Lois Reta MacKay Thurgood
14 December , 1921 – 12 June , 2019
Lois passed away at 97 in Camp Hill Veterans Hospital, Halifax, after a well-lived and accomplished life. Born into a farm family in Albany, PEI, she took part in the work, joys, and challenges of rural life, which included, at the age of 12, spending a winter transporting logs by horse team. A top student at the nearby one-room schoolhouse, Lois became a teacher after studying at Prince of Wales College, Charlottetown. During WWII, she worked inspecting weapons in a Sorel, QC munitions plant before becoming a corporal and drill instructor in the RCAF, "defending Saskatchewan from invasion," as she put it. After the war, she earned a BA at Acadia U, then was the first woman to earn an MA in English at Dalhousie U. While waitressing at Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton for a summer, she met Charlie Thurgood, whom she married in 1949. Lois raised four children, while teaching school and writing for magazines, while in the Wallace, NS region and in Windsor, ON, where she lived from 1959 until moving to Halifax in 2016. In retirement, Lois devoted herself to volunteer work, rising to the presidency of Save The Children Canada, while remaining active in Emmanuel United Church.
Lois was a remarkably upbeat and positive person, bringing enthusiasm, fun, and passion to all activities, whether raising children, being a grandmother, volunteering in church and community, teaching, directing plays, leading CGIT, watching hockey, birding, writing, travelling, skating, playing piano, leading singsongs, or hosting social gatherings, to name but a few. She was a popular teacher at Walkerville Collegiate in Windsor, experimental in her approach, and devoting long hours to marking and to planning lessons. She helped generations of young people, many of whom wrote to or visited her in later years. Despite adversities, including the loss of her beloved husband Charlie in 2012, Lois remained loving, helpful, humorous, and positive. At 96, she made her last annual trip to her cherished Island home. She lived a full and rich life, but, at the end, was ready to leave, and died peacefully. Lois will be missed greatly by her extended family and many friends.
The daughter of Lt-Gov. J. George and Muriel (Boulter) MacKay, Lois was predeceased by husband Charlie, infant John William, brothers, Sutherland and John MacKay, and sisters, Audrey Waugh Muttart and Phyllis MacKay (infant). She is survived by her children: George (Ann Willoughby), Ranald (Maura Volante), James (Jennie Jiang), and Ann; grandchildren, Michael, Caroline, Brigid (Jan Fajerski), Alanna, Alex (Monika Ptaszynska), Fred (Brittany MacRae), and Jake Thurgood, and Rebecca Paterson (Fin); great-grandchildren, Lucas, Lachlan, and Annie Paterson, and Apolonia Thurgood; sister-in-law, Roma MacKay; former daughters-in-law, Christiane Thurgood and Katherine Grier; as well as by nephews, nieces, and cousins of many generations, all dearly loved by Lois.
Among the many her family would like to thank for helping Lois in her latter years are her doctors and health workers, residents and staff at Parkland Clayton Park, Halifax, and Oak Park Terrace, Windsor, and her supportive community in PEI and Windsor, especially at Emmanuel United.
The funeral service will be at South Shore United Church, Tryon, PEI, on June 29, 1:30 pm. Visitation will be at Dawson Funeral Home, Crapaud, PEI, June 28, 6:30 -8;30 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Save The Children in Lois's name.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Lois Reta MacKay Thurgood
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21 July 2019
The Thurgood family would like to thank to everyone for your kind words and memories, as well as for your donations to Save The Children. We don't have emails and addresses for most of you, to send personal notes. We had the funeral in PEI, and Mom was buried with her husband and her ancestors in her community cemetery by the beautiful United Church in Tryon.
Kim & Pecha Petrovic
23 June 2019
We were very saddened to hear of Lois’s passing. Please accept our deepest Condolences, Thoughts and Prayers during this difficult time. Her passion for life will keep the many memories alive in your heart.
I remember going to Charlie and Lois’s PEI cottage, many times, in our younger years. We were always welcomed with such energy and happiness. Lois loved swimming and would take us young children out to the water anytime we wanted to go. Many fun memories were made there. My husband and I had the pleasure of visiting both Lois and Charlie at their Windsor home, in 2010. Our youngest son was playing in the NHL Top Prospects game there, and Lois seemed just as excited as we were about it. She enjoyed talking hockey with us for a while, then pulled out pictures and started going through albums. Her memory was incredible as she began sharing stories with us. She was very proud of her family. We enjoyed lunch at one of their favourite restaurants and then said our goodbyes. Lois was always so upbeat, happy, enthusiastic and very entertaining. The memories we have of her will be kept close in our hearts.
20 June 2019
Thanks to Lois and her family for their attention to the Scranton clan when we visited the island during the Summer months. Lois was just really cool about things and her no-nonsense approach to life was what I remember most vividly as a child. When you are young and unsure about the world and yourself; it was an effectual group of strong women including Lois and Nana Waugh who left a enduring imprint on my life.
Thanks so much for the reminders including things I never knew about Lois and her many pursuits. The evidence of a remarkable journey is in the pursuits that make life fulfilling, rewarding, and leave impressions not soon forgotten.
17 June 2019
I met Mrs. Thurgood at Emmanuel United church when I was in grade 3. She was my Sunday school teacher, Explorer councillor, fellow choir member and high school teacher. Through her persistent mentoring and encouragement, I had the confidence to go back to school at 21 and receive my voice performance degree. She was my biggest fan and I hers. Thank you Mrs Thurgood for your firm love and guidance. You taught me to believe that dreams can come true.❤️
16 June 2019
Lois was a mentor to me from the time I started CGIT at 12 years of age. She also was there as a source of guidance and life knowledge for all my kids before moving to the east. She will be missed by all who knew her.
BIll & Ida TOtten
14 June 2019
Lois was a huge contributor at Emmanuel United Church (Windsor, ON) and has been sorely missed since leaving Windsor. She was always so pleasant and helpful and willing to assist where needed. She is in our prayers.
Bill & Ida Totten
14 June 2019
Lois was a wonderful, sweet woman that we met at Emmanuel United Church. She was always so kind and had a wonderful smile. Our son Jeremy had a nice relationship with her and made it a point to find her and give her a hug when he went to church. She has been missed in Windsor the past few years. Rest In Peace Lois.
14 June 2019
Lois was an inspiration to me. She was a wonderful friend and leaves behind such great memories. We will miss her lively sense of humour.
14 June 2019
Su ch a lovely soul. We have missed her at Emmanuel these last few years and especially at the girl friends lunch.