June Withrow (née Ostrom) passed peacefully, with family at her side, on Friday, June 29, 2018, within six months of the death of her beloved husband of almost 70 years, William (Bill) Withrow.
June was born in Toronto on April 28, 1927 to D’Eyncourt and Louise (née Baker) Ostrom. She grew up in Hogg’s Hollow and attended Earl Haig Collegiate, where she and Bill were high school sweethearts. When Bill enlisted in the army and was stationed at Camps Borden and Ipperwash, he bought himself a motorcycle so he could travel back to Toronto on leave to see the beautiful and vivacious June. They were married on January 24, 1948 while Bill was attending the University of Toronto. Bill became an art teacher at their alma mater, Earl Haig, while June worked as a medical secretary. Over the next 10 years, June enjoyed the life of a young housewife and mother to four children in a bungalow in newly built Don Mills, “Canada’s first planned community”.
In 1961, June’s life changed when Bill was appointed, at age 34, Director of the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the AGO). While she was initially nervous about mingling with prominent members of Toronto’s political, business and cultural communities, she found that her memory for names and faces, her inquiring mind and easy conversational style made her the ideal companion for her husband during his 30-year tenure. June was proud that she could contribute her secretarial and administrative skills to their partnership. She ran the self-publishing business set up for Bill’s book on Sorel Etrog. Throughout her life, she would bang out all of Bill’s personal correspondence and speeches on an old manual typewriter and carefully manage the family finances. She loved to entertain friends and family, particularly at Christmas and Thanksgiving and around the pool in summer. June was a devoted mother and grandmother and was delighted to become a great-grandmother in 2014. When she took time for herself, it was to indulge her love of music by singing as a soprano in a seniors’ choir, the Serenata Singers.
Lovingly remembered by her children, John (Laurel Murdoch), Stephen (Christine), Anne (John Trimble) and David (Chloé McIntosh); by grandchildren, Jennifer (Craig Whiteside) and Diana, Stephanie Eadie (Wayne) and Ryan Trimble, Jacqueline Cavalier-Withrow; great-grandson, James Whiteside; sister-in-law, Bonnie van Ostrom and step-grandson, Patrick Walsh. Predeceased by her youngest grandchild, Laura Withrow, on November 29, 2017.
Cremation has occurred and there will be a private family interment. If desired, remembrances may be made to the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymilesnewbigging.com.