The Book of Soden

Australia : Part 2 

Roberta Violet Soden Machnik
Roberta, who was born on December 21, 1920, died peacefully at her home in St. Bruno, QC., November 3, 2021. She lived to be 100 years old! Roberta was predeceased by her husband Stan in 2016, and is survived by her four children, Stephen (Wendy), Joan (Fofana), Paul (Bess) and Philip; her four grandchildren, Kika (Dimitri), Jasper (Brigitte), Simon (Pam), and Maica (Mitch); and her two greatgrandchildren, Luca, and Vienna. She was predeceased by her brother James Arthur Soden. Her father, Robert Bowden Soden, was an Irish immigrant to Canada. Her mother, Violet McNamara Soden, grew up in Bedford QC. Roberta obtained her B.A. at Marguerite Bourgeois in 1941, and during the war worked at DIL, Marconi, and Ayerst. Roberta and Stan were both impacted by the years of the depression, the loss of two of her uncles in WWI, and by her own father’s health, which was affected by the same war. As a result, they were both led to create the Thomas More Institute, along with three other founding members in 1945. These were small group, discussion-oriented, university-level courses. They were designed particularly for returning veterans and later for diverse groups of business, labour, and seniors. Degrees were originally granted by the Université de Montréal and later by Bishop’s University. They served thereafter in a leadership capacity for more than seventy years and until recently Roberta held the position of governor. In 1956 Roberta and Stan received Hungarian refugees into their community and their home and taught them English. She was the first female School Commissioner in the Catholic system in Quebec (1960-72). She received the Order of Merit from the Catholic School Commission in 1967, and they both received the City of St. Bruno's Ordre du Merit in 1986. In addition, she and Stan were involved in the creation of St. Augustine’s parish in St. Bruno, for which they cared deeply. After she completed her B.A., she had the option of continuing her studies in the medical field but preferred to focus on education and family. Because of her rare appreciation for the humanities and natural sciences, Fr. Eric O’Connor, the director at TMI, asked her to lead the scientific based courses. She was also a member of TMI’s Research Institute and received certificates for her work in mathematics, Bernard Lonergan, and Eric
Voegelin. Roberta was loved by many and returned that love with a life-long devotion to education. She will be greatly missed especially by her children for her love, sense of humour, and her very perceptive mind. After seventy-two years of marriage, we imagine that she will be happy to be reunited with the love
of her life. She will also be missed by the hundreds of people whose lives she impacted, through the Thomas More, teachers, her church, and people in the community. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of choice. Your prayers are appreciated. We also thank our sister Joan’s very loving
care of our mother during these last years. A reception will be held at the Coopérative funéraire du Grand Montréal, 635, boul. Curé-Poirier Ouest, Longueuil (Qc), J4J 2H8, Tuesday, November 18 from 4-8 p.m. (Masks are required). A commemorative mass will be held December 11, 11 a.m. at St. Augustine of
Canterbury Church, 105 rue de Cherbourg, St. Bruno.