June 7, 1922 – April 26, 2022
Six weeks short of her 100th birthday, our mother quietly gave up the ghost and freed her spirit from the corporeal miseries of old age.
She was looking forward to her birthday, amazed that she had lived for almost a century; but not sure that she would be here to celebrate it with us, believing that she would be “moving” soon.
She was ready for the move, having endured the last few years with her usual grace and dignity, but with less mobility and more discomfort.
Mom was born in St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, England, the second child and first daughter of Harold and Nellie Palmer. Apart from a short period following her birth, she spent her entire life in Nanaimo, her mother’s hometown. She spent her childhood summers on Newcastle and Protection Islands with her four siblings, paddling back and forth from their camp to Nanaimo.
She was Nanaimo’s May Queen, reigning over the Victoria Day celebrations in 1935. As a young woman she worked for the Canadian Bank of Commerce. In the summertime, she would paddle the ocean in her red canoe, exploring the harbour and the nearby islands.
She met Reg Briginshaw while ice skating at Nanaimo Civic Arena. They married in 1947 and had four daughters together. They spent their child-rearing years in Yellow Point, living in army tents while they built the family home.
We girls (now four old women!) are forever grateful for the privilege of growing up in our wild paradise with the freedom to be independent and adventurous.
After we had all left home, Mom and Dad enjoyed getting together with their friends for coffee when they were in town, playing cards, attending dances and the symphony. They spent the summers on their boat exploring Desolation Sound and the Gulf Islands and road tripping through southern BC and into Washington State.
They welcomed their grandchildren’s visits in the summers and always made their stays memorable.
In 1991 they said goodbye to the beach and moved into town where they continued to have an active social life for 17 years before moving to Nanaimo Seniors Village, where Dad died in 2012.
A few years later, Mom moved to Berwick on the Lake where she lived contentedly for the remainder of her life. We are grateful to the compassionate and caring Brio staff who made Mom’s last years as comfortable as possible.
Mom was known for her smile, her sense of humour and her gracious hospitality. She was creative and artistic, a talented singer and pianist. She taught elocution from home and worked at Hills Indian Crafts for a few of her empty-nest years.
Mom survived Dad for ten years. She was predeceased in 2005 by her older brother, John, and in 2015 by her younger brother Frank. She is survived by her sisters, Sheila Elgie and Jennie (Brenda) Forbes; her sisters-in-law June Palmer and Irene Palmer; and her many nephews and nieces.
Also surviving are her girls and their families: Susan and Rick Jeffs, Anne and Bob McFadden, Karen Briginshaw and Al Seriani, and Teri and Bryan Peterson, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Mom did not want a funeral. Rather than remember her with flowers, please consider donating to Fighting Blindness Canada (www. fightingblindness.ca) in her memory.Obituary
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