Obituary of Audrey Margaret Lentine
It is with great sorrow at her absence and great happiness at her release from pain that we announce the death of Audrey Margaret Lentine. Audrey died at the Houses of Providence Hospital on February 9, 2022. She was 84 years old.
Audrey was born Audrey Margaret Myers on May 7, 1937. She was born at home, in her beloved big brown house in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, right on the edge of Halifax Harbour. She was the daughter of the late Laura Mosher Myers and Harold William Myers. She was predeceased by her husband, Len, the love of her life. They had been married for over 64 years. Her husband’s full name was Salvatore Bernard Lentine. He was known as Toots to his family and Sam to his friends, but always as Len to Audrey. If we close our eyes, we can all still hear her call out “LEN!” It was one of her favourite words.
Audrey was also predeceased by six of her eight brothers and sisters: Jean Hudak (Johnny), Billy Myers (Alice), Stella Ollevier (Marcel), Shirley MacDougall (Seward), Raymond Myers (Avis), and Leo Myers (Vivian). She was also predeceased by seven of her ten brothers- and sisters-in-law: Mary Lipski (Johnny), Joe Lentine (Kay), Gus Lentine (Marg), Basil Lentine (Jean), Gordie Lentine (Elizabeth), James Lentine, and Madeline O’Connor (Dennis).
Audrey is survived by: her daughters, Laura Lentine Johnstone (Bill) and Cathy Lentine; her grandchildren, Stephen Tzagadouris (Becky), Samantha Tzagadouris (Matt Thomas), Daniel Johnstone (Christopher Farrer), and Matthew Johnstone; and her great grandchildren, Morgan Tzagadouris, Archer Tzagadouris, Elliott Tzagadouris, Sloane Thomas, and Sawyer Audrey Thomas; her sisters, Doris Warwick (Donald) and Thelma Snow (Sonny Hank); her sisters-in-law, Beatrice Rheinheimer, Teresa Wardle (John), Kay Lentine, and Avis Myers; and her brother-in-law, Wilfred Lentine.
Willie spent half of his adult life at Audrey and Len’s house and the last two years caring for Audrey in his home. Audrey and Willie grieved Len together while isolating from the rest of their loved ones because of COVID. Of the many healthcare workers who visited Audrey at Willie’s house, we want to thank Nadine for her kindness and excellent care. COVID is still with us, but Audrey has left us all and left Willie completely alone, still in isolation.
For most of her adult life, Audrey lived with Len in Toronto, in the same house on Woodbine since 1961. Audrey’s mother had taught her how to cook and bake. Len taught her how to make spaghetti and meatballs and other Italian dishes, which became weekly staples that Audrey continued to improve upon until she had surpassed Len. Audrey and Len loved hosting Saturday dinners for Len’s family after they had spent the day at the Woodbine Racetrack, later re-named the Greenwood Racetrack, betting on the horse races that they all loved. Willie spent every weekend at the house, and Gus and Marg visited Sunday afternoons for years. Laura and Cathy’s parents hosted parties for Victoria Day and New Year’s Eve and summer birthday parties for Len’s parents, including the biggest party ever, of July 1, 1967, for our country’s Centennial. It was Canada’s 100th birthday, Antonina Lentine’s 67th birthday in ‘67, and Emanuele Lentini’s 75th birthday. Winter birthday parties for Willie, James, Gordie, and occasionally Larry, were always fun. Family members from both sides visited often.
Audrey cooked fabulous meals and baked fantastic goodies for all of these celebrations and visits. For St. Patrick’s Day, Audrey made green jelly roll cakes and corned beef and cabbage and served them with green beer. For Easter, she made hot cross buns and traditional Italian braided Easter egg breads. For Victoria Day, she made hot dogs and hamburgers to go with the fire crackers and fireworks. For Thanksgiving, she made turkey, homemade rolls, and all sorts of pies. For Halloween, she made baked beans, anadama bread, and pumpkin pies. For Christmas Eve, she made the best pizza anyone’s ever eaten. And for Christmas day, she made two turkeys, homemade rolls, pies, squares, cakes, and twelve (TWELVE!) different types of cooked vegetables. She also marinated dried fruits and spices in rum for months to make fruit cakes, plum puddings, mincemeat pies, and mincemeat Italian cookies for Christmas.
