Ottawa

Woman who died in flood remembered for her compassion

Relatives of the woman who died during flooding in the Village of Quyon, Que., over the weekend are waiting to find out more about the sequence of events that led to her death.

Louise Lortie Séguin, 72, drove into washed-out road

Louise Lortie Séguin with her husband John Jolie. (Submitted by the family of Louise Lortie Séguin)

Relatives of the woman who died during flooding in the Village of Quyon, Que., over the weekend are waiting to find out more about the sequence of events that led to her death.

Louise Lortie Séguin, 72, was driving alone on rue de Clarendon at chemin Bronson-Bryant on Saturday morning when she accidentally steered her car into a washed-out road.

A culvert had given way and a large section of the road had washed out overnight. Séguin's car fell into the water below.

A couple in another vehicle had tried to warn her before the crash, and a neighbour rushed to try to help Séguin.

"At least we know that she didn't die alone ... and that there were people there," one of her daughters, Ann Séguin-Huska, told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Wednesday.

The scene of the washout in Pontiac, Que., near rue de Clarendon and chemin Bronson-Bryant. (Jérémie Bergeron/CBC)

Started recovery centre

While Séguin's family is still coming to terms with her death, they've been touched by the many people fondly remembering her selfless commitment to help those less fortunate.

"She touched a lot of people from many walks of life. Young, old, everything in between. Healthy, sick, she was there to help you with anything that you needed," said another daughter, Tina Roy.

"She lived in the community for a very long time ... so everybody knew her."

Louise Lortie Séguin, 72, was killed in the Pontiac on Saturday. (Submitted by the family of Louise Lortie Séguin)

She started the Maison Luskville alcohol and drug recovery centre after being moved by a newspaper picture of a homeless man who had wrapped a blanket around his dog.

"What touched her is that even though this person was homeless himself, that he had so much care for his dog," Séguin-Huska recalled.

Séguin called the reporter, tracked down the homeless man, known as "Wolf," and eventually brought him home for a shower and some food. He ended up back on the streets, but Séguin and her partner were motivated to start a program.

'She would go the extra mile'

"She bought the old Luskville Hotel, and then that was that," Séguin-Huska said. The Maison Luskville alcohol and drug recovery centre operated for years until it closed in 2015.

But she'd been helping people for years before that. Their family home had 10 bedrooms, and over the years it functioned as a daycare, a retirement home, a foster home, and a home for former residents of the rehab centre who had essentially become part of the family.

Tina Roy, left, and Ann Séguin-Huska, right, are two of Louise Lortie Séguin's three children. (Kristy Nease/CBC)

Séguin even spent two weeks on the streets in 1995 to get a better feel for her work.

"She really wanted to live the life of what it was like, so when her residents would come to her she could be 100 per cent compassionate towards them and understand what their life was like, battling just to have a warm place to sleep or keep the jacket on your back," Roy said.

"That's just in her DNA. It was just deep down inside her, and she was always like that. She would go the extra mile just to make sure that you were OK," Roy said.

A memorial service will be held May 11 at Liberty Ministries in Aylmer.

Over Easter weekend rising waters in Pontiac washed away part of a road resulting in a fatal accident. The victim was Louise Lortie Seguin who'd dedicated her life to helping others. We hear from the family. 9:37

With files from CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning