Oct. 1921 – June 4, 2019
Remembering Audrey are daughters, Elsie (Carl), Ruth, Bonnie (Bob), Joan (Duff), and Shirley (Dan); grandchildren Shannon, Murray, Carrie, Jonathan, Jesse, Marie, Laura, Dorian, Leora, Stephen, Dominic, Amy, Kathryn and Jeffrey; great-grandchildren Dominic, Caleb and Walter; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.
She was predeceased by her husband, Jonathan; son-in-law, Martin; and grandson, Lucas.
Growing up in the Dirty Thirties on a farm near Riverhurst, Audrey learned to be thrifty. She walked barefoot through the fields two miles to school, fondly remembering hoisting five-year-old brother Donald onto her shoulders when he got tired.
Education was highly prized in the McEwen household. She and her older sister Isabelle worked hard to get their high school through correspondence school and then going on to Normal School in Moose Jaw. She remembered her parents sending them eggs on the train to stretch their meagre dollars.
She taught school for a few years and then, as her brothers joined the Air Force, she chose to serve her country to. She served overseas in Gander, NF and Dartmouth, NS. She did aircraft reconnaissance (radar spotting), and then identifying sunken ships and planes to ensure everyone was accounted for after the war. She kept in touch with those special Air Force friends for the rest of her life, writing to each other in a Round Robin letter and meeting for reunions all across Canada every few years.
After the war, she enrolled at the U of S, convocating with her household science and education degrees. She had fond memories of living in a house with several others, calling “how many hotplates?” Before they started cooking their supper, so as not to blow the fuse.
She met Jonathan at his brother Gordon’s wedding while working at Fort San as the dietitian. Elizabeth loved to relate how he immediately picked her out in her beautiful green suit and said, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.”
Mum was the queen of gardening, canning and preserving. She loved flowers, especially gladiola, growing more than 100 varieties. She was a great reader; we have wonderful memories of afternoon story time with several of us lying on the bed with her.
She lived her faith, which was a growing and changing one, active in and supported by the United Church, to support LGBQT rights and progressive theology. She ensured a disciplined work ethic in her children; go to the lake (Katepwa) after the (gigantic garden) work is done. After their Aberdeen Angus cattle were sold in the ’70s, she and Jonathan enjoyed travelling to the U.K., Hawaii, Florida, and Alaska.
She was always positive, making the best of everything in her life, even in later years, as her health was severely challenged. She always maintained her independence, preferring to do it herself, even if it took a long time.
She supported her children, saying, “I trust you to do the right thing,” to her teenage daughters, severely cramping any desire to be wild and crazy, and supportive in whatever they chose to do as they got older.
She loved to play cards, enjoying Kaiser and King Pedro and canasta and cribbage, and whupped us in Quiddler well into her 90s.
She was a dedicated correspondent, and the family historian, with her remarkable memory and meticulous record-keeping. She insisted on good grammar!! She modelled the Four Agreements, long before we knew what they were: “Be impeccable with your word (never gossip), always do your best (and have no regrets), don’t take anything personally, and don’t make assumptions.” She was always welcoming but never demanding. She enjoyed what each day brought. She wasted not a thing. She lived a well-balanced life, exercising regularly, resting well, eating lots of salmon and vegetables, and enjoying her friends and family. She lived simply and gratefully with a thoughtful mind, a loving spirit and a compassionate heart.
A celebration of Audrey’s life was held at the Anglican/United Church, 109 McDonald Street, Balcarres, SK on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 2 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Audrey may be made to the Balcarres St. Andrew’s United Church, P.O. Box 520, Balcarres, SK S0G 0C0.
Family and friends are invited to sign the online obituary and tributes page at www.reginafuneralhome.ca.
Arrangements entrusted to Regina Funeral Home and Cemetery (306) 789-8850.