December 2, 1929 – May 1, 2020
May 1st was a beautiful sunny day and the sunflowers and saskatoon bushes were in full bloom and splendour in the Okanagan. It would be this day that my mum chose to be her last day with us. At 3:25 pm on that gorgeous day with me by her side holding her hand she breathed her last breath and her heart beat it’s last beat, and then she was gone. My mum, who was truly one of a kind left me at the amazing age of 90 to a new world free of pain and struggling and to meet up with her soul mate my dad, Ev/John.
Born at the top of High Street in Belmont, Lancashire, England my mum was the first born of 3 and the only daughter to Walter & Mona Halliwell. Mum attended Belmont Primary School and it would be here that she met her future husband at a young age but it would be many years before they began courting, eventually marrying and spending an entire lifetime together.
After leaving private school in her teens mum went to secretarial college in nearby Manchester. She became an phenomenal speed typist and short hand writer back in the day and began her career with a job as a private secretary with the civil service in England.
On September 22nd, 1951 this Lancashire Lass married a dashing young Lancashire Lad in the Belmont Congregational Chapel. Yes, it was the lad she had gone to primary school with. Avid mountaineer and caver ~ John Everist Whittle. The young couple then immigrated to Canada in June 1954 in a bold move to start a new life together outside post-war Britain.
Upon arriving in Canada via New York my parents settled in Calgary where mum found work as a legal secretary at Royal Trust and then with the CPR. Two jobs she thoroughly enjoyed.
My mum loved the years she & dad spent climbing together back in England & Scotland and then on most of the Rockies. She also loved boats, the sea, traveling, hot spicy food, lots of rum, cats and living in The Landing above the lake, which she did for 45 years. She was proud to have once held the position of vice-commodore of the Vernon Yacht Club in the early 1970’s.
My mum loved a good time, good music (music was her passion) and she landed a perfect job at Freddie’s Records on Vernon’s main street in the late 60s, a job that lasted around 17 years for her.
However, a tragic car accident late in 1983 brought her working career to an abrupt end, it was a huge game changer to her health going forward. But… my mum who was one strong Lancashire Lass and ‘tough as boots’ kept soldiering on.
Monica is survived here in Canada by her only daughter Pamela and son-in-law David (Blair), her sister-in-law June Whittle and niece Heather (Andy) Gray and great nephew Colton in Calgary.
In England she is survived by her brother Keith (Enid) Halliwell, nieces and nephews: Debra (Richard), Dawn (Stuart), Graeme (Louise), Corinne (Rick), Adrian (Carol) and great nieces & nephews: Emily, Charlotte, Nicholas, Alisa, Melissa, Emma, Matthew & Lucy and her special cousin Peter Burgum, plus a few other surviving cousins.
Monica was predeceased by her parents Walter (1989) and Mona (2005); and so dear to her heart her youngest brother Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Kevin (1996) and then the love of her life her Ev/John in February of 2019. Monica had no grandchildren but loved her cats (especially Simba) and all her ‘grand-pups’ dearly.
Pamela & David would like to thank some of the nursing staff and care-aids mum had at Silver Springs, Polson Extended Care Fintry North & Creekside Landing over the last 7 years who really made a difference ~ Pierre, Gloria, Guido, Brittany, Lorraine, Terry, ‘Bertha’, Charmaine, Tracy, Tanya, Terry, Vangie, Courtney, Kelsey, Lori, Lorrie, Kevin, Kirk, Lazlo, Hans, Karen, Michelle, Trina, Denise, Elphie, Roxy, Katie, Kelly, Ashley, Chris, Tamra, Lori, Caitlin, Katelyn, Shauna, Taryn, Tabby, Amanda, Brenda, Priscilla, Carol, Jean, Editha, Lana, Cheryl, Carla, Vicky, Meghan, Carla, Dorianne, Phil, Terry, Leanna, Marianne, Katrina, Shawna, Julia, Trina, Lena, Erica, Blair, Kim, Jenny, Rudy, Ashley, Donna, Jeff, Bev, Lisa, Ramona, Cathy, Theresa, Melinda, Michael, Jocelyn, Noreen, Eli, Cindi, Alana & Cheryl for making mum’s days a wee bit brighter and taking the time to help her, care for her, make her cups of tea, hug her and have a laugh with her.
To my B Villa Gals: Linda, Colleen, Brittany & Vicky ~ Thank you so much for showing my mum such love and support from 2014-2019 on all days we sat with my dad. To Tamra: Your special marmalade sandwiches will never be forgotten! To Jenny: You & I have been thru a lot with my mum since that night in July of 2015. You are an amazingly strong and special person. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did for my mum and I will never forget you.
But… we could not have managed any of this situation without ALL the care staff at Silver Springs, Polson Extended Care Fintry North, Creekside Landing and Dr. Donald Smith & Jodey – thank you!
To Charles: You came into our lives at at a time when we were all struggling with loved ones living with dementia in care. We were there for each other through all the rough and sad times and became law such good friends. But…you became such an amazingly loyal friend to my
mum over these last years, and you made such a difference for her when you visited on Sundays and brought her a Timmies.
Thank you my friend!
To Christian Sjonnesen, Betty Hunter, Sally Evans & Terry Mooney: Music was my mum’s passion and what drove her and boy did she love and appreciate all your music sessions over the years while she was in care. Thank you!
To Nikki Parr at Interior Health & Melinda Hambly: I am eternally grateful to you both for allowing my mum to return back to Creekside in 2017 so she could live out the rest of her days in the same facility as my dad thus allowing her to see her beloved John every day. It was never about me, it was always about them.
To our Auntie Marion: Your love, friendship and support to my mum after David & I moved back to the Okanagan in 2006 was fantastic. Thank you so much for all your visits to both my mum and my dad while they were in care.
In respecting Monica’s wishes, cremation has occurred and was entrusted to Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services in Vernon. No service will be held in Canada. Interment will be at a later time and held for immediate family only in England.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Monica’s name to the Vernon Branch of the SPCA – 4800 Haney Rd, Vernon, BC, V1H 1P6.
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