Lillian Margaret Brooks

BROOKS, Lillian Margaret

It is with great sadness we announce the sudden passing of Lillian Margaret Brooks (nee Holter) on September 8th, 2006 at the age of 82 in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. She leaves behind her best friend and loving husband Andy of 57 years, her devoted children Peter Brooks, Margaret Forscutt (Bill) of Vernon and Cathy Aspinall (Peter) of Port Alberni, her grandchildren Tyler Ruks (Sarah) of Vancouver and Alison Ruks (Jesse) of Vernon. Lillian is also survived by her brother Roy Holter of Quelph, Ontario.

Lillian was born in Burnaby, BC on June 17th, 1924 to Sigurd and Petra Holter. Her childhood years were spent in Chilliwack, BC with her three brothers. Lillian followed older brothers Clare and Ernie into the armed forces, enlisting in the Royal Canadian Air Force on January 29th 1943, at the age of eighteen. She served as a Leading Aircraftwoman until honourably discharged on February 1st 1946. She was awarded the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal – War Medal 1939 – 1945.

While at home visiting her parents in Chilliwack, BC she met her future husband Andy and within six weeks they had fallen in love and were married on July 21, 1949. Their love for one another remained constant and true through a lifetime of challenges. While pregnant with her third child in 1952, at the young age of 29 and three years into her marriage, Lillian was stricken with polio at the garrison at Vedder Crossing, B.C. where Andy was serving as an instructor with the Royal Canadian Engineers. Lillian was able to deliver her third child by natural childbirth while in the throes of the disease. Upon moving to Vernon in 1955 and confined to a wheelchair, she raised her three children without any outside help. With strong support from her husband, she was able to maintain her own home. Lillian’s courage and determination were evident throughout the years as she was confident she could lead a normal life. She could often be seen with 3 small children in tow during her weekly shopping trips. It was quite a sight to see Lillian with her 4 year old child sitting on the foot pedals of her wheelchair and the 5 and 6 year old steering the chair down Mission Hill by the hospital in Vernon. It was even more of a sight to see them push her up the hill heading home.

A trip to England in 1973 with Andy and children to visit family was highlighted by a train ride in the baggage car as the British Rail system was ill equipped for disabled people. Lillian’s written journal of this event is a testament to her amazing sense of humour.

In these times when life was very challenging for disabled people, Lillian wasn’t one to let that stop her. She went on weekly fishing trips with the family in a specially equipped boat and caught many fish. During the wintertime she enjoyed sleigh riding, tobogganing and watching the Vernon Canadians play hockey. Her biggest thrill was when the Vernon team won the Allen Cup.

She loved to socialize and was especially fond of children. Many of the neighbor’s children spent many happy times with Lillian and Andy.

Lillian’s first grandchild, Tyler, was born in Vernon in 1979. Her second grandchild, Alison, was born in Port Alberni in 1982. Although the grandchildren were raised in Port Alberni, Lillian made sure to create a loving relationship with both. Christmas was an extremely special time for the family when all would travel to gather at Lillian and Andy’s home in Vernon.

In her later years, much time was spent at home with the love of her life, Andy. She would spend much time reading, doing crosswords and enjoying delicious meals that Andy would prepare for her daily. She loved her bingo scratches and her chicken fingers. No matter how busy she looked, she was always aware and listening to the activities around her.

Throughout the years Lillian provided constant love and support to her children and grandchildren and was an inspiration to all. No matter what the obstacles were, Lillian managed to overcome them all with her sense of humor, sweet laughter and a twinkle in her eye.

We would like to extend a special thank you to Annette, Mayda, Verna, Jill and Donna for the loving care they provided to Lil in her later years. We would also like to thank the staff in the Intensive Care Unit at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital for their support and care.

Funeral services will be held at Pleasant Valley Funeral Chapel, at 4303 Pleasant Valley Road, Vernon, B.C. on Friday September 15th, 2006 at 1pm. Reception to follow.

This beautiful, gracious and gentle lady will be deeply missed by us all. We will love her forever.