My Aunt Marion passed away suddenly on Sept 16th, just shortly after she had moved to a care home due to severe issues of mobility. She passed away just as she lived, with grace and dignity, having just about two weeks earlier celebrated her 87th birthday surrounded by her five children, fifteen grand children and seven great grandchildren. Aunt Marion and Uncle Tom were committed to family, highly regarded members of our community, faithful congregants in their church and loved by many. Marion was a gifted singer and loved music, was a photographer and a historian and loved by all the community children who rode on her school bus for almost twenty years. Tom and Marion loved to dance and even after Tom had lost his hearing, their dancing was a wonder to watch.

My mother’s family was large and somewhat fractured as new immigrants from Scotland who settled in Winnipeg. Three of her siblings, two of my uncles and an aunt passed away before I was born. My mom’s oldest sister passed away when I was young but had lived at such a distance that I had met her only once that I remember. I was very close to my mom’s youngest brother, Uncle Archie, and even though he lived in Ottawa, I visited him often as a teenager and young adult. Somehow, on leaving Winnipeg, my grandparents, my mom, mom’s sister Lil and brother Tom all ended up living on the 16th Concession of London Township, where I grew up.

Although Marion entered into the family through marriage to Uncle Tom, she was in many ways the rock of the family; the voice of reason, common sense and practicality for us all. While life was not necessarily easy – raising five kids on my uncle’s basic income – Marion was always the steady, calming influence for our extended family. She was able to manage a bus full of students in all sorts of weather with compassion while not tolerating any nonsense that might impact the safety of her charges.

At 87, Marion’s mind was sharp and fully engaged in the lives of her entire family. She maintained a family tree cataloguing the life and death of all of Tom’s siblings, and the births and marriages each of their of children, grand children and great grandchildren. She acknowledged every birthday or celebration on Facebook and kept in touch with us all on her trusty iPad. Just two weeks before she passed away, I received an email from her, congratulating us on our move to England.

Marion was the last of my mom’s family, and faced each sorrow and loss with peace and joy, founded in a deep faith in Christ, a reliance on the Holy Spirit for strength and wisdom and a song in her heart. She was a lady in every sense of the word and someone who I long to emulate. Her children, grand children and great grand children will miss her dearly but she leaves behind a wonderful legacy in her family who were her life.