Ishbel Mairi Elliot

December 16, 1931August 10, 2022
Obituary of Ishbel Mairi Elliot
Our dearest Mom, Ishbel , recently passed away. Mom was born on December 16th, 1931, in Fort Augustus, Scotland and immigrated to Canada on June 8th, 1935, aboard the Andania with her parents, Margaret and Philip MacNaughton. Mom died surrounded by love and music on Aug 10th listening to the Beautiful Blue Danube played by Andre Rieu, tapping her foot to her last breath, while holding her daughter’s hand. Predeceased by her dad in 1956, her mom in 1992, and her son-in-law in 2017, Mom is survived by her loving family, her son Alistair, daughter-in-law Cathy, her grandchildren Jim and Margaret, and her daughter Katrina. Loved by her grand-pups Ryder, Chilco and Dulce, family in the four corners of the globe and dear friends, near and far, including her dear Rotary Youth Exchange “daughter” Linn in Norway. Upon arriving in Canada at the age of 3, Mom lived with her parents in the remote mining town of Bourlamaque, Quebec until the age of 15. This northern Quebec town contributed to Mom’s love of astronomy, geology, curling, nature, mining head shafts, and family. She cultivated her lifelong trait of self-sufficiency early on. As an only child in a male dominated town with few children, Mom used her incredible imagination and invented her imaginary friends, Minnie -all and Binnie -all; Mom often joked that they were much better friends than Alexa and Siri. When she was 15 years old, Mom moved to Stanstead on the Quebec-Vermont border in the eastern townships to complete her high school education. She lived there until she moved to Winnipeg to complete her nursing degree (class of 54B) and where she made lifelong friends. Mom’s nursing career spanned more than 35 years including as a matron of a northern Ontario hospital at 25, working in a women’s hospital in London, England and as a public health nurse in Manitoba and BC, and finally finishing her career in community and long term care in Kamloops, BC. Mom met her husband, George, at a televised Boston Red Socks vs Yankees game in Winnipeg in 1961. Dad was on leave from a 7 year stint building the DEW line – a strategic defense system set up to protect Canada. A nearly 50 year loving, respectful and adventure filled marriage endured all of life’s ups and downs until Dad’s death in 2012.Mom and Dad were married in Cochenour, Ontario and their married life took them to Winnipeg, Langenburg, Saskatoon, Grande Cache and Kamloops. Mom and Dad decided to establish roots in Kamloops where they raised my brother Alistair and myself, Katrina. Mom and Dad had many adventures including when a bridge had to be built to move to our new home in Grande Cache, driving from Saskatoon to Mazatlan, Mexico in the middle of winter for a four month holiday with us when we were 4 and 2, many trips to Scotland to visit family and a trip to South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Together, Mom and Dad loved to fish, rockhound, camp, explore backroads, participate in Caledonian Society events, dance and garden. Mom stayed at home until we were teenagers. As Dad’s career took him all across Canada and as far away as Papua New Guinea, with long stints in B.C. too, Mom was a very active parent in our schools and supported our extra-curricular activities of swimming, piano, Cubs, Girl Guides, soccer and bagpipe lessons. We all loved being together and often spent time at Dad’s job sites in the summers enjoying lots of laughter and family time outside, playing crib, scrabble and rummoli , travelling backroads and hosting our own ceilidh’s on Saturday nights. Mom also provided love, support and advocacy to our Gram and Great-Aunt who were integrated into our day-to-day family life. As the granddaughter of a baker, Mom made one-of-a-kind shortbread. In addition to baking, Mom’s other passions included music, curling, learning, cultivating a large garden with her green thumb, reading, history, nature, loons, dogs, PBS, travelling, world news, Saskatchewan Roughriders, desserts and social justice. Mom loved visiting Dad’s and Alistair’s job sites as one way to demonstrate her love and support. Mom travelled with me to many First Nation communities over the last 11 years, showing her commitment to reconciliation. Mom loved to travel and some of her favourite trips included camping down the Oregon Coast, visiting Nova Scotia, Parksville, Long Beach, Sechelt, Lillooet, Whidbey and Mayne Islands, Gold Bridge, Knutsford, Bendziny (Puntzi Lake), Bella Coola, Sedona, Cave Creek and the Grand Canyon, Bermuda, Mexico, Scotland including the Outer Hebrides, Southern Africa, Italy, France and Spain and Australia. At 89 years and 10 months, Mom joined me driving to Northern Ontario for work with Mom cheekily commenting “this is not the Indy 500” as we had to make up time as we stopped many times for Mom to admire the Prairies and grain elevators, the Canadian Shield’s unique geology and pay tribute to Terry Fox in Thunder Bay. After work was finished in northern Ontario, we had the pleasure to travel on to Northern Quebec to see the miners’ cabin where Mom grew up which is part of a historical village and still being lived in today. Mom’s sense of humor showed when she quipped “it’s a good thing to finally know I am part of history”. This trip was a treasure trove of family history, stories, smiles and laughter. Mom’s love of travel never waivered; she had planned many future trips including Quebec’s Eastern Townships and Mayne Island (Sept 2022), Mexico (Feb/March 2023), Yellowstone (June 2023) and Tuktoyaktuk (August 2023). Mom embraced technology and loved to text, take photos and use her iPad to stay in touch with friends and watch her favorite movies including “Out of Africa”. On March 17, 2020, Mom moved from Kamloops to live with me in the Lower Mainland to keep her as safe as possible and her world as large as possible. The last 2 and a half years of Mom’s life were full of music, gardening and gardens, digital learning courses and concerts, road trips near and far including a weekly trip to her beloved White Rock, Saturday morning farmers market and bakery visits, picnics, laughter, baking, reading, love, learning Spanish, recounting family history, loving Chilco and Dulce, enjoying our small bubble’s valued companionship and keeping in touch with Alistair, other family and friends. Mom’s faith, her joy and her love of living were bedrocks in her life as well as her resiliency as she faced her own health challenges and supported Dad for 14 years after he became a paraplegic at the age of 70. Mom’s wonderment of life, love of learning and her family shimmered like a beacon that we are now left to continue. Mom, you are dearly missed and your legacy lives through each of us that loved your kind, generous, joyful and intelligent soul. You are welcome to attend Mom’s Celebration of Life at the Kamloops United Church at 421 St Paul Street on October 1, 2022, at 3 pm .While the service won’t be recorded for public access, you are invited to watch the service “live” through YouTube.

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