A resident of the Woodland Villa Nursing Home in Long Sault for the past seven years, Dorothy Byers passed away there on Sun., Sept. 19, 2010. She was 96.
Dorothy was born in Newington on April 23, 1914, the third child of Walter Stewart and Annie Reveller of Cannamore. With her older brother and sister, Mildred and Robert, the family then moved west of Morewood where Clayton, Hudson, Bessie, and Hughetta were born. Dorothy started school at Cannamore School, but when she was a bit older, completed her education at Ormond School. Her brothers would take the younger children in the horse and buggy or sleigh in the winter, and would keep the horse at school for the day.
After finishing school, Dorothy became a hired girl for a family near Wales until she married Dobie Byers on Dec. 6, 1933 at the manse in Morewood. They began life on a rented farm east of Cannamore where their first five children, Freda, Stuart, Archie, Linden, and Eleanor, were born. In 1942, they purchased their first farm, just west of the rented farm on the Cannamore Road, and here Eunice and Edsel were born. In 1951, she gave birth to their eighth child, Connie, in the newly opened Winchester District Memorial Hospital. They put in electricity, running water, and built a new barn, only to have it burn in the fall of 1951. For the second time, Dorothy fed close to 100 people on her front lawn when the whole community arrived for a second barn raising bee on the farm.
Dorothy had a reputation as a lady who could cook like a pro. She baked cookies daily to feed her hungry brood, and always had Sunday visitors for dinner or supper. During the summer when threshing gangs travelled the Cannamore Road, Dorothy’s cooking was looked forward to by all.
By the mid-50’s Dobie was developing a new career as a building contractor and in 1960 the family, with Eunice, Edsel, and Connie, moved to a new home near Winchester. Dorothy soon got a job in the kitchen of the Winchester District Memorial Hospital, and worked there until she had to retire at 65. Dorothy also learned to drive during this time, and when Dobie passed away in 1967, she soon returned to Morewood to live. After the hospital, Dorothy worked as a homemaker for another five years. During these years, she travelled to the West, to Florida, and even went on a Country Music Bus Trip to Nashville to see her favourite country singer, Charlie Pride.
Dorothy spent one year in Morrisburg, and then five years in an apartment in Winchester. Her eyesight had begun to fail and her beloved car was taken from her. She had called the shots for close to 30 years, and now had to ask others for help. At the age of 86, Dorothy moved to the Hartford Retirement Home in Morrisburg, and from there moved to the Woodland Villa Nursing Home in Long Sault at 89.
Through example, Dorothy instilled in her family the beauty of hard work, the joy of sharing, and the feeling that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.
Dorothy is survived by her children, Freda Arnott of Sarnia, Archie (Marion) of Crysler, Linden (Beth) of Winchester, Eleanor Dingwall of Long Sault, Eunice (Don) Johnston of Winchester, Edsel (Gail) of Williamsburg, and Connie (Dwayne) Froats of St. Thomas; her siblings Hudson Stewart of St. Thomas, and Hughetta Thoms of Ottawa; and her sister-in-law Mary Stewart of Osgoode. Dorothy will be fondly remembered by 27 grandchildren, 48 great-grandchildren, and nine great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by a son, Stuart; a grandson, Trevor Byers; a granddaughter, Marsha Ferguson; sons-in-law Peter Arnott, Frank Johnstone, and Don Dingwall; sisters Mildred Wooley, and Bessie Clark; and brothers Robert and Clayton Stewart. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Chesterville on Wed., Sept. 22 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was held at Morewood United Church on Thurs., Sept. 23 at 11 am with Rev. Wendy Wright-MacKenzie officiating. Interment followed at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Chesterville. The honourary pallbearers were granddaughters Karen Leyten, Karla Wilson, and Debbie Byers. The active pallbearers were grandchildren Dwayne Johnstone, Colleen Byers, Brent Byers, Danny Byers, Sharon Delorme, and Sean Froats.
Donations to Winchester District Memorial Hospital, Woodland Villa Nursing Home, or the Alzheimer Society would be appreciated by the family.