Farewell to our father and the best friend one could ever have.
Mongeon, Dr. Lawrence Joseph, passed away at the age of 95, from respiratory complications due to a stroke suffered on March 12, 2014, surrounded by his children and grandchildren at St. Jude Hospital. His four children, Dr. Robert Mongeon, Michael Mongeon, Rosemary Richards and Joanne Puszert, plus seven grandchildren, and four great grandchildren survive Larry.
He was the second oldest child in a family of five, four brothers and one sister. He was born in Expanse, Saskatchewan, a town that no longer exists near Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada. He grew up in Pangman, Saskatchewan, a very small railroad town of about 90 inhabitants, mostly grain farmers and their families. At this time in his life there was no plumbing, no local fresh water, no electricity, no paved roads, and no refrigeration. It was a three-mile trip across the prairie by day to load barrels with fresh water once a week. Kerosene lamps were the only light source.
Although his father (Magloire Joseph Mongeon) came from a farming family, he chose a course in business. He became the bank manager for the local bank located in a one-room building. When the Great Depression hit in early 1930, and the bank was taken over by the Imperial Bank of Canada, he was the only employee there to retain his position. He worked hard and saved throughout the depression and, amazingly, college educated all five of his children!
About this time, Larry first acquired his love for the piano, encouraged by his mother (Anne Claremont Mongeon) who played the organ at Sunday mass in Pangman and taught her son to play. As a young man, Larry considered pursuing music as a career.
At age 13, Larry went to Campion College (Jesuit school) in Regina, Saskatchewan, about ninety long, hard, dirt roads miles away from Pangman. He rarely saw his family during those years. He practiced for hours every day encouraged by the Jesuit priests who recognized his talent. At age 18, he graduated from Campion College and returned to Pangman. He taught in a one-room prairie elementary school house near Pangman, teaching grades first through eighth.
The following year, Larry entered medical school at The University of Manitoba. In 1941 he met our mother, Doris and they married. He served his internship at Winnipeg General Hospital and then entered general practice in Winnipeg in the fall of 1945 after six months in the Canadian Army until the war ended. He was also an instructor in the anatomy department at The University of Manitoba School of Medicine.
Soon after entering the practice of medicine, the four children came in short order, four in five years. Larry and Doris acquired a 2-story house (with a basement) to raise their children in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
After ten years of General Practice and much family discussion, Larry, with the encouragement of Doris, decided to pursue a career in Neurosurgery. He was accepted at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, in Neurosurgery. Doris and family later followed. Earning his board certification in Neurosurgery in 1958, Larry moved his family to Sunny Hills Fullerton, CA. Back then, Sunny Hills was composed of orange and lemon groves.
Larry held the prestigious honor of being the only Neurosurgeon on staff at several hospitals: Garden Grove, Fullerton Community, Anaheim Memorial, Placentia Linda, but primarily St. Jude Hospital. He also served on the on the OC Neurological Society 1957-87 and held a term as president. Besides being a vessel of healing and a Doctor who touched many lives in different ways; his reputation as a skilled surgeon resulted in his appointment as the local neurosurgeon to be contacted if services were needed when Presidents Nixon & Reagan were in town.
At 95, Larry knew he enjoyed a full life with his family and friends. Larry and Doris would often travel with their children (domestically and internationally); something they both enjoyed immensely. It seemed that there was always a piano at the hotel, restaurant, club or party. Larry would start playing and soon capture everyone's heart and soul with his musical talents.
Towards the end, Larry communicated that life had dealt him the best of all personal and family experiences and that most of all; he had been blessed with the love of his family.
Funeral services will be held May 1, 2014, 10:00AM at St Angela Merci Catholic Church, 585 S. Walnut Ave, Brea, CA 92821.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations being sent to St Jude Memorial Foundation, PO BOX 4138, Fullerton, CA 92835.