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MARY GORDON Mary passed away on July 5, 2012. Mary was predeceased by her parents, husband Don in 1995, son-in-law Armand, sister Margaret, brother Edmund, nephew Pat, and sister-in-law Margaret. She is survived by children Maureen, Donald, Pamela, Georgina and George (Darlene); seven grandchildren; 16 great grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members, too many to name. She was born in Clouncuneen, Co. Clare, Ireland in 1915 to Patrick and Nora Roche, the eldest of six siblings on the small farm. Mary and Sister Margaret helped with milking, thrashing and minding younger siblings. Mary left home for work at age 17. Eventually she went to London just prior to the outbreak of the Second World War during which she worked in munitions. There she met and married Donald Gordon, coming to Canada in the fall of 1944. Early life in Canada was spent in Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. In 1950, Mary and Don now with five children moved to Winnipeg, where Mary has called home since. Funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at Chapel Lawn Funeral Home, 4000 Portage Avenue, with reception to follow. Chapel Lawn www.chapellawn.mb.ca 885-9715
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on July 07, 2012
Guest Book(7 entries)
- I am saddened to hear of the loss of your dear Mary. But I am equally overjoyed that you have thought to post her beautiful memorial online for me to accidentally discover. I did not know your dear Mary, from Clouncuneen. However, we will all most certainly live on through eternity as having shared that rough patch of earth known to us all as Clouncuneen. Bless us Our Lord and especially your daughter Mary!
- Posted by: Michael Mitchell - Pearl River, New York, USA (My mother is Maggie Ann McMahon born to Martin and Ellen (Motto and Ellie) McMahon from Clouncuneen.) on: Nov 17, 2012
- Mary Gordon
December 17, 1915 to July 5, 2012
Grandma “Mary Gordon” would always tell the story to her Children, Grandchildren and Great–grandchildren of how she was born under a “Rock” in Ireland. To this day her Great-grandchildren still tell that story. In actual fact:
Our mother Mary Gordon was born near a small village in her cottage home in Ireland. It was a tight knit community with strong values. Memories went back for generations, and as stories were told it seemed out mother was related to just about everyone in one way or another.
As youngsters, Irish kids had many responsibilities beside going to school. Growing up in the farm, our mother and her sister Margaret did their share of chores. They milked, fed the animals, even took the milk and butter to the dairy in the donkey and cart for weighing. They took part in harvesting and stoking the hay. Then in the evening bonfires were held at the crossroads. Neighbours visited at each other’s homes, played cards, told stories, made music and danced, then got up in the morning and went to mass.
It was expected that our mother would take over the farm at some point as she was the eldest. But after seeing so many of her cousins, aunts and uncles emigrate, it looked as if she might as well. However, the world economy changed and with the great depression that opportunity was lost.
Then tragedy struck in the family, when our mother’s younger sister, our aunt Jane was critically injured and died of the burns she received in a fire at home. Our mother never got over the loss of her beautiful sister Jane.
Mary went to work at seventeen in Crotty’s in Kilkee, to learn the retail sales business. Not happy with that situation, she then went to work at Falvey’s the big tourist hotel. These were learning experiences she related to us many times.
Our mother was introduced to Mrs. Fitzgerald who was looking for a cook and companion. Working for this family was a new world and mother enjoyed her position and she remained with the Fitzgeralds until they returned to America from pre-war Ireland.
Our mother had many cautionary tales to tell of working, of how to stay on the straight and narrow path, of the temptations and pitfalls to be met there and the necessity to keep your good reputation intact and to stand up for yourself and what you believed in. Mother worked for a few more families in Ireland then went across to England.
In London, she went to work for Lyons of London in food processing. Always one of the lead workers, she often surpassed the men in earnings. This, when there were long lines of the unemployed looking for work: she always said the day after war was declared, the lines were gone and everyone had a job.
When War broke out, she went into munitions where she worked on making bombs and later the huge balloons that floated over London to discourage German bombers and bring them down in their ropes.
Margaret was also in London. Margaret had met a young Canadian, Michael Kathum. They introduced our mother to Donald Gordon. A whirlwind romance turned into marriage. One day they got on the train, went down to Reading and got married.
This was the time of the Blitz. London was very dangerous so the two families moved to the Coast where at night they would watch as the German planes went over on their bombing Missions.
The two Maureens and Bridget were born in England and before the war was over, both families had relocated to Canada. In the fall of 1944, our mother, with her first child and another on the way, left England under deepest secrecy, boarded the Mauritania, on one of the last sailings before D-day to join our father who had returned to Canada.
Our mother and Maureen ended up in Sioux Lookout. A very different place to what Mary had known in England. With no idea of Canada, Mother’s resiliency was tested in every way possible. Heating was a wood or coal fire, town was miles away, along a road frequented by bears, soon there were snow storms and thirty-below weather.
