No family remained to attend parents’ funerals: “It was heartbreaking”
By Robert Frank
After James and Olive Cashion lost their only child during World War II, their son’s friends “adopted” the couple for the remaining four decades of their lives.
“He and his NDG school buddies from the 1920s to the early 1940s were great outdoorsmen,” said Alex, who asked that his family name remain confidential.
Alex knew the Cashions while growing up in Roxboro, where he attended Riverdale High School. Now residing in Texas, he learned from a reader of The Suburban that the town of Charleval, France, plans to honour their son, Allan Cashion’s, sacrifice, June 28.
“The Cashions were like grandparents, we saw them for dinner in À Ma Baie every Sunday,” he told The Suburban in a telephone interview.
“Although I never met Allan Cashion,” he said, “through them I knew him well, as one of my Dad’s best friends.”
His father, Norm, served in the Canadian Army during World War II, “but he always said that Allan thought that the Royal Canadian Air Force was more debonair.”
After the war was over, Norm and his wife Frankie took care of the Cashions, “for many, many years.”
“During the mid-1970s, we moved them into a ground floor apartment at the corner of St. John and Pierrefonds boulevards,” Alex remembered.
“The Cashions never owned a car,” he explained. “As a young driver in the 1970s, that meant that there was always an excuse for me to use the family car to take Mr. and Mrs. Cashion somewhere—whether they needed to or not. It was great!”
“Sadly, Mrs. Cashion passed away at home in the late 1970s,” he continued. “We moved Mr. Cashion into a nursing home at the corner of Pierrefonds and Gouin boulevards, where he lived for several more years.”
“Norm arranged the funerals for both of them,” he recalled. “We were the only ones there. It was heartbreaking.”
Alex said that Mr. Cashion, who retired from the Montreal Star in the early 1950s, bequeathed him his war medals and Mrs. Cashion’s wedding ring which, 30 years ago, he offered to his wife as an engagement ring.
“It has not been off her finger since.”