June 7, 1925 – September 23, 2020
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Mom, Helen Brown, on September 23, 2020 at Oceanview in Comox.
Mom is survived by Barbara (Joe), Rick (Jan), Heather, Duncan (Pat) and Margaret (Chris).
She was a loving and well-loved Grandma and Gran to 9 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
Helen was born on June 7, 1925 in Glasgow Scotland. When she was a young girl she showed an aptitude for drama and her parents were encouraged to enroll her in the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts where she earned a degree in elocution.
She met her husband John, a Canadian soldier, during the war and they were married in a blacked out church in Glasgow on December 14, 1943. John then returned to the war and arrangements were made for Helen to come to Canada as a war bride.
At 20 years of age, she left her parents, brother, and her home in Glasgow and sailed to Canada, arriving at Pier 1, then carrying on by rail to Hillcrest, Alberta to live with John’s parents until he came home from the war. Upon his jubilant return they set up home in a log cabin and John got work in the mines.
Helen never got to “walk the boards” in the church play because when the minister asked her to, she was pregnant with her first child. When he asked her again the next year, she was pregnant with her second child.
However, her talent never went to waste as she entertained her children with bedtime stories, recited poems complete with the accents of the French maid and the Cockney child, and was often called on to recite Robbie Burns.
The Hillcrest years saw our family grow to four children. When the mines closed, Dad joined the Air Force. They were stationed in Cold Lake, Alberta where their fifth child Margaret (“our Cold Lake Bonus!”), was born.
The family move to the Comox Valley came in 1960. To this day we drive our kids and grandkids by the tiny house at Point Holmes where we lived until a PMQ became available at the Base. We wonder how Mom managed with all seven of us in that little house.
Once we were settled on the Base, Mom worked at the Base Exchange, and later on managed Little John’s and Boots Drug Stores in Courtenay. Mom was “that nice lady with the Scottish accent who is always smiling”.
Mom and Dad lived at 1860 Piercy Avenue in Courtenay when they retired, and worked hard in their large garden. When the house became too much for them, the move was made to Berwick House in Comox, where they were very happy. Mom was a “greeter” and loved introducing the newcomers to Berwick.
She kept busy with her War Brides group, her knitting club and her family. Dad died in Berwick House December 27, 2011. They had been married 68 years. “It’s like losing a limb”, Mom said. She soldiered on and enjoyed her family and her many friends.
Mom was a talented hand knitter as well as a machine knitter. Everyone in the family benefitted from her artistry and hard work. She made sweaters, jackets and skirts, as well as many dresses for the granddaughters that have been handed down through the family. She also made receiving blankets for all the grandkids. When Mom knew she was “losing it’, due to the onset of dementia, she made them in advance for all 9 grandkids and 11 great grandkids. Her 12th great grandchild, who will be born in November, will have one as well.
Mom was well known for her amazing energy, her can-do attitude, her warmth, and her sense of humour which prevailed to the end. As our wonderful Dad was heard to say, “We are a close knit family and Mom is the knitter”.
The family would like to thank all the staff at The Views in Comox for their compassionate care of our mother, Helen Brown, over the past 16 months. A special thanks as well to Dr. Austin and Dr. Smit for their excellent care of our Mom over the years.
A private family celebration will be held at a later date.
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