Mary "Molly" Trapnell Critchley
September 5, 1925 – August 8, 2019
We regret to announce the passing, on August 8, 2019 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, of Molly Trapnell Simmons Critchley, artist, author, loving wife and mother of four, grandmother of six, and great grandmother of four. Molly was born on September 5, 1925 in Digby, Nova Scotia, to Charles Bertram Simmons and Jeanne Trapnell Simmons. She and her sister, the late Jeanne Lusby, and brothers, the late Donald Simmons and the late Robert Simmons, were raised in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Molly’s talent and passion for art were evident early in her childhood and eventually led her to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. She studied under noted Canadian artists Lawren P. Harris and Alex Colville. Alex was also a childhood friend who had lived down the street from Molly and her family in Amherst. They remained close friends until Alex’s death in 2013. It was at “Mount A” that Molly met David Critchley, a Bermudian student. Molly always said that she fell in love with David on their first date — a Sadie Hawkins dance to which Molly invited David— and stayed in love with him for the rest of her life. He, in turn, was captivated by her radiant smile and exuberant spirit as so many were throughout her life. Molly and David were married on December 30, 1948, in Amherst. David had graduated from Mount A and was studying for a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto. Molly joined him shortly after her own graduation. In 1951, they returned to Bermuda where their first child, Wendy, was born in 1952. In 1953, David’s career took them back to Canada, where Beth, Spencer and Owen were born. The family lived in Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax before returning to Bermuda in 1972. Their marriage spanned 45 years until David’s death in 1993. Throughout, Molly pursued her calling as an artist. She produced hundreds of canvasses, working in oil, water colours and acrylics, and exhibiting in galleries in Bermuda, North America, the UK and Europe. Molly’s solo exhibits were presented in Berlin, Toronto, Halifax and Bermuda. She participated in group shows in New York, across Canada and in London, England. Molly was a founding member of the Bermuda Society of the Arts, and her canvasses were included in many members’ exhibits over the years. She joined British artist Sam Morse-Brown in a two-person show in 1982. During her almost three decades in Bermuda, Molly taught art at the former Robert Crawford School for Boys and at Warwick Academy. For years after, former students would stop her on the street to thank her for the kindness and love she had shown them, and to tell her what a difference she had made in their lives. She was also an active member of the choir at St. Mark’s Church. Molly wrote and illustrated two books – the Canadian bestseller, A Victorian Nova Scotia Christmas (Nimbus Publishing, 1994) and Childhood Then (2001). Both were inspired by childhood summers on the Amherst Shore and trips to Prince Edward Island to visit her father’s family. Her life was devoted to art (a lasting image for many is Molly with sketch book in hand), to the beauty she saw everywhere, and to her family. Molly always said, “My masterpieces are my children!” — characteristically drawing exclamation marks in the air. Molly is survived by her four children: Wendy Davis Johnson (Gordon), Beth Critchley Charlton (Tom), Spencer Critchley (Lila) and Owen Critchley (Bonnie); six grandchildren (Katie Davis, Daniel Marshall, Matthew Charlton, Michèle Charlton, Clare Critchley and Molly Johnson), and four great grandchildren (Oliver Haskins Davis and Alice, Will and Evie Marshall). Molly’s family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the management and staff of Parkland at the Gardens in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the exemplary care and loving kindness given to their mother throughout her residency there. A private service was held on August 11, 2019. Molly was buried beside David in Northport Cemetery, Northport, Nova Scotia. Donations in Molly’s memory can be made to the Children’s Art Education programme at Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Mary "Molly" Trapnell Critchley
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