Cynthia French

Obituary of Cynthia Douglas French

Cynthia Douglas (Templeton) French - an extraordinary woman who lived life on her own terms, soared away peacefully on Friday, July 28, 2023. Diagnosed only 11 weeks earlier with advanced pancreatic cancer, she bravely chose to embrace the MAiD program to conquer her struggle. She approached her transition to the next adventure with grace, humour, elegance, and wisdom, surrounded by her loving family.

Born in St. John’s, NL, on September 5, 1952, to Robert and Kate Douglas (Winter) Templeton, Cynthia experienced the joys and challenges of a life well-lived, if too short. She leaves behind a legacy of love and family. She is survived by the love of her life, Leslie James French (married February 6, 1971), her children and their families: Steven French (Roberta White) and their children, Aiden and Liam French, and Erina and Max White; Susan French (Joshua Abiscott); and Nancy French. Cynthia is also survived by her sisters and their families: Susan (Ruediger) Pahl and their 3 children, Kathryn Templeton (Carol Greenaway), and Gillian Templeton (John Burger). Their lives have all been enriched by her constant love, guidance, support, and humour.

A lifelong learner, Cynthia graduated High School with Honours from Prince of Wales Collegiate, St. John’s, and immediately launched into university studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, eventually choosing to pause her studies, to prioritize the raising of their three young children. She took great pride in achieving her Certificate in Early Childhood Development (MUN) in 1977. During her 10 years of teaching preschoolers, she often recounted hilarious anecdotes; her skills shone through raising her own children and influencing grandchildren. In the early nineties, Cynthia returned to full-time university at the same time as her three children. In 1995, she earned a BA (Honours), with first-class Honours, in Psychology with a minor in English, from Mount Saint Vincent University.

Cynthia and Les were business partners in Money Wisdom Inc. from 1995 until they sold the business in 2012; Cynthia as Treasurer and accountant for the business, while assisting clients with income tax and Last Will planning, in particular.

Always an avid reader and writer, Cynthia became involved more and more with writing short fiction before switching her focus to poetry. In 2011, she was accepted into the Wired Writing program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, where the seeds of her manuscript called “Barachois” were planted. Her poems were published in many journals and anthologies, and she was an associate editor for Arc Poetry Magazine. The work most recently enjoyed by her family, sadly unfinished, was her memoir. Cynthia and her family gathered around her bedside to read it aloud, sharing laughter and tears, amazed by her memory for details that transported everyone back in time.

Her self-authored biography, from Arc Poetry Magazine, Spring 2022, reads, “Cynthia French lives in Newburne, NS (below the falls, behind the tree farm, on a lake) with her husband of 50 years and their dog. Sometimes she writes poems. Rarely, she sends them into the world. She has been known to work with horses.”

Cynthia’s love extended beyond her biological children. Her closest neighbour, Else Kiesling-Eckel, quickly became like an adopted third daughter, who referred to Cynthia as her “A-Mom”. Her many friends were a valued part of her life – her natural ability to put people at ease and her genuine interest in their stories created deep connections and lasting relationships. She enjoyed a weekly zoom with her sisters, bringing them all even closer, despite the cross-country distances.

Cynthia rejoiced in her home, “Mid-Drumlin”, on Church Lake, where friends and groups of friends were often welcomed for home-cooked food, fun, writing, and friendship (often with a G&T). She and Les enjoyed long walks with Laddie, and swam May 24th to Thanksgiving in the “buoyant” lake. Cynthia delighted in the wonders of nature, especially the calls of the loon.

The medical care provided to Cynthia in her final days was outstanding. The family wishes to thank the South Shore Palliative Care team (Paula Saile RN, Dr. Patricia Caldeira, and Dr. Camille Munro) and the VON Lunenburg County team (especially Tina, Shelby, and Hannah). Special thanks to her Nurse Practitioner Schelene Swinemar. Donations may be made in Cynthia’s memory to, to support their tremendously valuable work.

Cremation has taken place and Celebrations of Life will take place in the fall in NS and next spring in NL. Online condolences may be left by visiting

A favourite poem by Cynthia:


Peel a Satsuma orange.

Hold peel to cheek. Close eyes

and squeeze. Pay attention to what happens

next – that tingle kiss of mist. Essential.

Then breathe.


Cynthia’s parting words:

It's a wonderful world.

Tell everybody.

Be kind.

Share Your Memory of