Obituary of Mavis May Churchill
Known as ‘Queenie’ by her fellow residents and ‘Mumzi’ to her children, Mavis (formerly Donlon/née Churchill) went gently into that good night on March 3, 2022 at the age of 94. Despite the COVID isolations endured by her retirement home these past few years, she never lost her Churchillian spirit. “Darling,” she would say, “I survived the Blitz of London. This is just bloody inconvenient.”
Born in 1927, Mavis was raised from the age of four in a British school for homeless and destitute children, but she overcame her challenging childhood to live an extraordinary life. She left school at 14, adept in the domestic arts and with an enduring appreciation for classical music, art and ballet. Unable to join the proper army (flat feet) she served in the NAAFI (Navy, Army, and Air Force Institute), and had her first kiss under the ‘Bloody Tower,’ but decided she must escape the London ‘pea-soupers’ to create new opportunities for her family in Canada - for which her children, John, Denise, Paul and Peter are the beneficiaries – and she’s button busting proud of every one.
Mavis was a champion of the underdog and a counsellor to those who needed an ear (“The world is your oyster, my dear!”). She was a dog indulger (most recently to two rescued cairn terriers, Beckie 1 then Beckie 2), a neighbourhood watcher, part time brick layer, medicinal brandy devotee and former tearoom operator. “They come from miles around for my tiddies,” she would say (‘tiddy oggies’ being a Cornish pastry).
Mavis was mad for Christmas, could approximate elegance on a shoestring and loved a bawdy joke and a cheeky limerick (especially if she featured in the rhyme). She maintained that she wanted to be ‘an eccentric’ in her old age so that she could shake her brolly and tell rude people off with impunity – a talent in which she overachieved.
One of the advantages of knowing your end date is being able to acknowledge those who’ve enriched your life, and so mum would like to remember her brother, Dennis, for his love and his service in the war, and thank her cherished friend, Carol Manners and also Mei Cheong, for everlasting kindness, Moira Hoogevene for her wise way with words, Adele Koehnke for her artistry, Sheila Hale for being the best neighbour ever, and her gentlemen friends for their camaraderie (“No sex please, I’m British”). To her treasured nieces, Viv, Jayne and Susan, and her many dear friends and extended family (especially who made her laugh or encouraged her to stand on her head), you know how precious you are. Mavis is deeply grateful for the kindness of Dr. Jean Marmoreo, Dr. Jamie Meuser and the caring staff at Revera Leaside.
Mavis was predeceased by her husband, Ron Donlon. To her beloved children, John (Pam) Donlon, Denise (Murray McLauchlan) Donlon, Paul Donlon and Peter Donlon; her children’s children, Blaine, Tyler, Ryan, Sarah, Duncan, Connie, Daniel, Matthew and Tara; and to her greats, Braxton and Eleanor, she says “Chin up darlings and behave. That’s an order! (I’ll be watching and cheering you on).”
A gathering for fully vaxxed and masked family and close friends will be held on Sunday, March 6th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (formalities at 1:30) at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville). Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com. In lieu of flowers Mavis asks that you do a kindness for someone who needs it and/or donate to War Child Canada if you’re able. Hug your dear ones.
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