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Woman dies in rollover
56-year-old Florence Rose Tambour had returned to North last year from San Francisco

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Monday, April 11, 2016

The victim of a fatal motor vehicle accident last week on the Hay River Reserve is being remembered as a residential school survivor who went on to become an entrepreneur in the United States.

NNSL photo/graphic

Florence Rose Tambour was the victim of a fatal traffic accident on March 29 on the Hay River Reserve. - photo courtesy of Sean Tambour Marshall

The victim was identified by her family as 56-year-old Florence Rose Tambour of Hay River.

According to an RCMP news release, the Hay River detachment received a report of a single motor vehicle rollover on the Hay River Reserve at approximately 9:20 a.m. on March 29.

According to the police, a 1999 Toyota 4Runner had apparently lost control and rolled on the road between the New Village and the Old Village.

There were two occupants in the vehicle.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 34-year-old male was treated for injuries and released from hospital later that day.

As of last week, the cause of the accident remained under investigation.

"The vehicle did become out of control and rolled on the roadway several times," said Const. Samuel Holm, the media liaison officer for the south district of the RCMP's G-Division, adding the vehicle then rolled off the roadway.

Holm was unable to provide many details about the accident, such as who may have been driving the vehicle and whether the occupants were wearing seatbelts.

"We've gained as much information as we can at this time," he said. "We believe we have a general idea, however we wouldn't want to come to any conclusions. We'll wait until the full investigation is complete."

Born on what is now the Hay River Reserve, Tambour spent her early years in the NWT, and later moved to San Francisco where she remained until returning North in 2015.

Her son, Sean Tambour Marshall, of San Francisco said his mother owned a limousine company in the California city, and also worked full time in law firms, where she moved up the ranks from secretary to accountant.

"She really cared about being productive," he said. "She was very driven and focused with her working profession."

Marshall said his mother was born into a poor family, which she was later forcibly separated from, and sent to a number of residential schools in the NWT. Her son said this was heartbreaking and traumatic for her.

"She actually escaped from a residential school once," he said. "She was like 10 or 11, and they planned and got rations and resources, and executed that plan and escaped, which I'm really proud of."

Marshall said his mother was also sent to a number of group homes.

Through it all, she preserved her South Slavey language.

After getting out of the residential schools and group homes, she worked odd jobs.

She also had a daughter when she was younger.

"Then she met my dad and moved to San Francisco," said Marshall. "My dad's a musician and he was touring in Saskatchewan. Then they met there and just hit it off."

That was in about 1980, and Tambour was in San Francisco until returning to Hay River for a couple of years in the late 1990s and again in 2015.

She returned North after her second husband had died, said Marshall.

"She missed all the people up here and she'd come up here, and missed all the people down there," he said. "She just wanted to be everywhere for everybody."

Marshall said his mother had also been worried that she was losing her language a little bit.

"But then she came up and her Slavey came back really strong and she actually worked as a translator up here," he said.

Marshall described his mother as very kind-hearted and a beacon of light for everyone who knew her.

She was always thinking about other people, he said, adding that, when she was in San Francisco, she would often send gifts to children and other family members in Hay River.

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