Gwendolyn Beatrice Smith, a lifetime resident of Chesterville, passed away at The Garden Villa in Chesterville on Fri., April 11, 2014, following a brief illness. She was 86.
Gramma Gwennie, as she was called by many who knew her, was born on March 21, 1928, one of 11 children of her parents, John and Annie Elliott (nee Schoefield), and she was raised and grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
She met her husband, Douglas Smith, after he returned home from overseas following the Second World War, and they married in 1947. A short while later, their happy little family became three, when their son, Howard, was born. Douglas and Gwen came from very modest backgrounds, and both were hard working, salt-of-the-earth folks who believed a person received nothing and you expected nothing, unless you earned it.
Gwen was, for the most part, a happy-go-lucky person, taking each day as it came along. She was a very simple, unassuming, down-home type of person who loved the simple, ordinary things that life offered, and she knew how to make-do with the things she had. From that, she taught her family honesty and integrity, and how to accept and be content with those things in life that they could neither change nor do anything about.
She loved music, dancing, and her many friends. Music was a natural and fulfilling part of her life. A frequent occurrence was having friends and neighbours over for a Friday night card game, but more often than not, those card games would evolve into a musical hootenanny, complete with guitars, banjo, and mandolin, and all the participants singing old Hank Williams and gospel songs into the wee hours of the morning. Gwen also danced a pretty mean jitterbug, and could jive along with the best of ‘em on the dance floor. It’s no secret where granddaughter Paige gets her love of dance and singing from.
Gwen had a very kind heart, and cared for everyone she knew, whether they were family, friend, or just living in the area. She was always willing to help if she believed you were in genuine need. She dearly loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, along with her nieces and nephews, and throughout the years she always looked forward to their visits with her, almost on a daily basis. She loved to hear their stories and tales, and in the last few years, she especially enjoyed visits from her great-granddaughters, Alexandra and Olivia, and loved playing beauty shop with them as they curled her hair and painted her nails.
Douglas’ death at the age of 48 devastated Gwen, and she had a difficult time adjusting to life without him. But all those grandchildren, nieces, and nephews came to the rescue, spending countless days and nights with her, keeping her from being afraid and lonely, and bringing her happiness and much contentment. Todd, Shirley, Kathy, and Vicky practically lived with her in their younger years. As time passed, Gwen looked forward, more eagerly each year, to family get-togethers such as, Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving, and birthdays. She loved chatting with everyone and having a happy time at each affair, and being teased by Scott and Colleen. She appreciated and loved her daughter-in-law, Lezlee, who pampered her tirelessly throughout the years.
In the last while, Gwen began to tire and remarked on not feeling well most days. Her family began to see she was not her usual self. It was not long after that the family received the devastating news that Gwen had incurable cancer. Her wish was to spend her last few months with friends she knew at The Garden Villa, where she made more friends and simply loved the attention paid to her by Heidi and her wonderful staff.
Gwen is survived by her son, Howard (Lezlee) of Chesterville; her grandchildren, Todd (Sonya), Scott, and Paige, all of Chesterville; her great-grandchildren, Alexandra and Olivia; and her siblings, Marjorie Bouck of Chesterville, Clair (Jackie) Elliott of Winchester, and Shirley (Keith) Beckstead of Williamsburg. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband, her sisters, Lillian Guidon, Nelda Purchon, Audrey Nelson, and her brothers, Grant, Eric, Ronald, and Terry Elliott. She will be fondly remembered by several nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Chesterville on Thurs., April 17. The funeral service was held at the funeral home on Fri., April 18 at 11 am with Rev. Wendy Wright-MacKenzie officiating. The pallbearers were her family, Howard Smith, Lezlee Byers-Smith, Todd Smith, Sonya Smith, Scott Smith, Paige Smith, Alexandra Smith, and Olivia Smith. Interment of cremated remains at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Chesterville followed the service.
Donations to Maple Ridge Cemetery or the Canadian Cancer Society would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
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