Jacqueline “Jackie” Monty Rivard, a Manchester hairdresser for 55 years, is being remembered as a larger-than-life character with a big personality, a passion for life and her chosen career, and someone known for her compassionate ways and generosity.
The always impeccably groomed Rivard had a vivacious personality and “didn’t know what an uncomfortable silence was,” laughed her daughter, Joy Rivard, who worked alongside her mother at Hairloom on Hanover Street.
Rivard, 82, of Bedford, died Sunday from injuries she suffered in a March 22 crash on Orange Street. Rivard was driving her 2010 Toyota Corolla when she ran a stop sign and crashed into a 2009 Nissan Murano driven by Eric Rollins, 30, of Hooksett, according to police.
Rivard’s 95-year-old passenger and close friend, Isabella Bellemare of Nashua, is recuperating from broken ribs and a fractured pelvis, according to Joy Rivard. She calls Bellemare “Ma Tante” — French for “my aunt” — even though they are not related. Bellemare is expected to recover although it may take a long time.
Rivard said the concern is that Bellemare, who lives alone, regain her appetite so she will be able to care for herself. On Tuesday, Rivard’s daughter brought her some liverwurst, a favorite of Bellemare’s, in hopes the elderly woman would eat.
In the meantime, the Rivard family is preparing to remember the vivacious Jackie Rivard at a wake Friday at Petit Funeral Home in Suncook and at a funeral Saturday morning at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Suncook’s Main Street.
At 82, Rivard still kept her scissors snipping away one day a week when she returned to her old salon, Hairloom, and became “Boss Lady” once again, Joy Rivard laughed. The woman who had cut, colored and coiffed hundreds of women’s hair for more than five decades still had about 11 loyal clients who wanted her to do her magic. And she gladly accommodated them.
Her mother joked that she really had to find another career because her clients were either dying or in nursing homes. She’d often go to nursing homes to tend to the needs of those special clients.
John O’Donnell, who used to own O’Donnell’s restaurant in Bedford and who knew Rivard for decades, said she was quite a character. “‘I’ll slow down when I’m dead,’ she used to say,” he chuckled. However, he wondered if that was an appropriate thing for a news article, considering her death.
Joy Rivard believes her mother would love it.
Her mother was the pillar and strength for so many, she said. She remembers a Christmas when there were 14 people at her home celebrating the holiday with her mother, herself and her sister. The others had no place to go, and Rivard graciously welcomed them into her home.For many years, Rivard ran Jolie Madame Beauty Salon on Elm Street and later became owner of Hairloom, which was located on Pearl Street for 21 years before relocating to its present site on Hanover Street.
She later sold the salon, where her daughter still works, but she never fully retired. Joy said the family always joked that she had some form of attention deficit disorder because she was always on the go.
When spring cleaning came round, Joy Rivard said her mother would be at it all day, staying up until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning to make sure everything was spic-and-span.
Rivard was born in Suncook, moved to Auburn and then to Bedford. She graduated from Houle’s Beauty Academy. She married Mike Rivard and they had two daughters. He died when Joy was 4, more than 40 years ago.
Rivard never remarried.
“She had dated, but she didn’t want anything full time,” Joy Rivard said. “She said she did it once and that was enough for her. She was a firecracker.”
Rivard, a hairdresser for more than half a century, knew a lot of people, her daughter said.
“She’s going to be missed,” she said.