Harriet B. Gagnon, age 79 of Naugatuck, CT passed away unexpectedly on February 28, 2020. For those who met her later in life she may have appeared reserved and quiet but those who knew and loved her through-out her life knew that she was a strong woman who always did what she could for those she loved. Harriet always wanted to make a good life for her children, to be a good daughter, sister, aunt and grandmother. She did her best to raise her 3 beloved children on her own; to make sure that they had food, clothes and a roof over their heads. That meant her famous Tuna Casserole more often than her children liked, “seconds” sneakers from downstairs at Uniroyal Rubber, and a cramped apartment for 4 people; but there was always love. Harriet was excellent at buying gifts on layaway and paying on them for months so there were always presents under the tree at Christmas. She kept the “prizes” that came in cereal boxes so that the stockings were stuffed, not only with delicious popcorn balls and candy canes but with fun toys that her children would fight over on Christmas day. She was also really great about not getting angry when her children would bring home a big, fresh cut Christmas tree to replace the Charlie Brown tree she insisted on putting up each year. Secretly her children think she did that on purpose so that she would get a bigger tree!
Harriet took great pride in securing a job as a factory worker at Naugatuck Glass Company after her youngest child left home and even participated on the safety team to ensure all of her coworkers could work in a safe and healthy environment.
Harriet enjoyed visiting her family in Vermont and Maine, playing cards and talking about days gone by with her 4 brothers and 3 sisters. Some of her happiest moments were those spent with her family simply enjoying the time together. She also loved country music and passed down her love for country music to her children.
If there is one thing to absolutely, without a doubt, know about Harriet is that through her entire lifetime…. she tried. There was so much love in her and if you took the time to try to get to know her, it shone as bright as the sun. Later in life, as her mind got a bit cloudy and details weren’t so very clear any longer, she chose to live life on her terms and was where she was happy and where she felt safe. Even then she would never end a visit or a telephone conversation without saying “I Love You”. The world will be a much different place for those who loved her but Heaven has truly gained an angel as have all of us who remain here on Earth waiting for our Heavenly Father’s call home.
Harriet is survived by her children, James Gagnon and his partner Tanya of Naugatuck, CT, Michael Gagnon and his wife Jan of Bristol, CT and Pamela Poulin of Lake Worth, FL. Also, by her sisters, Bunny Kindle of Oxford, CT and Fern Ardry of Owensboro, KY, 5 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded by her parents, Katherine and Klondis Strode, her sister Alta Strode and brothers, Carl Strode, Donald Strode, Emerson Strode and George Strode.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to: Alzheimer’s Association CT. Chapter, 200 Executive Blvd. S. #4B, Southington, CT 06489.
A Celebration of Harriet’s Life will be held at the discretion of the family.