OBITUARY

Ellen Ruth Robertson

March 2, 1929December 17, 2020
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It is with great sadness that her family announces that Ellen passed away peacefully at Fairview Mennonite Home, on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at the age of 91.

Ellen is reunited with her beloved husband James “Jim” Robertson (d. 2019); they were inseparable for their 60 years together. Ellen was also predeceased by her brothers Tom and Bob Gapp and her sister Kay Bath and is survived by her brother, Don Gapp. Jim and Ellen were introduced to each other by her brother-in-law George Bath in the spring of 1959 and what followed was a lifetime of love and laughter. They loved each other and their family: their daughters Karen and Val, son-in-law Bill, and their five beautiful grandchildren, Brian, Megan, Alyssa (Dan), Matthew and Noah.

Ellen was devoted to and proud of her family and took great pleasure in spending time together. She enjoyed knitting, reading, needlepoint and gardening, and donated many of her knitted baby blankets and hats to the children’s hospital and those in need.

The family wishes to thank the staff of Fairview Mennonite Home for their compassionate care. In accordance with her wishes, a private family burial will be held December 22nd at New Hope Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to the T. Little Funeral Home (519) 623-1290.

As expressions of sympathy, donations to the McMaster Research Institute for Aging or the Sick Kids Foundation would be appreciated by her family.

Memories

Ellen Ruth Robertson

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Anne Soppelsa

December 23, 2020

Dear Ellen
I am so glad that I got to spend some time with you and got to learn a little bit about you, your life and your love for your family, during my visits. You shared some wonderful memories and stories with me and the love you had for family shone in your eyes every time! Be at peace with your beloved Jim ❤️🙏

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Biography

Ellen was born in her family’s home on Winnett Avenue on March 2, 1929, the daughter of Margaret and Robert, and younger sister to Kay, Tom and Bob. Her younger brother Don would follow a few years later.

In this different era, Ellen told of her mother taking her in her carriage to shop, and leaving her outside the butcher’s while she went inside to make her purchases. Granny had arrived home before realizing she had left her baby outside the shop and hurried back, where baby Ellen remained waiting.

Ellen had fond memories of growing up despite the fact that she was born just months before the Great Depression of the 1930s. Ellen was a bit of a tomboy, playing road hockey with her brothers and seemingly something of a daredevil on roller skates, to hear her tell of her full speed runs downhill into the intersection at the bottom of the road.

At school, Math was a favourite subject, running through problems with some ease, a skill she would use later in her working years.

As the 30’s ended, World War II began, and once her elder brothers came of age, they joined the Navy and were deployed overseas. Ellen would recall the worst winter storm to hit Toronto in 1944; her Mother, apparently unclear on the situation unfolding outdoors, insisted that Ellen and her sister Kay make the trek to the post office to send Christmas packages to her brothers.

Joyfully, both Tom and Bob returned home after the war, but the family suffered a great loss when her father died suddenly at a young age. Ellen was close to her father, and missed him throughout her life. At the time of his passing, her mother was grief-stricken and took ill. Ellen completed 10th grade, then left school to care for her mother for the next couple of years.

At some point during her teenaged years, Ellen heard a singer on the radio and ran to her best friend’s house to say she’d heard the best singer, Terry Como. She later realized it was Perry Como, and was a life-long fan.

Ellen was proud of her time working at Simpson’s in downtown Toronto, becoming a supervisor and later a trainer. She recently spoke of a time where she went to her boss, who sounded like a somewhat formidable man who would make staff quite nervous. Ellen informed him about how her staff would stay past hours to diligently wrap up work and was able to secure them overtime pay; she said he was a fair man and did not seem fazed by him and remembered him fondly. She would take his advice upon her departure from Simpson's after her marriage to keep her Simpson's stock and later used it to invest in the down payment their first home.

Simpsons was also where her mild dislike of elevators began, becoming more obvious in later years when walking was more of a struggle. The power went out for a considerable time and she was trapped alone, without anyone realizing she was in there, a traumatic event as there was at that time no emergency lighting.

Ellen met the love of her life at the beginning of 1959, and married Jim on September 19 of that year. The number 19 would come up frequently and became her good luck number.

Once married, Ellen left Simpsons and she and Jim moved to Montreal, where Jim had found an engineering job. She was expecting her first child in March 1961; there was a major ice storm in late February which hit when they were visiting friends to play cards. They made their way home and spent the next three days with the hydro was out, just a couple of weeks from her due date.

At the time she went into labour, a week before her expected date, Jim was on a short business trip. At the hospital, she could not sign any paperwork for her own medical care as she was a woman (!); thankfully Jim arrived in a timely way and Karen arrived soon after.

The family of three remained in Quebec until 1963, when they moved back to Ontario be closer to family and settled at the edge of a new subdivision in what was at the time Cooksville, while what would become Bloor Street was still farmland.

Ellen and Jim wanted very much to expand their family, and in 1968 welcomed their beautiful daughter, Val.

Ellen raised her family in what became Mississauga for 12 years, after which they made the move to Kitchener, where they lived in the same house for 40+ years. Ellen continued to raise her daughters and worked in the home until both her girls were older. In the early 1980s, Ellen joined the Kitchener Public Library and worked there for many years, and followed that working at a children’s clothing store, Young Canada.

Once Jim retired, Ellen did as well, and they both enjoyed day trips, to Stratford, London, Niagara or wherever the whim took them, Ellen taking over driving duties as they explored the region. They were never apart, two peas in a pod.

In March 2019, Ellen lost her love, and missed him every day since, often speaking to him as if he were in the room with her.