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ATLANTIC LIVES: Selfless caring — P.E.I. native lived life to the fullest helping others as a nurse

Rebecca Padilla with her husband, Edward "Eddie" Joseph Lavoie.
Rebecca Padilla with her husband, Edward "Eddie" Joseph Lavoie. - Contributed

All Edward "Eddie" Lavoie ever wanted to do was help other people.

And after nine years of university, he finally got to live that dream.

Lavoie moved from Prince Edward Island to North Carolina and became a registered operating room (OR) nurse, sharing his skills and knowledge to ensure excellent patient care for 20 years at Duke University Hospital.

"One of the doctors he worked with on a day-to-day basis said, 'If Ed is not in the room I would be lost' because he was so organized. He had everything prepared early before the shift, so the team and patients would be well-taken care of throughout the day," said Rebecca Padilla, Lavoie's wife, soulmate, and friend for 17 years (and together 19).

"There is always a hospital' team, so when Edward was in, he would be teamed up with a technician and another nurse, and they often said it was 'a privilege' to work with Ed because of his ‘calm and gentle demeanour," explained Padilla, a nurse herself.

Lavoie was in Puerto Rico on Aug. 23, adding the finishing touches to a small home he had built to retire with his wife, when he died of a tragic accident at age 50.

In condolences, hospital staff described Ed as a "generous person" and a pillar to their service. He had a "strong effect on all young doctors that appreciated the scope of his influence" over the years.

"Remembering Edward is painful and joyful at the same time. As a family, we have cried and laughed together. But it is unbelievable that he is not with us anymore. He had the biggest smile you could ever see, and if he made a commitment, he would always carry it through. There was never any malice – everything was always good," said Padilla.

Eddie Lavoie was in Puerto Rico, building a small home where he planned to retire with his wife, on holiday when he died of a tragic accident at age 50. - SaltWire Network
Eddie Lavoie was in Puerto Rico, building a small home where he planned to retire with his wife, on holiday when he died of a tragic accident at age 50. - SaltWire Network


Excerpt from a poem by Rebecca Padilla about her beloved husband

A dedicated man to the woman he loved. Took on her family and made it his own. He got more than he bargained for but relentlessly honoured his commitment and never wavered.

Created a lifetime of stories filled with journeys and adventures. Making her dreams his own, built her a castle and filled it with love.

Enlaced with love his words for her, his actions and thoughts just thinking of her. Filled her air and heart with happiness and peace.

At fifty, the lad still had childlike features: an innocent smile, kind, and curious blue eyes. Simple conversations and simple pleasures filled his mind. No malice in his thoughts were ever to be found. The odd disappointment but never a grudge. At peace with the man, he had become always honouring the ones he loved. He must be an Angel, you know!


Lavoie's mother, Karen, said, "He did not have a bad bone in his body."

After work, Lavoie would pull on his athletic shoes and reconnect with nature.

"He would rise early to have the boat and tackle ready, and all I had to do was jump in the truck. Fishing was a hobby we shared, but it was his passion," said Padilla.

"And that goes back to when he was young," added Andre Lavoie while remembering his son, aged four, fishing by his side in Rustico, PEI.

"He had more patience than anyone I knew, and it wasn't a matter of catching a fish or even the size – it was about enjoying the outdoors with loved ones."

Fishing was Eddie Lavoie's passion that he inherited from his father, Andre. But it was not all about the catch or size; rather, it was time spent with family that mattered. - SaltWire Network
Fishing was Eddie Lavoie's passion that he inherited from his father, Andre. But it was not all about the catch or size; rather, it was time spent with family that mattered. - SaltWire Network

Lavoie's enthusiasm for the outdoors continued into gardening, with substance and style.

"He had two green thumbs, growing everything from broccoli, carrots, and beets. He nursed his plants until they thrived and was always buying more. Agave was one of his favourite plants. When people visited, the garden and the towering banana tree were always the highlights. Edward then would give guests a small plant," said Padilla.

Every summer, the couple returned to visit family in PEI for two weeks.

"We had wonderful times together just enjoying each other's company," said Andre. "We would fish for mackerel in and around Rustico, as well as dig for clams, canoe, and boat. Edward cherished this area where his grandparents lived and where we moved six years ago (from Cornwall, PEI)."

Andre added, "Edward was more than a son; he was my friend. He was so easy to be with, and we had so much fun together. We also worked hard together. But he loved family, and that is something I will always remember."

Karen said her son "knew how to live a balanced life with work and family. He managed his time well."A private funeral will be held at Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church, North Rustico, on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 10:30 a.m. The funeral will be live streamed on the Central Queen's Funeral Home Facebook page.


Obituary for Edward Lavoie


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