Elsie Falconer

Obituary of Elsie Falconer



(née Bongard)

March 7, 1932 – October 15, 2022


Elsie didn’t want her obituary to be a laundry list of her many accomplishments. Although her children didn’t always do what they were told, we’ve opted for a few of her favourite sayings. Even before dementia stole speech from her, Elsie wasn’t a big talker, but when she spoke, people—her family, her friends, her colleagues—listened. That’s because her words were invariably practical, frequently wise and sometimes funny.


“My rotten children.” Actually, she was immensely proud of the five kids she had with Donald Wentworth Falconer (1922–1981): Tony (Jamie Bowland), Lucy (Paul McDonald), Tim (Carmen Merrifield), Nicky (Stephen Baker) and Molly. Despite being spoiled rotten, we all turned out just fine. Elsie was also the beloved grandmother of Strachan, Ned and Nicholas (Julia Grasso) Bowland; Dougal McDonald and Aveleigh Baker. Predeceased by her parents, Strachan and Helen (Lawson) Bongard, her sister, Judy Meredith, and the family dog, Bandit, she is survived by her brother, Strachan Bongard (Sally); sister-in-law Elizabeth (Falconer) Brooke; many nieces and nephews; and her devoted caregivers, Ana and Hilda. Few things pleased her more than when the family gathered in Caledon. Dinners there and in Toronto were often unruly, punctuated with debates about politics and other contentious matters, but always fun and convivial. Starting at age 70, she delighted in taking her family on trips, including to Spain, Jamaica and New Orleans.


“Real estate is good for the soul.” Given that she was a female pioneer in the home-selling business, this might have seemed like a pitch line. But she really believed it. Joining Martin & Meredith in the 1960s, she became one of Toronto’s top-selling agents in the ‘70s before moving into management and then ownership. After selling Martin & Meredith, she joined the management team at Bosley, staying until she was 80.


“It’s just fine and dandy.” Elsie wasn’t a complainer and always saw the positive. Despite her calm reserve, generous nature and great, slightly naughty laugh, she was determined and competitive, as anyone who worked with her or faced her in Scrabble, backgammon or dominoes quickly learned. The first woman to become president of the Badminton and Racquet Club, she was also a president of the West End Creche, a board member of Better Living Health and Community Services and involved in various other volunteer activities.


“You’re never too old to try new things.” An avid photographer earlier in her life, she took up painting at 70 and proved to be a far more talented artist than she’d ever imagined. She quickly developed better computer skills than some of her kids. A supporter of the Toronto Argonauts in their heyday, she later became a dedicated fan of the Toronto Blue Jays. Other passions included her friends, especially those from Ovenden College School; Judi Dench; and good rum. She also enjoyed sailing, tennis and cross-country skiing. On the family trip to Jamaica for her 75th birthday she tried kite sailing and loved the experience.


“It was a great success.” She said this a lot. We say it about her life.


A celebration of life will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on December 12th in the Falconer Room at the Badminton and Racquet Club.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ArtHeart Community Art Centre in Regent Park, the Aphasia Institute or the charity of your choice.  Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.


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