Gretchen Wood Aird Dawson

September 21, 1938May 1, 2021

DAWSON, GRETCHEN WOOD AIRD 21 September 1938 - 1 May 2021 We sadly announce the passing of Gretchen W. Aird Dawson on Saturday 1 May 2021 peacefully at her home in Kelowna. Gretchen is survived by her husband of 12 years, James Dawson of Kelowna; her only son Michael Marsh of Cochrane, AB and her beloved grandsons Dayton and Daniel Marsh; brother Ritchie & Jacquie Aird of Vancouver and niece Michelle Aird of Port Coquitlam, BC. Gretchen was pre-deceased by her parents Edwin R. Aird and B. Jean Wood Aird. Gretchen was born in Pointe-a-Pierre, Trinidad BWI and lived there until she was 13, when her family relocated home to Canada and settled in Toronto. They moved to Winnipeg in 1952 and she attended St. James Collegiate for grades 9 - 11. Another move to Vancouver allowed her to finish her senior matriculation at West Vancouver High. Upon graduation, she worked at the Vancouver Library and then Shell Oil Company. Wanderlust caused her to join Trans-Canada Airlines in 1960, graduating top of her class and based in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver during her 7 years with TCA (now Air Canada). Marriage and pregnancy made her departure from the airline necessary but she missed the comraderie of the air; with several stewardess friends, she created the retired flight attendant organization Canadian Maple Wings Association. She was their first president and stayed active in CMWA for all of its 41 years (currently numbering 667 in membership). Gretchen also started a local Kelowna chapter of CMWA after moving back to BC in 1995, called “Okanagan Chardonnays”. She underwent open heart surgery in 1987 to repair a 50-cent sized Atrial Septal Defect in her heart; her surgeon promised her 25 more good years and she was proud to claim that she had him beat by another 9 years. She was also a breast cancer survivor of nearly 16 years. Nothing slowed her down - she was an YLW Ambassador for 10 years; a member of Beta Sigma Phi approaching 50 years; Friends of Fintry board member and active with Central Okanagan Heritage Society. In 2017 she was honoured by becoming an Ex Officio member of Air Canada Pionairs for her service to the organization and CMWA. DAWSON, GRETCHEN WOOD AIRD. She was a strong advocate for senior’s rights in BC and Canada. Gretchen was an active member of the congregation family of St. Francis Anglican Church of Lake Country. Thanks to Dr. Kevin Pistawka & Staff (Cardiology) and Dr. Pieter Botha of Prime Medical. The excellent and compassionate care from IH Wound Clinic on Doyle and follow up home care is so greatly appreciated; special thanks as well to Kim from Valley Medical.

There will be no funeral or memorial services at her request. Donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation and Cancer Society are appreciated. Gretchen is in the care of First Memorial Funeral Services Kelowna.

Arrangements entrusted with First Memorial Funeral Services, Kelowna, BC 250-762-2299 Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Gretchen Wood Aird Dawson

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kent Gregoire

May 6, 2021

Dear Jim

I am so sorry to hear of Gretchen's passing. I first met Gretchen as an Airport Duty Manager and she was an volunteer Airport Ambassador. A truly lovely soul, who was always upbeat with a perpetual smile.

You both were such dedicated Air Canada Pionairs who regularly attended our various functions and it was always a delight to sit down and chat with you both. Gretchen has left a huge void in our Pionair organization and our group will forever miss your smile and infectious laughter.

On behalf of our Air Canada Pionairs, please know that our thoughts are with you and Gretchen's family.

Kent Gregoire


May 4, 2021

Gretchen and I were first cousins and I recall meeting my Trinidad cousin in Toronto when we were both about 14. Then we met a few years later at Air Canada (then TCA) at Dorval / Montreal where I worked for Flight Operations, and she was attending Stewardess training classes.
Gretchen poured herself into developing today’s Air Hostess “clipped wingers in Canada” and she was rightfully proud of that. She thought it was pretty cool that I married a then TWA Hostess! Our family here in the US are sad to hear of her passing.

Susan Sinotte

May 4, 2021

Gretchen and her husband Jim sat close to me at our parish of St. Francis Anglican church in Lake Country. Gretchen lit up the sanctuary with her warm smile and her welcoming presence. I will always remember our chats and coffee times with great fondness. They say when you are Christian you never say goodbye but just see you on the other side in eternity. I have faith that one day we will meet again and am praying that the Holy Spirit comforts Jim in the loss of her presence here on earth. Rest in peace.

Barbara Dunn

May 4, 2021

Gretchen will be missed by all of her many friends and colleagues who met her through Canadian Maple Wings.
My sincere condolences to her family.
Barbara Dunn
CMWA Vancouver

Ken and Agnes Howard

May 3, 2021

Dear Jim:
So sorry about Gretchen. We have had many good times with her
and many rides to Cochrane, Ab.
Thank you for taking good care of her.
She will be missed.
Take care of yourself.
Love Ken and Agnes