Published March 6, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated March 6, 2023 at 4:25 p.m.
Yvette Jalbert, 95, of Burlington, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 2, 2023, a date that coincided with the 77th anniversary of her marriage to Gaston. She was born on July 14, 1927, in Manchester, N.H., the eldest child of Joseph and Cordélia (Rousseau) Godbout. Her first childhood years were spent in Montréal until the family rented a small tenant farm near East Hereford. There followed several years of hard-scrabble existence, aggravated even further by the financial ravages of the Great Depression.
Yvette frequently expressed regret at having been unable to pursue a secondary education, because she had to assist in the care of siblings and attend to an ailing mother, and her father’s work as a lumberjack in the Maine woods kept him away from home for extended periods. Seeking better fortunes, the family migrated to Guildhall, where Yvette made her acquaintance with Gaston, who would eventually become the love of her life. Following their nuptials, she and Gaston settled in Beecher Falls and resided in one of the houses newly-built by the factory where Gaston resumed employment, following his army discharge at the end of the war. In this modest post-war house, they raised a family of six children, three boys and three girls, in that order. In later years, they relocated to Canaan to a house designed by her architect son, Bernard, and constructed under the direction of her then son-in-law, Robert. This time afforded Yvette and her husband comfort and pride in owning their own home after 26 years of renting.
Once her children were old enough to attend school, she worked outside the home at various jobs until she was hired as a furniture decorator at Ethan Allen, a position she maintained for several years until her retirement.
She had a natural talent for engaging young children and found great pleasure in babysitting. She was very revitalized by her circle of friends, with whom she enjoyed playing cards, “pichenotte” (a French-Canadian disk-flicking game), bingo (which took on a fervor only second to religious devotion) or undertaking a daunting puzzle (a “casse-tête” or head splitter). She became known for her arts and crafts, particularly sewing, knitting, crocheting, filet crocheting, quilting and quilling, many samples of which are in evidence at each of her children’s homes and which remain enduring tributes to her talent, artistic sensitivities and caring manner. She loved to dance and could jitterbug with the best of them. She even joined a square-dancing club for a few years. She possessed a fine singing voice and participated in the church choir for a period of time. Even later in life, she was known for warbling sweet melodies as she strolled the hallways of the residence, Converse Home, where she found exceptional support and solace as her memory began to fail.
She always encouraged her children’s pursuit of education, and she was particularly sensitive to her own lack of educational opportunity when she was younger. She took justifiable pride in each of her children’s educational choices and accomplishments, which represented fields as varied as finance, architecture, music, nursing, psychology and dance, depending upon their passion and talents. It is as if her hopes and aspirations filled the sails of her children so that each could then freely tack his or her own course through life.
She is predeceased by her beloved husband, Gaston, and her youngest daughter, Carol. She is survived by five of her children: Michael Jalbert and Sandy (Burnett) in Moneta, Va., Ronald Jalbert and Nancy (Patrick) in Pittsburgh, Pa., Bernard Jalbert and Carole Jones in Seattle, Wash., Rejeanne Jalbert in Burlington, Vt., and Monique Petrofsky (Jalbert) in Stewartstown, N.H.; as well as 13 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Yvette’s life will be held on June 16, with a Catholic mass at St. Albert’S Church in West Stewartstown and burial at St. Albert’s Cemetery.
For those who wish, the family suggests memorial donations in Yvette’s name be made to The Converse Home, 272 Church St., Burlington, VT, 05401, for the music and entertainment program.
Condolences may be offered to the family online at jenkinsnewman.com.