Makwa Doodem

With tears of sorrow and hearts filled with peace, the family of Bessie Mainville(86) announce her passing in the early morning hours of October 4th, 2021. Bessie was born on July 17, 1935 in Manitou Rapids to Harry and Evalina Burns where she grew up. She was ever so grateful to be raised in Manitou by her aunties Niizhoo and Aakwin.

Bessie was united in marriage to Elmer Mainville on June 14, 1956 and lived their lives in Couchiching First Nation, the community which she came to love and raised their family. In her early years she was an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish serving with CWL, and embraced a devotion to Kateri Tekakwitha. Bessie was also a well-known helper and teacher to the Anishinaabeg of her community, Treaty Three area and throughout Turtle Island. She dedicated her time and energy in the hopes of the revival of the Anishinaabe language, ceremonies and teachings. Then after the failing health of her husband she focused her energy on lovingly and compassionately tending to his needs.

She enjoyed attending Pow wows, jingle dress dancing, playing bingo, travelling and telling stories of her experiences and enjoying “mad tea parties” with her granddaughters. Bessie adored her large family and had a knack for making each grandchild and great grandchild feel like they were her favourite. She had a profound impact on her whole family as well those who had the honor to know her.

She will be greatly missed by her children Anita Copenace (Norman) of Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation, Tony Mainville, Elmer Mainville Jr. of Couchiching First Nation, Gloria Manitowabi of Dewitt, MI, Donna Mainville and daughter in law Betty Mainville of Couchiching First Nation; 27 grandchildren, 57 great grandchildren, 8 great-great grandchildren; brother-in-law Doug (Bonnie) Mainville of Palmyra, NY; sister-in-law Sandra Mainville of International Falls, MN; cousins Dorothy Medicine of Rainy River First Nation and Marge Lyons of Thunder Bay, ON, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Bessie was predeceased by her parents; husband Elmer; sons Maurice, Nick and Ritchie; infant daughter Theresa; granddaughter Jennifer Mainville; great grandchildren Hayden Mainville-Tuesday and Jaylyn Mainville; brothers Tom Burns and Barry Burns; sister Rachel Burns; in-laws Fred and Clara Mainville; brother-in-law Walter Mainville; sister-in-laws Delores Roach, Armalene Mainville and Madeline Tucker

A Catholic funeral service will be held on Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 3 p.m. with Father Gino Mathias officiating at the Couchiching First Nation Multi Use Facility. A traditional wake will follow the service and a traditional funeral ceremony will be held on Friday, October 8, 2021 at 10 a.m. with Al Hunter officiating.

The active and honorary pallbearers will be her grandsons, Dax and Kyle Kasper, Nathan Thompson, Nick Mainville Jr., Mike and Kyle Copenace, Joshua Nash and Ritchie Mainville, Jason and Walter Mainville, Calvin Manitowabi Jr., James, Bill and John Mainville.

If friends so desire in memoriam donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Society in care of Green Funeral Home, Box 427, Fort Frances, ON, P9A 3M8.