Our Mum, Ann McKechnie, was born 8 September 1927 in Carlisle, England, the child of Phyllis Allison and Walter Dagleish Howick. Despite losing them both too early, her parents’ love upheld her throughout her life and her memories of them and her Uncle Dick were stories she told again and again. Growing up in the Wirral Peninsula Mum loved the outdoors, walking, gardening and animals; her beloved pets included Kitty the donkey, numerous dogs and cats, a parrot and, at one time, too many rabbits.
During the difficult years of WWII, Ann, her mother and Dick were twice bombed out of their home. After graduating from Birkenhead Girls’ School Ann worked at the Birkenhead Public Library. Later, as head librarian at the Upton branch, she enjoyed her daily bike rides to work, and working with the public, particularly with children.
Ann met a Scottish civil engineer (Archie McKechnie), whom she subsequently married and loved for 62 years of marriage. As a young couple, they settled briefly in Glasgow and had their firstborn child (Gillian) there, before emigrating to Canada in 1956.
Our small family moved several times – to King City, Richmond Hill and then to Niagara Falls, where Andrew was born. The next year Dad’s work took us to northern Manitoba where Mum’s storytelling skills were needed to entertain two small children. Returning to Niagara Falls, where Jennifer was born, Mum and Dad joined Stamford United Church where they taught Sunday school, were Elders and continued to enjoy fellowship into their nineties. Mum also found great joy singing in the choir.
In her 60s, she started working at Grey Gables school, which she greatly enjoyed for 20 years, working on the Triad Project with many students.
Ann’s life was punctuated by happy rambles in the woods, working in her garden, playing bridge, visits to the UK and Vancouver, sailing with Archie, writing poems and stories, painting and many other creative pursuits. Pets remained a constant in her life. Above all Ann loved her family and being a wife, mother and grandmother. She enthusiastically slept in tree forts, attended music recitals and always encouraged creative pursuits in her grandchildren. Gran will be remembered with love and respect by her grandchildren Emma, Andreas and Christian and her children Jill, Andrew (Anna) and Jennifer (Tom).
Mum’s last years were spent at the Salvation Army Eventide Home in Niagara Falls, where she passed away peacefully on December 2, 2023, surrounded by family. We will always be grateful for the compassionate and understanding care she received there.
To celebrate Mum’s life a service will be held at 11:00 am on Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at Stamford Lane United Church, 3855 St. Peter Avenue, Niagara Falls.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made directly to the Salvation Army Eventide Home, 5050 Jepson Street, Niagara Falls L2E 1K5 or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (heartandstroke.ca).