BLACK, Mary “Mina”

Mary “Mina” Wilhelmina Black passed away peacefully with family on February 16th, 2012 at Hospice House in Vernon, BC. She lived a full and spirited life, sharing her zest and humour with all who met her on her life’s adventures.

Mina was born to William and Minnie Coll on her family’s homestead in Saskatchewan nearly a century ago. She shared a happy and carefree childhood with four siblings: Isabelle Willison, Irma Schwenneker, Jean Kirkness, and one brother, Jim Coll. One Christmas, Santa brought her father a sled. He raced outside with it, up the hill, and slid down with all the kids watching through the window. He lay on the sled for awhile at the bottom of the hill, then came inside and told the children they could have the sled because the darn thing didn’t go uphill.

The daily routine of farm life taught Mina determination and the value of hard work, which served her well on the farm with her first husband, Jim Franks. When Jim died, his good friend, Bob Black, fulfilled his promise to take care of Mina. He married her. Eventually Mina and Bob decided to move out west, and so, ever the pioneer, Mina fired up her Austin and drove from the Prairies out to the Okanagan while Bob kept working the farm. They settled for a while in Armstrong, but when Mina found the perfect home on PV Road in Vernon, she asked the real estate agent to return to her house in Armstrong and tell her husband they bought a blue house.

After Bob’s passing, Mina travelled with friends around the globe, visiting Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand and Israel, as well as driving between Saskatchewan and Vernon up until her late eighties. She created a large family for herself by sharing her life with many people: the gang at Lincoln Lanes, players of the weekly “floating crap game” and the children and grandchildren of her longtime friend and travel buddy, Anne Siemens.

Mina enjoyed the outdoors, hiking, gardening and cultivating fruit trees. The best cherries grew on Mina’s trees, which is how she met half her neighbours. She hated bananas, but enjoyed her “pale brown” coffee, even sneaking Bailey’s into the dining room at Carrington in empty Boost bottles. Her generosity was immense: she helped fulfill the dreams of her friends—trips overseas, time with children, summer cabin, postsecondary educations, and regularly donated to many charities, including the SPCA and Doctors without Borders (MSF).


Everybody who met Mina experienced her positive force and fierce sense of humour. Her stories and quips were fast and sharp; she often boasted of being the only grandma with a B.A. in front of her name. Mina will be greatly missed by all the people she invited into her life, and we will always remember this inspiring, incredible, independent woman. As a good farmer, she sowed seeds of love and kindness far and wide, and these will be cherished for generations. She taught us that dessert should be eaten first, fancy tablecloths are washable and the beautiful teacups are for everyone, every day.

Mina’s family would like to thank her friend Kathleen Holland, as well as the staff at Carrington Place, Vernon Jubilee Hospital, and Hospice House for all the care they provided.

Mina thought memorials were depressing. Please feel free to join friends and family for a party at Lincoln Lanes on Saturday February 25th at 4:30 p.m.

Arrangements have been entrusted to:


(250) 542-4333

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