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Estevan woman remembered for her ‘zeal for life’

Tessier and her husband Darrel loved to travel and meet people.
Leigh-Ann Tessier of Estevan was known for her cheerful outlook on life.

ESTEVAN - The Estevan woman who died in a motorcycle crash in North Dakota on May 28 is being remembered for her enjoyment of being around people and a desire to live life to the fullest.

Leigh-Ann Tessier, 43, was killed and her 42-year-old husband Darrel was seriously injured when the motorcycle they were riding was struck by a pick-up truck east of Fortuna. Both Tessiers were wearing helmets when the collision occurred.

Leigh-Ann Tessier’s mother Sandra McGillicky said her daughter “had a zest for life” and an approach to “live life to the fullest”.

“And that she did,” said McGillicky in an email to the Mercury.

Whether it was riding a motorcycle or traveling in a vehicle, McGillicky said Tessier loved exploring back roads, looking for old, abandoned buildings and farmhouses, stopping to take pictures, and wondering about who had lived there at one time and what their lives were like.   

Those who were friends with Tessier on Facebook saw the couple’s adventures. People who went to her home saw a collage of travel photos.

“She loved to smile, and when she did, she lit up the darkest corners of a room,” said McGillicky. “She loved to dance as there were many videos of her dancing and singing, which she didn’t do well, but she did it anyway. She loved to dress up for any occasion. She was all about the clothes, the jewelry and the wild hair colours.”  

Tessier would talk to anyone, about anything, but travelling was her favourite subject.

“Her and Darrel loved to travel, especially into Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, with the Black Hills being her favourite place, and she always said that someday they would buy a house in Deadwood and live there. 

“She was drawn to the Black Hills and over the years spent a lot of time there, making tons of friends that were more like her family than they were her friends.” 

She had a tattoo on her arm that read: “I figure if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead & be one.” McGillicky said her daughter became a legend.

Tessier worked at the Southern Plains Co-op in Estevan for 18 years, and McGillicky said her daughter loved seeing customers coming in, smiling at them, talking with them and asking them how their day was going. 

“She truly was a beautiful, bright shining star,” McGillicky said.

Darrel Tessier has been receiving care at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, N.D., where he is still being treated for his injuries.

The Southern Plains Co-op said in a Facebook post that her death left the staff “all deeply shaken and mourning her loss”.

Tessier was an integral part of their grocery store team since she started working for the co-op.

“She was a bright and shining light, a huge Rider fan and loved to dress up for any occasion or holiday,” the co-op said.

The co-op is planning to do something as a legacy to honour her time with the co-op and the impact she made. 

McGillicky said memories remind us that nothing lasts forever, that people can be happy one moment and sad the next

“Time is precious and should not be wasted,” she said.

The incident remains under the investigation by the North Dakota State Highway Patrol, and charges against the pick-up truck driver are pending.