Obituary of Kathleen Mae Wilson
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WILSON, Kathleen ‘Kay’ Mae of Scotsburn – Our Loving Mother We are saddened to announce the passing of our mother Kay on May 19, 2023 at the Palliative Care Unit of the Aberdeen Hospital, New Glasgow among family, quietly and peacefully. Born in Scotsburn on April 30, 1936 to John Murray and Gladys (Patterson) Murray she was a precocious child and a precious new sister to Allan. When war broke out in 1939, John joined the RCE at age 39 and went to England leaving Allan to tend the farm. Gladys ran the household and Kay grew and learned fast how to be responsible and independent. Those were hard years growing and working and praying that her dad would come back unharmed from Europe. She went to school at the two-room school house in Scotsburn beside Bethel Church where she made lifelong friends. Mom showed early talent in art and in school theatre, which she resumed later in her school life. Mom later attended Pictou Academy often taking the Jitney train into Pictou. She had acting parts in Grades 10-12 and graduated from PA in 1952. With help from the Principal, Mom decided to attend U of T and graduated in 1956 as a member of the first class of female physiotherapists to ever be graduated in Canada. She worked at various hospitals in Halifax and finally at CFB Halifax Stadacona Hospital. One day a young English-Canadian sailor was injured playing soccer and needed physio. His name was Steve Wilson. Guess who treated that sore ankle? You guessed it! Mom took a liking to this ex-patriot Englishman and the feeling was evidently mutual. After a loving courtship and a meeting with John and Gladys Murray, with their blessing given, they were joined in Holy Matrimony on August 31, 1957 here in Scotsburn at the homestead. Living in Halifax, not far away, Steve moved from Regular Navy to the Reserves so that he and Mom could start a family. Tragically, their first-born child, a girl named Donna, died a crib death. Saddened, but nevertheless determined to have a wee one, they tried again and were blessed with another girl named Arlene, born at the Grace Maternity on August 31, 1959. Arlene was hail and healthy and on Feb 10, 1961 Kay and Steve were again blessed, this time with a boy named Eric. In 1963 Kay and Steve joined a building Co-op on Nova Terrace in Dartmouth. Working together all the young families built their homes from foundations to roofs. A suburban community was born and the Wilson Family made friends and memories that were cherished for a lifetime. Although life raising two young children was a challenge for the young parents, it was also a lot of fun! Family life - swimming in Bell Lake, picnics on the nearby beaches, tobogganing at the end of the street in winter, learning to play clarinet, the kids playing games with the neighbourhood kids on the street and in homes and backyards and going to school at the nearby Caldwell Road School - made many precious memories for the young family. Kay and Steve were devoted, happy and loving parents. But alas, change was coming. Sadly, in 1965, both John and Gladys passed away, separated by only six days. Grieving, the family moved to Scotsburn in November 1966 and spent a first cold, drafty winter in the Murray homestead. The frost made poetic patterns on the inside of the window panes and water froze in kitchen. But now Kay was back amongst old Scotsburn friends and a welcoming community and soon was busy working again, first doing homecare Physio with the VON and later helping to start a brand new and progressive Physiotherapy Department at the Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital. Steve worked in construction and later in his trade as a machinist at Canso Chemicals. The family attended Bethel almost every Sunday, with Kay and Steve in the choir and the kids in Sunday School. Kay was a strong Christian and later led CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training) classes for several years, grooming the girls for the Duke of Edinburgh awards. Steve also served on the Board of Managers at Bethel and as an elder for many years. Kay and Steve were key members of a church committee who brought and established a young Vietnamese family safely in Scotsburn and Durham, finding housing, jobs and language training for them. Lifelong friendships were made. Kay wrote, designed props, and choreographed an innovative theatrical production called Black Light Theatre featuring the young people at Bethel. Learning to think and act as a Christian was central to the success of the whole family. At home Kay not only managed to do all the essential household tasks but also learned new crafts and skills. Arlene and Eric ran out of fingers and toes counting the numerous crafts, textile pieces and art projects Mom loved to be busy doing. Her hands were never still. She painted beautifully, and gardened avidly. We had horses in the barn, chickens in the coop, and a big garden every year. The kids were in 4H and other extra-curricular groups and sports. Kay and Arlene learned how to ride and competed in many equestrian events. The family all had something to put in the Pictou Exhibition, and were active in so many ways. I wonder how she ever managed! The years went by and Mom and Dad had to let us kids go out on our own. Arlene and Eric both were married and had children too; the grandchildren who