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Letters from Home: Dear and Beloved Friend, Madeline (Stark) Mose

by Patricia Heffernan

Dear Aunt Linda,

I know you were saddened, just as we were, to hear of the passing of Madeline Mose.

Dad was honored to be asked to speak at the Royal Canadian Legion Memorial Service held in celebration of her life. Madeline was a World War II Veteran, a Life Member and Past President of the Ladies Auxiliary R.C.L. Branch #77, Lakefield. Her comrades and her family honored her with a beautiful, moving and joy filled service.

As per your request, I am sending a copy of Dad’s memories of his dear and beloved friend as a keepsake.

As sad as the occasion is, memories of Madeline and Jack Mose will inevitably make you smile and they live on in our hearts forever.

With love from your niece,


My Dear and Beloved Friend, Madeline (Stark) Mose

Kevin T. Heffernan

I first met Madeline when I was fourteen years old. I delivered the Globe and Mail to the home on Nassau Street where she and Jack lived. My first impression of Madeleine was that she was a very kind person who had a great deal of respect for young people. I still remember clearly that she spoke to me on her level.

When I was sixteen, Jack and Madeline lived on Concession Street, not far from our own home. My mother suggested that I try to get some work with Jack Mose, the electrician. When I knocked on their door at noon one day, Jack wasn’t there, but Madeline said, “Come back tonight, I think Jack will hire you.” He did hire me and so began my sixty five year career as an electrician and a life-long friendship with a very special couple.

When Jack took a job with a Toronto based company, we had to leave Lakefield each morning at 4 a.m. to meet a group in Peterborough to travel to Havelock and, from there we made the two mile trek into the mine.

Madeleine told me, “Don’t get your mother up at that hour in the morning. You can come here for breakfast.” And she cooked breakfast for us each morning of that three month job.

On another job Jack and I worked at, there were two other fellows, Frank and Johnny, working alongside us. Both were good fellows, but Frank always seemed to be doing all the heavy lifting and carrying. One day when Frank was loaded down with more heavy equipment than usual with Johnny following along empty handed, Jack called out, “How do you like working alone, Frank?”

Many years before all this, Jack and Madeline had dated each other, prior to enlisting. They parted on the mutual agreement that they were free to date other people. Jack joined the army and went overseas and Madeline joined the air force and served in Montreal.

Sergeant Jack Mose was responsible for laying communications cables behind enemy lines at night and he had many men in his care and command. Most importantly, he had the admiration and respect of them all. When any of these men were injured or going on leave, Jack called Madeline and told her to meet them when they arrived in Montreal. On many nights, Madeline met these young soldiers down at the dark docks in Montreal and helped them to find medical care or lodging.

They say it takes a Village to raise a child. Madeline knew this long before these words were ever spoken. As one of eight children raised in Keene by Jenny and Robert Stark, Madeline always spoke of her parents and her siblings with fondness and love.

She spoke of her four sons with pride and their families were a source of great happiness, support and pleasure for her.

Her eleven grandchildren and her nine great grandchildren, who brought such delight into her life, carry on the fine and respected legacy she and Jack have left behind.

My wife, Barbara, and I enjoyed many wonderful times with Jack and Madeline through the years, who took great pleasure in stories, laughter and always gave special attention to children and young people.

They were at our house one night when Barbara called out the window to our son, Kevin, to come in for dinner. When Kevin protested, saying that his friends were outside, Barbara called back, “I don’t care if the Pope’s out there, it’s time to come in for dinner!”

Jack laughed as hard as I have ever seen him laugh that day and he often reminded Barbara of it through the years.

Jack dropped by the house one day when my daughter, Patricia, had a lemonade stand set up in the front yard. I saw them chatting for a few minutes and then Jack arrived inside laughing out loud. He said that when he’d asked how much the lemonade was, Patricia said, “How much have you got?”

Laughter, conversation and hospitality was plentiful at the Mose homestead where Madeline always kept a deck of cards ready on the table in the hope of a spontaneous game of euchre.

One day when I was at their house helping Jack put ductwork in to change the furnace, Madeline arrived home crying because she had been in a car accident.

Jack kindly brought her a chair, patted her shoulder and said, “Oh, that’s all right, dear.” Then, just as Madeline would start to compose herself, Jack would say, “Well, it’s all right, dear, but do you think it might have been your fault..?” And the crying would start all over again.

Madeline told me about one night when Jack didn’t come home until very late and she was seething! To make her point, she locked the bedroom door and went to bed. The next morning she woke up to find Jack sound asleep beside her, the door pegs were laying on the floor and the bedroom door was leaning against the wall. She laughed about that night many times through the years.

More than thirty years after the day Madeline told me she thought Jack would hire me, my daughter, Michelle, worked with her at the Lakefield Pharmacy. Michelle developed a close friendship with Madeline and often commented that she was such a bright light at work. Michelle has fond memories of lunch time walks and talks with her along the river where Madeline told her all about how she had met the handsome Italian with the nice, black, curly hair.

So, on this day, after years of kindness, caring, laughter and friendships, after helping a kid from down the street get started in his career so that he could go on to provide for a family of his own, after ensuring the welfare of many young soldiers arriving on the docks of Montreal so they could return home to their futures, after serving her country in honorable and courageous ways so that we can all pass a legacy of liberty on to future generations, after years of devotion to the Legion and to our community, after raising a beautiful and well respected family of children and grandchildren who continue to leave the Stark-Mose mark on our community and, after touching the lives of every person in this room today in remarkable and lasting ways, Madeline is enjoying a well earned rest and a winning hand of euchre with Jack.

Perhaps, the saying should go – “It takes a Lady and her Sergeant to raise a Village.”

Dear Patricia:

What a wonderful tribute to a great lady, and how nice for your dad to deliver it in his most charming way. Her family must have been so pleased and touched.

I remember Madeline and Jack a bit from years ago and hearing your mom and dad speak of them. But to hear this little story about their life was so interesting.

What a life; what a couple!

Thanks for sharing, Trisha.

Til later,

Love, Aunt Linda (Leondard) Pearson

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