Heather MacDonald-Bossé, In Memoriam
I honestly couldn’t tell you the difference between New Brunswick, Canada and New Brunswick, New Jersey when I first met Heather MacDonald-Bossé oh so many years ago at Canada Media Marketplace in Manhattan. Sure, I had written regularly on the Atlantic Maritimes, but Nova Scotia had the legendary Cape Breton, Newfoundland was home to the fjords of Gros Morne National Park, and PEI was known for its red cliffs, Anne of Green Gables, and an island long bike trail, the Confederation Trail. New Brunswick to me was just an extension of Maine and didn’t seem so intriguing. Yet, Heather’s love of her province was more than just a job dealing with North American media for Tourism New Brunswick. It was her passion. Knowing my fondness for the outdoors, she quickly persuaded me to come sea kayaking at Fundy National Park, walk Hopewell Rocks, go whale watching out of St. Andrews, and eat as much lobster as I wanted in Shediac. I had a memorable week of touring New Brunswick and wrote several stories from my experience. And for most travel publicists, that would have been it. They did their job convincing me to come and I produced a story or two.
But Heather was not your ordinary travel PR professional. She exuded warmth and would share everything with me about her life; her two daughters, one a successful writer, the other a skilled doctor, and her husband, Don, a highly regarded professor of music. She would send me the published short stories from her daughter, a photo of Don with none other than singer Geddy Lee from the rock band, Rush, after winning a teaching award. Share her love of the Boston Bruins and her good friend, the former coach, Claude Julien. In return, I opened up about my life and she remembered everything. “You’re a Red Sox fan, Steve? Why not come back to New Brunswick and fish the Miramichi, Ted Williams favorite place to fish.” Done. “Steve, you haven’t hiked yet on Grand Manan Island, one of the most serene spots in the province.” Okay. “Steve, I know you savor good food and drink. Why not forage for chanterelles with a French-trained chef on the Acadian Route, then have her cook a memorable meal.” Sold!
I would return to New Brunswick over a half-dozen times, almost every other year, whether on a snowmobile from Maine or on a private jet from Logan Airport. I would go solo, bring my wife, or close friends. Heather would always meet us on every one of those trips to grab a craft brew with me in Moncton, have dinner in Saint John or St. Andrews, or have me over to her house in Fredericton. When I heard of her illness last fall, I made the drive out to Fredericton to see her one last time. Facing the inevitable, she still had that sparkle in her eye, still exuded love, and made damn sure I would return home with stories to write.
So Heather MacDonald-Bossé, I raise a toast to you, taken from us far too early this past Sunday, from the same dreaded disease that took my mom prematurely. Thank you for being the consummate professional and rewarding me with a lifetime of memories and stories to tell. But most importantly, thanks for touching my heart. Yes, I will return to Fredericton to finally go to the Harvest Music Festival and see Don’s band perform. And yes, I will continue to write stories about your beloved New Brunswick.
25 comments on “Heather MacDonald-Bossé, In Memoriam”
Steve, we were all touched by your tribute to Heather. She was a wonderful and caring person. She lived her travel media from the USA and in her two years of illness she continued to talk fondly of all of you. Thank you- Don
Thank you, Don! My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family during this sad time.
What a lovely tribute. Just written far too soon.
There are simply no words to follow this tribute Steve, you truly have captured Heather’s essence and it is so wonderful for you to share it with those who knew and loved her and with those who will wish they had..
Wow Steve! What a wonderful tribute to such an amazing human being – I worked with Heather in Media Relations and yes she was very passionate about her work. It breaks my heart that she was taken so young.
Dear Don, Emily and Jessica, please know that my thoughts are with you.
What a beautiful homage to our beloved Heather. She was loved by anyone who met her.
What a wonderful tribute to my friend and former colleague. Thank you, Steve. You describe her well. She loved what she did — always the last one to leave the office in the evening as she went above and beyond for all of her media clients. She will be missed by many around the world. May she rest in peace. Thank you, Steve, for sharing your memories.
My humble condolences to you and family Don! Wish I could have met Heather, but after reading what Steve had to say, I feel enriched and fulfilled with her life’s passions and know more about her through his description of her. Know that you are not alone and that my thoughts and prayers are with you and yours in this difficult time. May Heather Rest In Peace and know that I care. Shalom my friend!
Oh Steve you started the water works again but in a beautiful way. ❤️
Steve, thank you for writing this piece. You captured mom so very well.
Jessica, you were blessed to have a wonderful mom who adored you. My heart goes out to you and your family during these hard times but I have no doubt that Heather will be a guiding light in your future. Just take time to reflect, observe, and listen.
Dear Don and family,
I am so, so sad to hear this news God bless you. My thoughts and prayers are with you💝
Beautifully said. The light is a little dimmer in NB with Heather gone. She is gone way to soon and will be missed.
Heather gave so much of herself to others and her sense of wonder and curiosity was a gift to everyone she met. Thank you for this glimpse into your friendship.
What a beautiful tribute. Thank you! I had the chance to have my route cross Heather’s while working together, her in Fredericton and me in Paris, promoting our favorite province. We shared the same passion.: Fabulous New Brunswick!! She always had sweet words and would always inspire all of us, with story ideas. Heather, you will be missed, and you are gone to the stars way too early. My thoughts are with your family and friends from Paris. All my love and condoleances.
I’ve known Heather for forty one years, each richer for her friendship. You truly captured her unaffected joy in others, her curiosity and her light. Thank you.
I heard your name so frequently from Heather! Thank-you for such a beautiful tribute to such a beautiful person…you have captured her joy so well.
Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person! I adored Heather so much. She was so warm and fun and funny and loving. And boy, did she adore her family! I remember meeting her sweet daughter who was with her in San Francisco. Heather always made you feel special. Like you mattered. May her memory be for a blessing. My heart is with Heather’s family and all those who loved her.
Thank you all for your kind comments! It’s a testament to how many lives Heather touched and how special she was!
Steve, What a beautiful story in memory of such a beautiful person. Heather will be missed by many and never forgotten. We would love to have you back to visit Fredericton for Harvest and we will all have a toast in Heathers honour while watching Don’s jazz trio play. 💜
Count on it, Mary Ellen!
Her friendship was a true gift. Thanks for sharing insight into yours. I’ m going to miss her terribly Take care, Gillian
Thank you Steve, for capturing the essence of our Heather.
I only just now heard of this sad development. I loved dealing with Heather when she brought guests to the Hopewell Rocks for tours. This happened many times over the years. She was charming, caring, warm and the consummate professional. I would bend over backward for her, not because she necessarily demanded it, but because I sensed the passion and genuine enjoyment that she had for her job and I would never think of ever letting her down. I am so sad to hear of her passing.
Precious soul. Precious tribute. Grateful to have known Heather. She made the wolrd a better place.