It is with great sadness that we share the news of Denyse’s passing on Saturday, November 11th, 2023 after a courageous battle with breast cancer. She died peacefully at Ian Anderson House, with a close friend by her side.
Supportive wife of Rolf, loving mother to Christine Wood (Jeff) and Isabelle Zelonka (Rudi), proud grandmother of Henry, Violet, and Lily Zelonka, and devoted older sister of Francine Daigneault.
Denyse Thérèse Marie Agnès was born on June 11, 1944, at Saint Luke Hospital in Montreal to Raymond and Adrienne Daigneault. She was born into a large extended French-Canadian family with many cousins, aunts, and uncles.
Denyse attended the Faculty of Arts at Notre Dame du Saint-Rossaire in Montreal. Upon graduating, she completed a bilingual commercial course at The Sisters of Saint Anne in Lachine Quebec, and subsequently worked for Dupont Canada for 8 years.
At the age of 17, while skiing in Quebec, she spotted a handsome young man. She timed it just right so that she would be seated next to him on the chair lift. After a 3-year courtship, Rolf and Denyse were married. Denyse was Rolf’s best friend and travel companion for over 58 years. Upon Rolf’s retirement, they spent over 20 years traveling extensively throughout Europe, making over 30 trips to Germany, France, Switzerland, and Italy.
Together they provided a stable home for their two daughters Christine and Isabelle, eventually welcoming Rudi and Jeff as sons-in-law. Denyse loved being a Grandma to Henry, Violet, and Lily. Her weekly visits when they were young were much anticipated, filled with trips to the local park, bookstore, and ice cream shop.
In 1977 Rolf’s company moved to Toronto. Denyse settled into the Sheridan Homelands area of Mississauga, where she built a new life for herself and her family
Denyse became an active member of the St Francis of Assisi Parish and built lifelong friendships during her 40+ years as a parishioner. Her volunteer work included Eucharistic Minister, Pastoral worker, Youth Group Leader, “Boat People” Project Coordinator, Girl Guide Leader, and Hospital Volunteer.
At the age of 50, she enrolled in the Sheridan College Registered Practical Nurse program, graduating at the very top of her class. She always had a fondness for the elderly and eventually worked at a retirement home for a number of years.
Denyse was a talented craftsperson. Her artistic endeavors included sewing Barbie and doll clothing, matching outfits for her and her daughters, princess pillows, cushion covers, quilting, knitting, doll-making, and so on. Her personal touches can still be seen throughout our homes.
She was strong. Thanks to her faith and determination she recovered from major spinal surgery in 2021, vowing that should she live for one more year she would take the family to Italy. In 2022 the first Schnoeckel family reunion was held in the Garda Lake Region in Italy where lifelong memories were created.
We are forever grateful and inspired by the support provided during her lifetime, especially during her illness and the last weeks of her life. Thank you to all those who brought communion, said the rosary, sat by her bed, prayed for her, made food, and dropped off gifts and flowers. Your presence made a difference, ensuring she felt loved and supported. We truly believe that this extended her life beyond what the doctors had originally predicted.
She was loving and she was loved. She extended this love to those around her. She went out of her way to reach out to those who needed a friend. Her ability to connect is evidenced by the letters of support received from Italy, Japan, Scotland, France, and Germany. Her love lives on in our hearts.
A sincere thank you to the staff and volunteers at Ian Anderson House who provided loving care to Denyse during her last 6 weeks on earth. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Ian Anderson House.
Friends may call at the Turner and Porter Neweduk- Erin Mills Chapel, 1981 Dundas Street West, Mississauga on Thursday, November 23, 2023, from 6:30- 8 p.m. Rosary prayers 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass and reception are to be held on Friday, November 24th, at 11:30 am at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, 2473 Thornlodge Dr. Mississauga, followed by a reception in the church basement and interment at Assumption Catholic Cemetery 6933 Tomken Road, Mississauga.