GLADYS RACHEL DUKE, (nee Bessette) passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 8th, 2005 in the Alexander Centre, Vernon, at the age of 91 years.
Gladys was born on February 13th, 1914 in Vernon, the seventh child of pioneer lumberman Napoleon Bessette, and his wife Josephine (nee Leblanc) of Lumby. She had a very happy childhood with a loving family. Gladys attended school in Lumby and Vernon before attending Normal School in Victoria. She returned to Lumby and taught briefly before becoming the bookkeeper for the family sawmill. She married N.R. “Pat” Duke in 1934. While Pat served overseas during WWII, Gladys worked for Boeing in Vancouver as a shop clerk but then returned to Lumby to manage her father’s “Nap’s Cafe”. She built and operated the Monashee Motel in Lumby for 17 years. In the late 1960’s she embarked on a successful career in real estate before retiring in 1982. She was active in the Red Cross for many years and was a 60 year charter member of the Lumby CWL.
Gladys was a wonderful homemaker and loved her garden. She was an avid curler, enjoyed watching sports and constantly sought out curling on TV. She and Pat traveled extensively in their motor home throughout B.C., Yukon and Alaska and traveled to many parts of the world with dear friends and family. She was an excellent Bridge player and enjoyed the challenge and social aspects of bridge sessions with her friends.
Gladys was a devoted wife and loving mother and grandmother. She was supportive of Pat’s municipal and regional district duties including his service as mayor of Lumby for 27 years. For many years she hosted the Lumby Days’ garden party for queen candidates and representatives of visiting communities.
Gladys loved her years in Lumby. Her family was her greatest joy and many happy times were spent at Christmas and other family gatherings. She and Pat moved to Hillview Meadows in Vernon in 1990 where she was fortunate to have many kind and helpful neighbours.
She was predeceased by Pat in 1991, her parents and siblings Leah Forester, May Cutler, Janice Hawse, Cleophas, Arther, Hilda, Dorothy Carter and Norman and is survived by her youngest sister Betty Hunt and sister-in-law Cathie Bessette, both of Kamloops. She leaves to mourn her daughter Gail (Ernie) Radies of Delta, son Denis (Patricia) of Calgary, grandchildren Charlene, Douglas (Ocean) and David Radies and Kathryn, Jennifer, Patrick, Victoria and Elizabeth Duke and great-grandchildren Nahanni and Quinn Lattimer and Silas and Orion Radies.
Heartfelt thanks are extended to her former caregiver Holly Hyland; the community care, VJH and Alexander Centre nurses and caregivers; Drs. Wheeldon, Naude, Armanious and Mori; Reverend Frs. Peyton and Cedo; visiting Eucharistic ministers Iris Brittain and Marie Schommer and all those dear friends who visited Gladys in hospital. A special thank you is also extended to Kay Forester for the wonderful care and love that she gave to her aunt in the last few months.
Prayers will be recited at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church on Wednesday, December 14th, 2005 at 6 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church on Thursday, December 15th, 2005 at 10 a.m., to be followed by a reception in the entrance of the church. Interment will take place in the Lumby Cemetery.
As an expression of sympathy, those who wish to do so may send donations in memory of Gladys to Covenant House, 575 Drake Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 4K8.
“The dearest Mother, the kindest friend,
One of the best whom God could lend
Loving, thoughtful, gentle and true
Always willing a kind act to do.”
Funeral arrangements have been made with Bethel Funeral Chapel Ltd., 5605 – 27th Street, Vernon, B.C. V1T 8Z5 ( 1-250-542-1187)