New Brunswick

State funeral to be held Thursday for Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau

A state funeral for New Brunswick Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau will be held Thursday in Robertville, government officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Service for Roy Vienneau will be held in Robertville

A state funeral for New Brunswick Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau will be held Thursday in Robertville, government officials confirmed on Tuesday.

Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau, 63, died Friday after a battle with cancer. Members of the public are invited to sign a book of condolences at the New Brunswick Legislature. (@LTGOVNB/Twitter)

The traditional Catholic funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. at Sainte-Thérèse d'Avila Church, which seats about 400 people.

The service, led by Rev. Maurice Frenette, will also be livestreamed on CBC New Brunswick's website, Facebook page and on Twitter.

Roy Vienneau died Friday at the Chaleur Regional Hospital after a battle with cancer. She was 63.

As lieutenant-governor, she was automatically entitled to a state funeral, but it was up to her family to decide, Premier Blaine Higgs had said.

The federal government has offered to help the province with preparations for the public event. Details are still being finalized, but there will be an honour guard, involving members of the military and RCMP, as well as a pipes and drum ceremony, officials said.

Visitation for family and friends will be held Wednesday at Heritage Funeral Home in Beresford from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., according to the obituary.

Books of condolences for members of the public to sign will be available at the New Brunswick Legislature and Government House in Fredericton between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. until Aug. 23.

Official events at Government House remain cancelled until further notice.

The Canadian flag at the Peace Tower in Ottawa will remain at half-mast until the funeral.

Roy Vienneau, who became the 31st lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick on Oct. 23, 2014, is being fondly remembered as a "trailblazer" and passionate advocate of the province.

She revealed her cancer diagnosis in September. At the time, she said she was cancer-free but was undergoing chemotherapy as a preventive measure, followed by an expected round of radiation therapy this year.

'Remarkable woman'

The "LG," as she was known by her staff, was the first Acadian woman to hold the job of Queen's representative in New Brunswick.

She was also the first woman to be vice-president of a University of Moncton campus, the first woman to direct a francophone community college in New Brunswick, and one of the first women to graduate from the University of Moncton's Faculty of Engineering.

"Her Honour was a remarkable woman, a leader and advocate in the belief that the people of New Brunswick and the province were totally amazing," Catherine Holtmann, director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, said in a statement Tuesday.

"Using her energy and her voice, she provided strong and commendable leadership bringing together and working effectively with people from multiple backgrounds, including but not limited to community, academia and government for our cause," she said.

New Brunswickers are mourning the loss of Roy Vienneau, pictured here with her husband Ronald Vienneau during a 2018 interview at Government House. (Harry Forestell/CBC)

The University of Moncton is also mourning the loss of Roy Vienneau, interim president and vice-chancellor Jacques Paul Couturier said in a statement. The flags at all three campuses have been lowered in her honour.

Roy Vienneau made "an enormous contribution to the development of post-secondary education in French," the statement said.

"In both her professional and her volunteer activities, she devoted her time and energy to the development of the Acadian community and the promotion of education, literacy, the environment, health, music and youth in New Brunswick."

Mother and grandmother

Roy Vienneau, who held a master's degree in public administration as well as a teaching certificate from the province, completed her second mandate at the University of Moncton's Shippagan campus in 2014.

She previously served as assistant deputy minister for the Department of Post-Secondary Education and worked at the New Brunswick community college in Bathurst for 23 years as dean, department head, professor and finally, principal during the last six years.

Roy Vienneau, who was born in Miramichi, began her career as a project engineer at Esso's Imperial Oil refinery in Montreal.

Roy Vienneau is survived by her husband Ronald Vienneau of Pointe-Verte; her children, Isabelle Comeau (Éric) of Hantsport, N.S., and Cédric Vienneau (Sandrine Krémien) of Shippagan; her mother Mélanie (Morris) Goyette, and grandchildren Simon and Mathieu.

She is also survived by a brother, seven sisters and several extended family members.

In memory of Roy Vienneau, donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society or a charity of the donor's choice.