Mary Angela (Oresky) Cunneyworth

August 16, 1930 – December 4, 2014

Mary passed away peacefully in Vernon, BC, age 84.

She was born in Toronto at the beginning of the Great Depression, the second child of Slovak immigrants, George and Mary Oresky.

In 1943 Mary found herself on a farm in Rockwood, Ontario, keeping house, cooking and minding her younger brother. At the age of 12, she plowed a field behind a Clydesdale named Barney. Life on the farm was hard, but there were good times too. She enjoyed riding draft horses and harnessing them for drives to help her father in the fields.

Mary returned to Toronto at 17 and soon reconnected with her childhood sweetheart Ron. They were married in 1948. After living in West Toronto until 1970, the family moved to Caledon East, just far enough beyond the suburbs for a more sedate country feeling.

After a major stroke and impressive recovery, Mary volunteered to work with stroke patients at St. John’s Rehab Hospital in Toronto. As a volunteer with the Peel Association for Handicapped Adults, she organized group tours at Woodbine racetrack, including photo sessions in the winner’s circle, blending her love of horses with her passion for helping people.

In 2007, Mary left Ontario for her next phase of life, in the mountains of British Columbia. For her last seven years she was happy to call Cherryville and Coldstream her home.

On her 80th birthday she got on a horse again, thrilled one more time, just to relive a fond memory. Mary loved to tell how she and her best friend, Marie McCaig, saw Elvis Presley close up front and centre at Maple Leaf Gardens in 1957. She was a devoted Elvis fan for the rest of her life and celebrated her last three birthdays with live Elvis shows at Coldstream Meadows. A devoted and loving mother, many people outside the family called her “Mom”. In her final few days, she was told she was the best mother in the world. Her reply: “Hah! I can do better than that”.

Mary is survived by her sons Wayne Edgar and Robert George (Connie Mitchell), her grandchildren Amanda Rae and Amber-Lea Cunneyworth, and Samantha and Stephanie Schueler, her brother John Oresky, a loving extended family and many friends, near and far, all rich in treasured memories. Mary was pre-deceased by her beloved husband Ronald Henry Victor Cunneyworth, her middle son Allan Ronald (Janet Howard) and her older brother George.

Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the staff of Coldstream Meadows, Vernon Jubilee Hospital and Hospice House of Vernon for all their wonderful support and kindness. A private memorial will be planned for next summer. Mary would be honoured by any donations made to local Hospice societies, Heart and Stroke Foundation or any charity of your choice.

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