Blanche Dorothy Chisholm

February 6, 1930December 30, 2020

Online condolences and memories can be shared at

Blanche Dorothy Chisholm passed away on December 30, 2020 at Evan Hall in Parkland Clayton Park. The story goes she was named Bronka (Bronisława) by her parents, but her name was changed to Blanche by the Catholic nuns when she reached school. She was known lovingly as Baba to her many family members. Blanche was born on Feb 6, 1930 in Whitney Pier, Nova Scotia to Franciszka (Nikiel) and Mihosh Kolanko, who immigrated from Poland separately and met in Sydney. She was the second youngest in a large family which included siblings Michael, Nellie, Joe, Tony, Walter, Annie, Mary, and Frances. She enjoyed school and was especially proficient in math, winning the Sydney Academy math prize. Blanche was one of the first graduates of the St Martha’s Radiology Technology Program and was forever grateful to her brother Tony who supported her schooling. She met her husband John Blaise Chisholm while in Antigonish and they married on July 17, 1950. They initially lived in the Antigonish and Heatherton area, but settled in Sydney and then Westmount, Cape Breton in 1960. Blanche worked at the City of Sydney Hospital for many years and eventually became the Supervisor of the Radiology Department. She is well-remembered as a knowledgeable, active and friendly presence there. Blanche and John eventually moved to Ben Eoin, where Blanche could garden and John could sail and they both enjoyed spending time with their family on the Bra D’or Lakes. Blanche enjoyed dancing, playing cards, nurturing her gardens with red roses two stories high, feeding the birds outside her kitchen window, cooking roasts, being outdoors, practicing yoga, walking anywhere and everywhere, decorating at Christmas, watching movies like the Godfather and enjoying her family. Peanut bread, Baba’s brownies, pampuchy and pączki (Polish donuts) were some of her baking specialties. She had a kind heart, and everyone was welcome in her kitchen for a treat, whether family, friends or complete strangers. Her great sense of humour and her deep and robust laugh were well known and were often enough to start a group laugh. She always had a few funny stories to share. She was a real Cape Breton girl with her hijinks, even in the most sober moments. One Sunday as the priest was pontificating out loud on whether he should use the long or short version of his homily, she stood up from her pew and said what everyone was thinking, "the short one will do." Never afraid to speak her mind, she was a big supporter of her union and helped getting her union of technicians into a larger Common Front, which would see improvements to all staff at the hospital she worked for. She was very fashion forward and loved to dress smartly. Her 2-piece bathing suit was likely the first in Antigonish county in 1954. Blanche especially enjoyed the friendship of Theresa Hashim, a childhood friend who she spent a wonderful time with at Williston and Rideout Halls in Sydney, and Isabel Hayes, a fellow x-ray technologist.

Blanche is pre-deceased by her husband John and all her siblings. She is survived by her children Jean, Sharon (Duncan MacLennan), Betsy (Donald Jardine), Sandy, Joe (Joanne Libbus), Terry (Derrick McPhee), Paul (Brenda MacQueen), her grandchildren Rachel, Beth, John Paul, Sarah, Genevieve, Josh, Patrick, James, Daniel, John, Jesse, Evan, CJ, Nicole, Joe, Ewan, Cate, Joanne, Paulina, her great-grandchildren Izzy, Millie, Lachlan, Cohen, Emma, Jack, June, Franky, Fox, Angus, Ella, Finn, Maeve, Jett, Lucas, Zachary, and her previous partner Leo Mombourquette.

Blanche is donating her brain to the Maritime Brain Tissue Bank and her remains will eventually be placed next to her husband John in East Bay, Cape Breton.

The family is grateful for the excellent care Blanche received while at Williston and Rideout Halls in Sydney and Evan Hall in Halifax. Thanks also go to Dr. Greg Myatt, her family physician for years, and Dr. Mallery, Dr. Couture, Sarah Krieger-Frost and Dr. Bosma who were helpful in her final months. A celebration of Blanche’s life will be held in Cape Breton in the future when larger groups are allowed to gather.

Donations in memory can be made to support the Kolanko Family Scholarship in memory of Blanche Chisholm for Riverview Rural High School by contacting Scott Murchison. Etransfers can be sent to him at Cheques can be mailed to Scott at Riverview Rural High School, 57 Coxheath Road, Sydney, NS B1R 1R4. Please include your mailing address for tax receipt purposes. Online condolences and memories can be shared at

Z Bogiem – Be With God


Blanche Dorothy Chisholm

have a memory or condolence to add?

Shelly Campbell

January 13, 2021

My most sincere condolences, Betsy and family. Thinking of you all.

Lori Shaw

January 12, 2021

Betsy and family,
Sending my love and most sincerest condolences. May her love and many wonderful memories bring you comfort and strength at this difficult time. We'll never stop missing our mothers!

Connie Jordan

January 10, 2021

Dear Betsy,
Our sincerest sympathy to you and all your family on the loss of such a special member of your family. You have an abundance of memories that will always keep your mom very close in mind and heart.
Thinking of you,
Connie and Keith Jordan

Rick Welton

January 9, 2021

Hi Betsy,

From the Whycocomagh Education Centre, our deepest condolences for your loss. Thinking of you.

Eryn Sinclair

January 6, 2021

Betsy and family,
It has been a joy to hear stories of lovely, lively Baba and your weekend visits. She has left quite a rich and impressive legacy with her children and grandchildren!
Thinking of you and wishing both comfort and joyful memories.
Eryn, Andrew, Nina and Beth

Diane Lachowiez

January 5, 2021

Sandy, Betsy, Sharon & Chisholm Family,
Deepest condolences on the recent passing of your mother, Blanche. Mrs. Chisholm's service to others is an inspiration for anyone wanting to make the world a better place.
Michael & Diane Morrison Lachowiez