she had done for us and it brought great joy to us. Never forget the loving things people you care about do for you! It will always help you through the tough times. Colleen had tremendous courage fighting cancer and I only hope that I can display this level of courage in my life.


    July 22, 2019 at 9:07 am

    Dear Meta and Family,
    both Heinz and I would like you to know that we are thinking about you and your family during these very difficult times. Our heartfelt condolences. Although we have never met Colleen in person, the stories we heard about her are stories of an amazing, strong, courageous and family focused person. We can only imagine how much she will be missed by all of you! Colleen may not be there in person now, but she will always remain to be a part of you all – in your hearts and memories. Our deepest sympathy to the family.

  8. Leesa Lavallee

    July 22, 2019 at 9:18 am

    ——– Original message ——–

    From: Leesa Lavallee

    Date: 2019-07-22 8:21 a.m. (GMT-05:00)

    To: Leesa Lavallee

    Subject: Re:

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

    My Aunt Colleen was the most generous, kind-hearted, hilarious, energetic, hard-working and successful person I have ever known. I was lucky enough to not only have her as my aunt, but to also call her my godmother. Although she didnt have any children, she loved all of her nieces and nephews like they were her own. We always looked forward to spending weeks in the summertime at her house in Montreal as kids, swimming, trying to find Jojo and Mouse, visiting family, or just hanging out in the house talking with everyone for hours. 

    When I think of all the most important days in my life, she is a part of those memories. From birthday parties to going away parties to baby showers and baptisms, she always made the trip from Montreal to celebrate with us. The weekend of our wedding was her final trip to visit us. I am so grateful that my memories of that day include her and that I chose her as my witness for our marriage. She will be with us every day as we wear our wedding rings.

    I love you and you will be forever missed by everyone who knew you ❤

  9. Jens Witthoeft

    July 22, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Memories of a dear one who has passed away are like little stars that light up the darkness of mourning.


    July 22, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Knowing each other for more than 30 years, Colleen was not only my dear friend but also my sister. You will be forever in my heart. You will never be forgotten. I will miss you even in the thoughts that you now in the better place, the heaven.

  11. Andrea Duszczyszyn

    July 22, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    As a new immigrant to Canada more than 50 years ago, and finding my way in a new world and more challengingly in High School, Colleen was my first and dearest friend. Reading all the comments above, I realize that she was always a kind, gentle, inclusive, thoughtful and giving person. Her intelligence astounded me – she just knew everything. She had great wisdom and saw the positive side of everything. Colleen introduced me to liverwurst sandwiches, dill pickles, (her German heritage and my first glimpse into the melting pot that is Canada) how to sneak a sandwich during class, smoked meat, how to swear in French and many other important lessons in becoming Canadian in Montreal….such an incredible person. She talked so lovingly of her family, I met them but didn’t know them other than through Colleen….her first niece Joanna?…..family from Florida to Quebec, so much enthusiasm and love….RIP dear friend…..enjoy the peace and joy that you so truly deserve…..till we meet again…xoxo
    To all of Colleens family, my sincerest condolences. I wish you the joy and serenity of knowing that while you miss her she rests in a place of beauty. That you feel her presence when you need to and join her happily when it is your time.

  12. Laurette Lafreniere Roy

    July 22, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Je vous offre toutes mes sympathies et condoléances pour le décès de votre sœur, son séjour sur terre est terminé mais son énergie sera toujours près de vous tous et dans vos pensées.

  13. Cecile Kennedy

    July 22, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    La douloureuse épreuve qui te frappe m’émeut profondément et je prends part à la terrible perte que tu viens d’éprouver en la personne de ta sœur. Mes sincères condoléances Meta.

  14. Karin Grigat

    July 23, 2019 at 8:48 am

    To Meta and Family
    It was with great sadness that I heard about Colleen’s passing after a valiant fight to carry on despite serious illness.
    Roger and I are sending our sincere condolences to you, your family and friends who were witness to Colleen’s exemplary life. We heard the stories of your big hearted sister and marvelled.
    If only the world would have more people like Colleen – what a great place it would be ! She will surely continue to guide you all in spirit.

  15. Gordon

    July 23, 2019 at 9:49 am

    I missed her smile and humour. I worked closely with Colleen these last couple of years, and was saddened when she had to leave. She is at peace. Again we will miss you Colleen

  16. Shawn Fawcett

    July 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

    The Lord will forever keep you in his thoughts. Sleep now till you awake in his house.

  17. Maureen Levins Gazda

    July 23, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    My world is not as nice a place, now that my childhood, lifelong, best friend is no longer walking amongst us. Colleen was such a dear, loyal, intelligent, perceptive, kind, loving friend. She was always there for me, as I tried to be there for her, but Colleen was always better at giving than receiving. We shared the bad times and the oh so many wonderful times. We laughed, we loved, we cried and we did it together. Colleen tried to prepare me for this,… Colleen fought this long, difficult battle knowing that she was not going to win, but she fought with such strength, bravery and grace. She never complained to me or asked, “Why me???” I can tell you that I am still asking, “Why Colleen, why so young?”
    I offer my sincere condolences to her sisters, brother, their spouses and children. I know how much you will all miss her, she was surrounded by your constant support, your positive and accepting attitudes and your unsurpassed love. Colleen’s fight is over, she can rest now and be at peace.
    I will continue my walk now, without her, missing her every step along the way… But, cherishing all the wonderful memories that we shared.

