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Date of Passing: Nov 09, 2017

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EVELYN GRACE SPEIRS (nee GAYLARD) It is with great sadness we announce that Evelyn Grace Speirs (nee Gaylard) passed away November 9, 2017, at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, after a brief illness. She was 87. Evelyn bravely battled chronic pain in her final years, but her last moments were filled with a sense of peace and tranquility as she slipped away holding the hands of her oldest son, Bradley and his wife Lana. Mom was predeceased by her soulmate and best friend, Fulton Alexander McBeath Speirs, to whom she was married for 50 years, a union filled with fun, family, friends, food and, just to keep things interesting, the odd argument. She is also survived by her daughter, Sharon, with whom she had a special bond of friendship; youngest son, Doug, who teased her unmercifully; daughters-in-law, Diane and Lana, and honorary son-in-law Andy Crimp, whom she loved as much as her own two boys. Her memory will always be cherished by Auntie Ann Leong and a multitude of loving relatives and friends in Vancouver, Winnipeg and on Vancouver Island, where she spent her final years gazing at the ocean, enjoying the fish and chips at the Waddling Dog, and driving to a never-ending series of garage sales to collect a mountain of "treasures" that often befuddled her adoring family. Born in Vancouver in 1930, Evelyn was a bold and vibrant spirit. Despite not being blessed with long legs, she was an excellent athlete, blazing around the track with surprising speed that earned her the moniker "Legs". Mom and dad spent 26 wonderful, though extremely cold, years in Winnipeg, where Evelyn became a second mother to a legion of her children's closest friends. To say she was passionate about food and cooking is an understatement; she was legendary for preparing meals large enough to feed family, friends and any army in the nearest three time zones. It was in Winnipeg where Evelyn was handed the affectionate nickname "Big E," partly a tribute to the fact she was a solid, traditionally built woman, but mostly a recognition of her outsized personality and sense of humour. You know that strange woman in the restaurant who laughingly informs you that whatever you are eating looks more delicious than her own order? That was our mom. Evelyn took great pride in being a homemaker of the old-school and, during any holiday you can name, her home was transformed into a magical, welcoming haven. Her holiday motto was simple - if it's not moving, decorate it; if it is moving, stop it, then decorate it. Like the transformed Scrooge, mom kept Christmas in her heart 365 days a year, and woe to anyone who misplaced her favourite decorations. But mom's greatest pride and joy was her family, especially her grandchildren - Logan, 16, Abby, 19, Kayleigh, 28, and Liam, 30, none of whom will ever forget the mouthwatering taste of mom's trademark buttermilk pancakes. Watching her grandkids grow into the outstanding young people they are today filled grandma with a sense of joy and peace, even as she coped with the many challenges of her sunset years in her retirement home, beautiful Sidney By The Sea. A quick glance at Evelyn's photo albums would reveal an open secret - mom had a special place in her heart for her own pet dogs (Dorgie, Pepper, Misty, Piper, Cory and Meaghan) as well as her children's hounds, who were treated to popcorn and toast during sleepovers. Evelyn's family would like to thank the ER staff at Saanich Hospital for their compassionate care, along with the host of paramedics who rode to the rescue when mom toppled over in the shower. Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Evelyn's life on Thursday, November 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The Teahouse, 7501 Stanley Park Drive (on Ferguson Point). In lieu of flowers, donations to the Winnipeg Humane Society would be welcomed.

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Nov 14, 2017

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