Audrey Jean LeLievre

Audrey Jean LeLievre, 96, of Sault Ste. Marie, MI, died December 18, 2021. Audrey was born March 16, 1925, at War Memorial Hospital, which is also where she died.

She is survived by her children Terry (Janine Anderson) of Port Townsend, WA; Kay Winter of Harbor Springs, MI; and Roger LeLievre of Ann Arbor and Sault Ste. Marie, MI. She is also survived by her grandson Michael B. Winter of San Francisco, CA, and her brother John R. (Jack) Chown of Escanaba, MI. Another brother, Donald M. Chown of Ann Arbor, MI, and a sister, Margaret Ann Hogler of Green Bay, WI, predeceased her. She leaves numerous nieces and nephews with whom she had close relationships.

Here is a part of Audrey’s story, told in her own words: “I have almost always lived in Sault Ste. Marie, where I graduated from Sault High School (Class of 1942), married and raised my family. However, I spent my first 12 years on Lime Island, a freighter fueling station in the lower St. Marys River. My father and mother, William R. and Margaret (McLeod) Chown, and my grandparents, William A. and Alice (Newton) Chown, lived there as well. Everyone who lived on the island worked for the coal company that owned the island. My mother taught school there, as well as in Stalwart and Goetzville. My family moved to the Soo when it was time for us to attend high school. After graduation, I was lucky enough to be hired by the City of Sault Ste. Marie as a clerk in the Justice Court in the old City Hall on Ashmun Street. I stayed until I married and started a family. In 1957, I returned to the work force, working for the city of Sault Ste. Marie as a stenographer in the City Clerk’s office. I later became Deputy Clerk and then City Clerk/Purchasing Agent in 1978, a position I held for 15 years, until retiring in 1993 – 33 years in all.”

A woman in what was traditionally considered a man’s job, she became such an expert in the workings of local government that “Ask Audrey” was often heard around City Hall. Until recently, she continued to watch city commission meetings on TV, and remained keenly interested in the city’s politics and growth. She was named VWF Post 3676 Business and Professional Women’s Citizen of the Year in 1985. In addition to her professional career, she was on the Eastern Upper Peninsula Mental Health Board and represented St. James Episcopal Church for 10 years as a board member/treasurer for Church Women United. She was co-president of the local chapter of Episcopal Church Women, a member of the Altar Guild, a lay reader and usher at St. James, and for 17 years was a member of the War Memorial Hospital Ladies Auxiliary. She was always involved in organizing the annual Class of 1942 reunion. The Sault chapter of Business and Professional Women honored Audrey as an outstanding careerist in 1993. She was also a member of many local groups, including the Chippewa County Historical Society and Sault Historic Sites, for which she served for several years as the city’s representative.

After retiring, she became involved in her son Roger’s business as secretary and treasurer of Marine Publishing Co., from which she never really retired. Until recently she was always willing to drop off a dozen “Know Your Ships” books at local gift shops. Audrey enjoyed getting out and about in the community she served for so many years, talking to people and seeing what was new. She also enjoyed travel in retirement, mostly with or to visit family and friends, from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe, Gulf Shores, Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula. With Terry and Janine, she cruised Alaska’s Inside Passage, toured the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu and Maui, and experienced the grandeur of the American Southwest, including the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Lake Powell. With Kay and her grandson Michael, she vacationed in the Carolinas and in Naples, Fl. With Roger, she cruised on a Great Lakes passenger ship and also enjoyed a trip on the storied Great Lakes vessel Arthur M. Anderson.

Fiercely independent, Audrey lived alone until 2019, when a stroke made it necessary to relocate to Freighter View Assisted Living, where she enjoyed sitting on the front porch watching the boats go by. Always generous, Audrey gave of her time to others whenever there was a need, whether asked to or not. She had a knack for making friends everywhere she went by finding out what they had in common. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother and will be missed by many.

The family would like to thank the outstanding staff at the War Memorial Hospital ER as well as the second-floor nurses, the Rev. Bob Aldrich, and the staff of Freighter View Assisted Living for their care and compassion. A celebration of Audrey’s life will be held this coming summer. Memorials may be made to Hospice of the EUP, St. James Episcopal Church or the charity of your choice.

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