Kay and Steve loved so very, very much. First came Kristin and Jarret and later along came Ryan and Abbey. Now, on their own, Mom and Dad retired from working life. They sang together in three choirs; Bethel Presbyterian, The Trinitarians and the Noteable Friends. They really enjoyed life together and spent idyllic summers at the beach and cottage in Seafoam and falls and winters in Scotsburn, raking autumn leaves, skiing, drinking cocoa, reading in front of the crackling fireplace, and rejoicing in the long awaited coming of warm, verdant spring times. However, gradually during those years things changed for Dad. His mind slowly slipped into disarray as Mom nurtured, loved, and cared for him as the curse of Alzheimer’s Disease slowly carried him away. In February 2006 he slipped away to our Father in Heaven. Mom's strong faith carried the three of us through what seemed to us a dark and hopeless storm. She grieved deeply but refused to give in to depression and kept us all hopeful for the future. We all recovered and rejoiced with her in Life as Mom continued to work, attend church regularly, volunteer in the community, nurture her children and grandchildren and give unstintingly of herself to others and to rejoice and sing! Mom learned to play the trumpet and began playing with the Pictou County Brass and Reed making more dear friends and memories. She became fast friends with Tom Murphy, from our cottage community of friends, and spent summers at the cottage and travelling about Nova Scotia with Sailor Tom from Port Hood. Later, the two of them travelled to California by car and then back home on a grand tour, stopping enroute to visit Mom and Tom's relatives in Canada and the US. It was a golden time for both! The grandchildren were growing up but were, as always, happy to come to visit, have fun, laugh, and play games, help around the place and just be with Grammy. As she began to grow older Arlene and Eric were happy and honoured to be able to be close and be supportive. In 2009 she suffered a TIA (Trans Ischemic Attack, a mild stroke) after a Presbyterian Church trip to Nicaragua to tour Fair Trade operations. In 2010 her brother Allan sadly passed on and Mom mourned for him deeply. We celebrated her 80th Birthday in 2016 by throwing a surprise party for Mom at the John Gammon Hall in Scotsburn. What a party it was with family and so many cherished friends attending and celebrating with her. She was so very happy that day! Later that year she experienced a second TIA. The final chapter began in 2017 when she experienced a full-blown stroke. Thankfully, she was transported to the stroke unit at St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish where her recovery began. But she was left impaired to some extent, unable to use her right arm, verbally and visually impaired and suffering from a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. Her physical capacity declined gradually. Eric moved home and ceased working out West in order to care for Mom. Arlene used her skills as a CCA to make everything as easy as possible for her to live well at home. Her last years were spent with family and close friends in and around Scotsburn. Spending summer days at the cottage, and enjoying the air and sunshine on the patio deck along with brief walks in the spring and fall in the backyard, Mom was still able to enjoy life. Staying warm by the fire with her cats in winter she graciously received wonderful care from her son, daughter and the VON staff who lovingly and collectively gave her a comfortable and carefree existence and a superb quality of life at home. She was a wonderful lady and was so easy to Love. Finally, on May 4, 2023 Kay was rushed by ambulance to the Aberdeen Hospital where she received excellent care from a dedicated team of Doctors, Nurses, CCAs and other health care professionals. But the medical problems proved to be insurmountable and God had other plans. Only one day after being moved up to the Palliative Care Unit and with the best possible care, Kay passed away, peacefully, and quietly before dawn on May 19, 2023. Kay will be deeply missed by her daughter Arlene and her children Kristin and Jarret and their father, Robert McNeill as well as by her son Eric and his children Ryan and Abbey and their mother Kathy. Deeply affected too are Mary Jean (Patterson) Graham and her children and Blanche Patterson and her three girls, Kathy, Patty and Judy. Also deeply affected are the Fisher families in England (cousins Ian and Andrew) and the Goshkos and McGaugheys in western Canada. Friends are invited to pay their respects at any of the following; 1/ Visitation at McLaren Funeral Home in Pictou from 7-9pm on Thursday June 1st, 2/ Kay's Celebration of Life at Bethel Presbyterian in Scotsburn with Rev. Dr. Glen Matheson at 2pm on Friday and 3/ A joyous Memorial Reception to follow in the church basement. To listen by telephone the service will be available by conference call at 1:50pm by calling 1-800-974-5902 and entering the conference ID 7755518# toll free from anywhere in North America. For a live stream link visit www.mclarenfuneral.ca. A recorded version of the service will be available at www.mclarenfuneral.ca following the service. Donations in memory of Kay Wilson may be made to Bethel Presbyterian Church, The Canadian Wildlife Federation or the Pictou County Trails Association and Cape to Cape Trails. Selah Mom