Jean Rosina MILLAR
September 7, 1930 – July 22, 2020
Wife, mother, nurse, daughter, she was all of these things. Mom married into a seafaring and manufacturing family from the west coast of Scotland. As a nurse she met dad in a hospital as he recovered from Malaria and Dysentery.
As a daughter she lived through a difficult childhood with a stern father and a sacrificing mother of her own. She loved her sisters and her brother whose names are still known to us to this day. In midst of war and trauma there is the wonderful story of Bill the African Grey Parrot.
As a mother she raised 5 siblings who today are torn inside by the grief and regret of her long suffering and the hope that her death is a welcome release. Mom had a spiritual side that likely would shake the Pope himself.
We should remember that Mom was once young too. For those that don't know she, like her sisters, had a classic Celtic look, with a beautiful face framed with dark hair, a slim figure and beautiful voice that could sing and laugh. Her early pictures show a great beauty whose appearance is easily seen in her daughters, granddaughters and now great grandchildren. Her vivacity came from a desire to live after back surgery she had to have as a young girl and a convalescence on a farm in Kenilworth, England. Her experiences in the bombing of Portsmouth in the second world war were traumatic and likely gave her the stammer she had through her early years. Hard experiences can shape a life and so it was with her because it resulted in a lively imagination, love of reading, love of Big Band Music, dance and Buck Rodgers at the dawn of the space age at the cinema.
As a young girl she had read a book called 'The Young Fur Traders' and it became the source of a dream to see the wild spaces of Canada. This was reinforced, as she told us, as she watched her father , then a Sergeant in the British Army, drill Commonwealth soldiers at Eastney barracks in Portsmouth England during WW2. She was fascinated by the quietness of the Canadian troops.
In her eyes as a young girl this was a defining characteristic that mirrored a wilderness - and so we emigrated to Canada. Because of this dream, her children and grandchildren, starting from the Ottawa river valley and the interior of Algonquin Park explored into the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Alberta and British Columbia. As an extended family now we all know of the spaces of the Mackenzie River, the Yukon River, the Great Lakes, the St Lawrence river valley, the Bay of Fundy, Great Bear Lake, Great Slave Lake. Because of her dreams we were pushed to ski and to skate. Her ideas culminated in us in dreams of spaceflight under canopies of stars, caused us to be witnesses to mists rising from mirror like lakes, to hear the sound of paddles and the feel of sweat on a Canoe Portage.
Rhoderick Millar (Eldest Son) July 27, 2020 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jean had a tough time as a young girl, partly due to the Second World War, and made worse by our father, who ruled by fear rather than love. She also suffered an attack of tuberculosis, and was in convalescence for a long time. Not long afterwards she was knocked off her bicycle by a double-decker bus and ended up underneath it. The bicycle was wrecked, but somehow Jean survived with nothing more than bruises...dad was furious about the loss of the bike!
As soon as she could, Jean escaped from home and joined the women’s Land Army until the end of the war, and later became a nurse, where she met Fergus.
One my earliest memories of Jean was leaving our bomb damaged home following a nighttime air raid. Mum, dad, Eileen, Jean, and little me. All we could salvage filled just three suitcases. We spent some time sleeping in church halls, and school halls, until dad found a job and a house in Coventry. It was just in time for the great blitz of Coventry, and our house was just across the road from the Humber Car Factory...building military vehicles at the time. We all spent a lot of nights huddled in shelters.
Jean was old enough to sense the risks involved, so her’s was a long war.
Her happy days began when she married Fergus and raised her own family. Fergus had a few problems, but she did love him, and of course her children......and of course she lived a very long time to more than compensate for a difficult childhood.
James Cassady (Brother) July 28, 2020
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Jean Rosina MILLAR
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July 27, 2020
If I have to sum up Mum in one word, it would be "adventurous". She meet Dad in Edinburgh while preparing for a life of nursing in the tropics. When Dad changed her plans, they then emigrated over to Canada, she bringing over her first three children herself on an ocean liner. Once in Canada, they did not settle down (in Ottawa) for another 10 years, and two more children later. And then she always encouraged her children to seek adventure themselves, whether that be experiencing life in other countries or closer-to-home experiences like tripping lakes and rivers of Algonquin Park. When things didn't quite work out as planned on these adventures, she would just say "roll with the punches, and just get on with it". Good advice from a great Mum. We will miss her.
Anita D Millar
July 25, 2020
Jean had an adventurous spirit and a great curiosity. One of her great pieces of advice was “look where you can go, rather than focus where you can’t”. I shall remember this always, along with our adventures in London and her healing touch.
Your loving daughter,