Our mother loved her mother-in-law instantly. She and her sisters-in-law had great times together. However the six Gordon brothers were known for their wild and rowdy ways and the trouble they got into when they went to town. She had a great fondness for her new family and country and grew to love them and the backwoods of northwest Ontario.
In early 1950, the year of the great flood, and with five children in tow, our mother and dad moved to Winnipeg where dad had work on the railroad. We settled into the “North End” and lived there for the greatest part of our early school lives. It was like a small lively cosmopolitan town. A trip downtown for business and shopping was like going to a different city.
Mother used all of her talents raising us there: she gardened, she was a great cook and we always had good plain food, food was charged every month at the grocery store, debt was paid off a little every month, she stood in line to get medicine, healthcare and dental services, and had to prove our neediness. It was a long way from her simple but proud background in rural Ireland.
Then in 1958 or ’59 a decision: Got to move out of the North End to get close to the rail yards in Fort Rouge. So over the Arlington Bridge we went to Corydon Avenue. There my mother had us all baptized and soon confirmed. We were enrolled in local schools including Earl Grey and St. Ignatius, later Churchill and Kelvin.
We lived on Corydon until my mother and dad bought the house on Fleet.
So many things going on at once. Children adjusting to a new area and schools, sisters and brother far away in Ontario and Ireland, aging parents, father taking sick, kids striking out in the workforce, then a marriage and new son-in-law. But mother endured, stayed at the core, watching, encouraging, coping, and holding everything together.
With Maureen’s young family started, Mother’s love of children was fulfilled with grandchildren and her babysitting. She and Maureen were able to join forces to buy the cottage in Winnipeg Beach, which brought so much fun and great memories.
Aided by her sheer determination and entrepreneurship, mother set out to make a new home for herself. She found apartment life didn’t cut it, so she rented a little house. That seemed like a waste of money, so she bought a little house on Clonard.
That wasn’t her last real estate deal, but she always had a little house of her own after that. Finally, she and Georgina moved back to the North End where they spent the last, it would have been 11 years in August.
Our mother’s life was focussed on her family. She was enormously proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and all their activities and achievements. Every day she would be in touch, phoning to hear about their comings and goings, relishing in the little everyday stories.
Family gatherings were anticipated and planned meticulously, especially Christmases. Mother remained close to her sisters and brother. Mother travelled with our father often to Sioux Lookout, Brantford, B.C., Green Bay, and back to Ireland and England. She travelled well into her eighties and nineties. Family was everything.
Through her life’s journey, our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and aunt showed us in so many ways how to live right.
She often referred to the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ****the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.****
And in practical terms, she told us:
Pay Your Bills First
Eat Well. It saves on the cost of medicine.
Care about and for your family.
Deal honestly with people.
Remember and honour the past.
Never turn up a good deal if you find one.
Follow the news and stay informed. It keeps your mind alert.
Get behind your political party
Criticism can be tolerated.
These are some of her ways.
She was strong until the end.
And you may say about our Mother: That
She Always Did Her Best.
- Posted by: Pam Delisle-Keating (Daughter) on: Jul 23, 2012
- Mary was a very warm and caring lady, I will miss our many conversations and the laughs we shared. Mary had a great sense of humor.
My condolences to her family and a most sincere thank you for the privilege of caring for Mary over the past few years
- Posted by: sharron (home care) on: Jul 11, 2012
- Aunt Mary and my mother, Margaret, her sister, were always quite close visiting each other back and forth from their homes in Winnipeg and Brantford, Ontario. I know that she took the death of my mother quite hard. Bill and I took the opportunity to visit with and share memories with Aunt Mary in September 2009 as we returned to the Yukon. We fondly remember Aunt Mary, her warmth, welcoming and great food as we visited and then lived in Winnipeg. Aunt Mary always had room in her heart and home for her family and relatives and we will remember her with great love. I have a lot to thank Aunt Mary for as she helped the midwife deliver me in wartime England and loved to relate stories about my birth.
Bridget (niece) & Bill Barrick
- Posted by: Bridget & Bill Barrick (Niece) on: Jul 10, 2012
- Claus and I would like to express our deepest sympathy to all of Aunt Mary's children and grandchildren. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
- Posted by: Claus and Lynn Otto (neice) on: Jul 8, 2012
- My Aunt Mary's passing marks the end of an era for me, as she was the last surviving of my aunts and uncles. Sincere condolences to my cousins Maureen, Don, Pam, George and Georgina.
- Posted by: Lorraine Gordon (niece) on: Jul 8, 2012
- So sorry to hear of Mary's passing, she was such a sweet lady always so kind and full of life. I remember having many enjoyable conversations with her over the years. I know how special and loved she was by her family and i would like to extend my condolences to all...and what a life she had. Christy, Dean, Cali, Zenon & Keenan Toporoski
- Posted by: Christy, Dean Toporoski & Family (Friend of the family) on: Jul 7, 2012
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