Mabel Gladys Whitteker
A lifetime resident of the area, Mabel Gladys Whitteker passed away at the Dundas Manor nursing home on Feb. 17, 2005. She was 90.
She was born at Archer on Jan. 7, 1915. She was the eldest of two children born to Ellison Dennison and Lillian Shaver. Her mother trained to be a nurse and her father farmed. Her younger brother Max died when he was only 22 years old.
Growing up, she attended the Archer school, Williamsburg Public School, and Morrisburg Collegiate Institute. She then went to Ottawa Normal School, the equivalent of teachers’ college, in 1933-1934. After graduating from teachers college she accepted a teaching position at Secondary School #22, Froatburn. She began teaching when she was 19 years old and retired some 46 years later at the age of 65. During that time she taught each of her children, and at each of her schools she served as principal. She taught Grades 1-8 with some 41 pupils at Secondary School #22, Froatburn between September 1934 and June 1938.
On July 16, 1938 she married Lloyd Eugene Whitteker at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ottawa, with Rev. W.H. Mundinger presiding. They went to live with his parents for a year where Lloyd helped on the farm and drove Mabel to and from school.
Her second position was at Secondary School #14, Toyes Hill in Matilda Township where she taught Grades 1-8 from September 1938 to June 1939. From there she went to teach at Secondary School #6, Osnabruck Centre were she taught Grades 1-8 from September 1939 to June 1943. From September 1943 to June 1945 she taught Grades 1 through 8 at Secondary School #12 in Wales. This school eventually had to close when there were only six students left. From there she went to a two-room school: Secondary School #12, Williamsburg. She was there from 1945 to 1954. In September 1945, Lloyd began driving school children to Morrisburg High School. During that time, the family moved to Walter Whitteker’s farm which they rented and Lloyd farmed. In October of 1946, Mabel and Lloyd bought a farm from Willis and Vera Mcintosh and moved in on Oct. 31, 1946.
Mabel’s sixth school house was sold to their daughter Sylvia and her husband Ray which remains Sylvia’s home to this day.
The last 17 years of Mabel’s teaching career were spent as teacher and principal of Secondary School #11, Matilda Central Public School, which became Dixon’s Corners Public School when the SD&G school board took over. She taught there from September 1953 until her retirement in June of 1980 when she turned 65. Lloyd had passed away in August of 1978.
One interesting fact is that whenever Mabel was having her family there were no extended maternity leaves. When having her children, she would only take three or four days off school after childbirth before returning to teaching.
As the matriarch of a large family, Mabel was often called upon to help people write speeches for special occasions such as showers,wedding receptions and retirement parties. She was also known for helping her grandchildren work on school assignments; however, she would only help them if they put in an honest effort before asking for assistance.
After her retirement in 1980, she travelled to California, Kentucky, and Vancouver. She also worked as the bookkeeper for Whitteker Bus Lines. She always enjoyed gardening and her flowers and she liked to read, play cards, listen to country music, and visit friends. She was active for many years as a member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Williamsburg, and she is fondly remembered for the study sessions she prepared for the Lutheran Church women’s group meetings.
In 1988 she suffered a stroke. She moved to the Hartford Retirement Home in March of 2001 where she enjoyed life, especially the groups that came in to sing hymns. She would invariably greet visitors with her trademark smile. Due to declining health, she was admitted to Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Oct. 30, 2004, and then Dundas Manor in November 2004.
She will be remembered as a loving and caring woman who never said a bad word about anybody. It was said that she never complained, never asked for anything and was always agreeable even when she was in pain or was not feeling well. She was a very pleasant, remarkable person.
She is survived by her children Ron (Freda) of Griffith, Sylvia Barkley of RR 3 Williamsburg, Dennis (Linda) of Graham Lake, Marilyn McInnis of Brockville, and Lyn of Cornwall. She will be fondly remembered by 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg on Feb. 21. The funeral service was held at St. Peter’s lutheran Church in Wiliamsburg on Feb. 22 with Rev. Jo Barkley-Probst officiating. Interment was at New Union Cemetery in Williamsburg.
Pallbearers were grandchildren Kevin Whitteker, Jeff Whitteker, Rodney Barkley, Eugene McInnis, Rob Whitteker and Angie Merkley. Honorary pallbearers were grandchildren Randy Whitteker, Derek Whitteker, Jamie Whitteker, Kim Hubbard, and Rick Barkley.
Donations to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind or St. Peter’s Lutheran Church would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.