Maureen Baufeldt

Maureen Baufeldt: 1942 – 2011

It is with great sadness that we announce that Maureen Baufeldt, beloved wife and mother, respected business owner and cherished friend, passed away at Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston on the morning of Monday, June 27th, 2011. She suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and succumbed to a recent lung infection. She was 69.

Moving to the country

Maureen and Jim Baufeldt operated a number of successful businesses since moving to Violet Hill from Toronto in 1974. A designer and master millworker, Jim renovated the church into a home, the Orange Lodge into a warehouse and eventually the store that is now Granny Taught Us How & Heidi’s Room, and finally, the schoolhouse into Mrs. Mitchell’s Restaurant.

This final project recalled the couple’s common history in the restaurant business and Mrs. Mitchell’s – named for the last teacher at the schoolhouse – became a sanctuary, especially for Maureen. Little has changed since the doors opened in March of 1980. Servers no longer wear the period costumes of Colonial Williamsburg and the gardens have grown, but the interior décor is the same, the hours of operation are the same, and the menu has always been traditional and consistently top quality. And people still innocently call Maureen “Mrs. Mitchell”.

Maureen brought a keen business sense to all enterprises.Uncompromising on principle, she always ensured high standards of quality and operated with integrity. Anyone who has enjoyed a meal at Mrs. Mitchell’s Restaurant or a shop at Granny Taught Us How will attest to the consistent level of excellence that Maureen insisted on for her customers.

The genuine article

No one will deny that Maureen was one tough lady. She faced challenges in her earlier life that would make most people cower and retreat, but Maureen turned them into a determination to live a forthright and productive life. Later, not even a cancer diagnosis could dent her irrepressible spirit.

She expected integrity from others as well.She neither suffered fools nor minced words. This was sometimes interpreted as a different kind of tough,but those closest to her know that it was just pure, unfiltered honesty in response to whatever was happening in the moment. She wasn’t all serious business, either. Maureen had a wicked sense of humour and a lively appetite for drama. With her quick wit and sharp tongue, she always left a lasting impression on people.

The thousands of cards and letters of thanks over the years are testament to the unique role that Maureen played in the milestones of so many lives.

A family’s loss of limb

Jim, Heidi and Maureen

Jim, Heidi and Maureen

Though small in stature, the loss of this larger-than-life personality creates a huge void that will be felt far beyond the tiny Hamlet of Violet Hill, but nowhere more profoundly than in the hearts of her closest family.

Imagine a three-legged stool. This was the foundation of the Baufeldt family: Jim, Maureen and Heidi. Jim and Maureen did everything together; they spent every day together. Their love for each other was evident any time you talked to either of them about the other. Jim reminisces about the tales Maureen liked to tell in the dining room or the intoxicating energy she would have for things that enthused her.

Heidi and her mom were like two sides of the same coin – sometimes pointed in different directions but always had each other’s back. They respected each other as equals and made a peerless team in the dining room. Working together six days a week, 50 weeks a year practically since Heidi was seven years old, the line between mother and daughter sometimes blurred, and they shared a bond that few will ever know. Heidi credits her mom with making her who she is today – a strong person with resolve, discerning taste and a work ethic that would challenge a horse!

Now that one of the legs is missing from the stool, the two who remain strive to find a new balance, bolstered by dedicated staff and the continued patronage of our loyal customers and friends.

As Heidi bravely states, “We will carry on.”

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