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Published on June 25th, 2020


Tribute to André Gustave Joël Lafargue

By: Martha Vowles

The community of Canadian speech-language pathologists and audiologists has lost a shining light, a wise mentor, a spirited advocate and a dear friend. 

André Gustave Joël Lafargue, passed away on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 in Fredericton at the age of 67.

Born and brought up on the island of Saint-Pierre, André was proud of his heritage and culture, and took every opportunity to promote the French islands of St. Pierre-et-Miquelon, off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, as a tourist destination. 

He came to Canada in 1969 as an international student and obtained a B.Sc. (1971), B.A. (1971), an M.A. in Linguistics (1974) at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a M.Sc. (1976) in Audiology and Speech Sciences at the University of British Columbia. 

André was a pioneer in audiology and speech-language pathology in the Atlantic provinces. He launched his career at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre where he established speech-language pathology and audiology services. His energy, commitment, and influence reverberated around the province. In 1978, he became one of the founding members of the Newfoundland Speech and Hearing Association. It was also in Grand Falls, NL where he met and married the love of his life, Lynn.

André moved to Fredericton in 1987 with Lynn and their three daughters, to take up the position of Manager of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital. 

A strong believer in the importance of service to his profession, he contributed a tremendous amount of time and energy in a variety of capacities, including terms as president of his professional associations in both NL and NB, and president of our national association (1986-87). 

In 2014, he received a lifetime achievement award from Speech-Language & Audiology Canada for his many contributions, notably his advocacy for programs such as newborn hearing screening, community and school-based speech language pathologists, the noisy toys campaign, and classroom audio enhancement systems. Upon his retirement from public service in 2012, he made the transition to the private sector, building Avenir Hearing’s Fredericton clinic. André drew great professional and personal fulfillment from his role in facilitating human connection through enhanced communication. 

In addition to his many professional accomplishments, André was a gifted photographer. His other passions included genealogy, travel, good food and fine wine. He and Lynn loved to dance. They often displayed their skill on the dance floor to the delight of attendees at professional conferences over the years. More recently, he embraced the role of “Papi” to Liam and Jakob with his usual devotion. Those of us who knew André would agree that his mother’s endearing nickname of “la tornade” (tornado) suited him well. 

On a personal note, I had the privilege of working alongside André in Grand Falls, NL for three years in the mid-1980’s. His energy and enthusiasm were infectious and inspiring. He accepted life’s gifts and approached its challenges with equal measures of gusto. 

André is survived by his wife, Lynn; his mother, Anita Sollier Lafargue; daughters, Chantal (Guillaume), Sylvie (Kris), and Joëlle; and grandsons, Liam and Jakob. He is predeceased by his grandparents, Ferdinand and Anita Sollier, Gustave and Louise Lafargue; his father, Gustave Lafargue; and older brother, Roland Lafargue.

A celebration of life will occur on the island of Saint-Pierre at a later date.

Gifts can be made to the oncology or audiology and speech language pathology departments through the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital Foundation or a charity of choice. 

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