    • Andrea Duszczyszyn

      August 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      My heartfelt sympathy to you Maureen. I know how close your friendship with Colleen was and though I didn’t know how long, I knew that it predated me knowing either of you. I don’t think there was a single time that we met that your name didn’t come into the conversation. Truly – why so young? We can only cherish our memories knowing that she is in a happy place.

  18. Yaroslava Popovych

    July 24, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Dear Joanna, Madeleine and family,
    We are all very sorry about Colleen. She was bright, good, caring person, who wanted to help everyone and indeed was our angel. Even when she was very sick, every Sunday she drove me to see Oleh at the hospital, helped to look after Oleh at home, went to the school in Ormstown to receive Oleh’s diploma, and after he was gone, she supported us.
    We will always remember her and pray for her. Love always, Slava, Ira, Andrii, Viktoriia, Orest, Irochka, Sergii, Alina

  19. David and Barbara Dawes

    July 24, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Our deepest sympathy to all of Colleen’s family and many friends. She was an amazing ,thoughtful person.
    We shall cherish the many hours we spent in her company usually reminiscing about the “good old days”.
    Our lives are all a little emptier without her.

  20. DeCelles Maureen

    July 24, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Very saddened to hear of Colleen. She was a good friend and mentor. My condolences to the family. Her passing will leave a void.
    Be safe my friend I will see you again.

  21. David and Lena Witthoeft

    July 24, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    We are missing you and shall miss you for the rest of our lives. We loved you yesterday, today and all the tomorrow’s to come. There is a special place in heaven just for you sweet Colleen. Rest in peace till we see you again. ❤️❤️ David and Lena

  22. Heather Levins Pashley

    July 25, 2019 at 10:10 am

    A Life well Lived, Dear Colleen.
    Deepest Sympathy to the Whitthoeft Family.
    Till we meet Again.

  23. Thel Buker (Witthoeft)

    July 25, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Oh, my wonderful sister in law , really she was like a sister to me. When i came to the Family when i got together with Pete in 1986 . Her precious brother , she was an amazing person. sweet , loving, kind and generous always , and such a great sense of humor , i felt like family instantly. We have been great friends for years ,she was my best friend trough good times and sad. I am so happy we had these last 5 almost 6 years together. Laughing and joking every night . I am happy to be the silly sister (sister in law) who kept her laughing with my stories . Here life will never be the same, my heart is broken and i will always carry her memory . She didn’ t need to get to heaven to be an angel , she already was one. But now she has her wings , my beautiful sweet Colleen. I know she is happy with Pete , Mum and her Dad again. OMG I am going to miss her . Until we meet again .

  24. Heather Levins Pashley

    July 25, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    “ A Life Well Lived “, Dear Colleen.
    Deepest Sympathy to the precious Whitthoeft Family.
    You will remain in my Heart and Memory, “ Forever and A Day,
    Till we meet again.

  25. Johanne Neander and Michel Deslauriers

    July 25, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Colleen, you touched the heart of all those around you with your wonderful personnality and your many qualities. I will miss your presence and your wisdom and your kindness. Our friendship throughout life was like a lovely golden thread which will be cherished lovingly by myself and all my family. We are all so saddened by the news.

  26. Johanne Neander, Michel Deslauriers as well as Dominique, Stéphanie and Jean-François.

    July 25, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    Our family’s Deepest Sympathies to the Witthoeft Family for your loss. Let the memory of such an exquisite sister comfort you all. She was much loved.

  27. Jyoti & Dilip

    July 26, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    Colleen, you touched the heart of all those around you with your wonderful personality and your many qualities.
    I will miss your presence and your wisdom and your kindness. Our friendship throughout life was like a lovely
    golden thread which will be cherished lovingly by myself and all my family. We are all so saddened by the news.
    Jyoti & Dilip

  28. Sigrid Carlsson (Witthoeft)

    July 27, 2019 at 7:47 am

    It is only with the heart that one can se rightly. what is essential is invisible to the eye. Colleen you saw with your heart. I will never forget our time together. You are always in my heart.

  29. Ken White

    July 27, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Our heartfelt condolences to all those in Montreal today who will surely be missing Colleen today. It is always so special to hear and read about how people have profound effects on the lives of others. Colleen was my aunt courtesy of her brother Karl my stepdad. We laughed that the separation of our ages seemed to not make much sense of the term “aunt”. Colleen went out of her way for others. I will never forget when my mom passed away she was there helping and guiding Karl and I through a very difficult and emotional time dealing with my mum’s stuff. She handled it gently but firmly. She was there. Narelle and I were leaving Canada from Montreal and since we live in Australia that is always tough. Out of nowhere she showed up at the airport to say a special goodbye. Colleen and Madeleine both cared enough and were crazy enough to visit us in Australia and we had a blast for 3 weeks. We know she cared very much for Narelle and I and I know she is not suffering now but geez we will miss her. We loved her very much.

  30. Sean Culligan

    August 2, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Colleen was the best of the best. One of the most welcoming and caring individuals I have ever know. Bright and inquisitive, she wll be missed greatly.

  31. Tosca Spencer

    December 12, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I just found out about Colleen’s passing and am devastated. We were friends since grade school and for some reason she terminated our friendship a couple years ago and I still don’t know why. I missed her so much and now there is no chance of reconciliation. Rest in peace, Colleen. Your friend, Tosca


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