On ordinary days, Audrey would often surprise us in the evenings with something she whipped up quickly from her well stocked pantry, like biscuits with butter and molasses, bread puddings with vanilla or rum sauces, or her famous chips, adored by Len especially, who learned to love fish and chips while in the Navy in Halifax. Audrey’s pantry was always full of tins of homemade cookies, squares, rolls, breads, loaf cakes like spice, gingerbread, or banana, and doughnuts. Len loved raisins, and Audrey accommodated him by adding raisins to anything and everything that she could. Audrey made her famous cinnamon buns for family and guests, and for quite a few years, Audrey and Willie made their own A&W root beer, which thrilled all of the visiting cousins. In his later years, Len started craving apple pies, and Audrey made them for him daily.
Audrey taught Laura and Cathy how to cook and bake. Cathy loves to do so but Laura does not enjoy it as much. Thankfully, Bill loves to cook. Laura taught Bill what Audrey taught her, and Bill surpassed Laura just like Audrey surpassed Len. When Cathy’s babies were young, Audrey or Len would go to Peterborough for weeks at a time to help out and cook and bake. Stephen, their first grandson, and Samantha, their only granddaughter, loved their Nanny and Papa and enjoyed having them read and sing. When Laura was nursing her boys, Audrey would make whole meals, including desserts, for Bill to pick up and take home after work.
Audrey often baby-sat her grandsons Daniel and Matthew. Daniel and Matthew loved time with their Nanny. She taught both of them how to bake and cook from very young ages. It started with the making of what Daniel called “gloop,” which involved mixing anything and everything that Nanny had on hand and then baking it for Papa, Willie, Laura, and Bill to taste. Matthew never made gloop, but he loved to make homemade Play D’Oh with Nanny instead. Both boys continue to cook and bake regularly. Daniel makes Nanny’s carrot cake, and Mysie’s pound cake, and Matthew makes Nanny’s Famous Macaroni and Cheese, and her meatballs. Stephen has been making bread, with inspiration and advice from Nanny over the phone. Samantha was inspired and taught how to cook and bake also, cooking the family's turkeys in Peterborough for the past few years. Her next project is to learn how to make the cinnamon buns that Nanny often made just for her.
When Laura and Bill started having pool parties, Audrey always brought pies, squares, or cakes, including milk cakes and upside down rhubarb cakes. Sometimes she brought cinnamon buns and, one Thanksgiving that was warm enough to swim, she brought the whole turkey dinner, dessert included!
Besides cooking and baking, Audrey was a professional hairdresser who also worked in sales at Eaton’s during the Christmas rush for several years. She was offered full time jobs each time because she was an excellent sales person but preferred to stay home with her kids. When we were teenagers, she worked full time at the Post Office with my father for five years, sorting mail. In between, she spent her time reading every newspaper, magazine, or book she could get her hands on. She even read some of my university books for me when I was running out of time and told me everything about them. She knew every answer on Jeopardy and could converse knowledgeably about just about anything with anyone. She loved to talk and would often spend hours speaking to her mother, sisters, brothers, sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, cousins, and later, once they moved out, her daughters, Laura and Cathy. We spoke to her every day and cannot believe that we will never again answer our phones and hear her voice.
Every January, after having sent hundreds of Christmas cards to family and friends, Audrey would fill in the dates of her new calendars with every family birthday she knew, including the children and grandchildren of her siblings. For years she enjoyed shopping at Woolworth’s and then grocery stores and drug stores to buy the many, many birthday cards that she sent every year. In the last twenty years or so, she found a card company that she liked very much and ordered hundreds by mail. Many of our cousins loved receiving real paper cards in the mail, years after many people had stopped sending them. Audrey loved living in Toronto but continued to love and miss Nova Scotia and her family there and made a point of continuing to be a part of their lives by sending cards, for over fifty years. She was not able to send many in the last few years and always regretted having to stop.
Our mother loved us and our father, and Willie. She loved everyone in her Myers family and everyone in her Lentine family. In fact, she loved her Lentine name and would doodle Audrey Lentine, over and over again, in her beautiful handwriting. She made a real effort to connect with each and every one of her family members. Many of my cousins have called her their favourite aunt and secretly know that they are her favourite niece or nephew. Her siblings and in-laws adored her. She wrote or called everyone, signing each card or letter with a “Love Audrey.” She remembered everything that anyone ever told her. They knew that she was interested in them. She had no problem expressing her emotions and she would always hug us and kiss us.
Audrey Margaret Myers Lentine was a beautiful and incredible woman — a loving wife and mother, Nanny and Great Nanny. She was a caring and generous daughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, niece, and cousin. There will never be another Audrey Lentine. She will be missed.
There will be no service. We will celebrate Audrey’s life once it is safe to do so.