Obituary of Patricia McLeod
It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Patricia "Pat" Dora McLeod, a longtime resident of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, at the age of 97 years.
A life so beautifully lived deserves to be beautifully remembered.
The first eight years of Mum's life was Ashfield Lodge outside Romsey in southern England, heated by coal fires and lit by oil lamps, where she lived with her mother and father and younger sister Betty, and had close family nearby - she had happy memories of life in the English countryside. A very shy and quiet little girl, she endured early school life, which was a lot stricter in 1930s England. Her parents built a house in Romsey with running water and electricity (sheer luxury) and Mum made the transition to higher school where she stayed for two years. She went to secretarial school reluctantly aged 13 for two years and learned to type (100wpm – can you imagine on today's keyboards?), take shorthand (140wpm), as well as bookkeeping, English literature and French which bemused her but would turn out to be an incredibly practical and valuable course, enabling her to follow her dreams and support her Canadian family with work that interested her and build a career.
World War 2 began and with it another family move to the outskirts of London where Mum worked in offices – her first job aged 16 was a junior in a solicitors headed by the then Prime Minister's brother.
By the time Mum was 18, she was working in the legal department of a London bank, but it was1944 and she transferred her skills to the Voluntary Aid Department, attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps as a medical secretary, primarily treating men who had contracted a certain disease with the same initials as Valentines Day, which she had no idea about. When she was discharged age 20, she briefly went into nurse training but took up interesting jobs in engineering and construction firms, and began to feel restless, starting to save and work towards the dream of emigration in 1950. The wide-open skies were calling, and in 1951 Mum boarded a ship from Liverpool with her trunk – the dresses and coats she packed lasted for 5 years. Mum was a very talented seamstress and could knit complex patterns very rapidly (use your imagination). She was once knitting and reading at the same time in an airport, looked up and some Japanese tourists were clicking away, taking pictures of her.
Mum began her Canadian experience in Halifax, earning $30.00 a week which she thought was terrific. Mum's plan was to work several months in each province which she did – taking her to Studebaker in Ontario, Winnipeg, Banff Springs Hotel (where she actually saw Marilyn Monroe!) and finally a mine 100 miles north of Whitehorse. Memories of Northern lights, glorious sunrises and sunsets and vast open areas of ice and snow were everything she dreamed of and she always said she saw the best of the North.
Mum married and had John and then moved to Haines Junction where Ian and Janet followed in quick succession. Alison was born in Fort St John in 1963, the baby sister.
Amazingly, Mum never drove and walked everywhere. Ian suggested going for a drive one day, pulled over and suggested Mum had a go. Let's just say the width of the road was fully covered and every pedal and gear were used but not in the right order. She thought it was very amusing and Ian never suggested it again.
Mum's last move was to Dawson Creek with her mother, Mary Grace and children and thanks to the kindness of friends, rented a house and secured a position in a local law firm. She joined the St Marks family which always remained such a mainstay up to the very end of her life. Dawson Creek was an excellent choice, providing employment and eventually Mum's own notary public business with Sam Side and then Marie Chilton, schooling, and friends for life as well as other opportunities. She was so thankful and rarely mentioned her under the radar involvement with community organisations such as the Open Door School, Peace Haven as a trustee, Fish (a helpline), the Palliative Care Society and of course the St Mark's Soup Kitchen and Food Bank. Mum also loved helping weigh babies at clinic after she retired – the perfect match!
Most importantly, Mum was the centre of her home always, and did her utmost to be there and keep contact and support her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren although most of her family lived away from Dawson Creek.
Retirement meant more time to travel with friends, visit family and whip everyone at Scrabble and crib – her children and grandchildren were steeped in game playing.
Mum's years in Dawson Creek were on the whole very happy and productive, including her final years in Selwyn and finally Northview; she was always a glass half full, always true to herself and so thankful to the community she lived in and made home – she left leaving us all who knew and loved her with a bit of Patricia Dora McLeod in our hearts.
Please join Pat's family to celebrate her life on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at 2:00 pm at St Mark’s Anglican Church, Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
Obituary to follow at a later date.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Pat to the Step Up ‘N’ Ride Society, 732 115 Avenue, Dawson Creek, British Columbia, V1G 3B8.
Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home and Crematorium