Obituary of Sheila Ann Kinross
SHEILA ANN KINROSS
June 26, 1936 – March 4, 2023
Farewell to our dear Mom/Grandma/Great-Grandma, Sheila.
Seeking new horizons as a young woman in post-war UK, Sheila boarded the Empress of Britain in Liverpool and sailed to Canada on the ship’s maiden voyage in 1956. She wrote: “My great adventure had begun.”
She explored her vast new home, motoring across Canada with a friend, working as a secretary and volunteer radio announcer in Fort Smith, NWT, and as a stewardess for Trans-Canada Airlines (now Air Canada). She met her husband, Douglas, a fellow Brit, war veteran, and Bovril food sales manager, at the Christian Science Church in Toronto.
Music, gardening, family, and the great outdoors brought joy to Sheila.
As a child, she had been inspired at her boarding school by her music teacher, Mme. Lempriere, known affectionately as “Lemp.” Sheila dreamed of becoming a classical pianist, but was told it was a career unsuitable for a woman.
Years, later, while raising three kids and working full-time in Toronto, Sheila modified her dream but persisted to complete her Grade 10 Conservatory plus the music history and theory components. She enjoyed playing piano for ballet school, at Church and family celebrations.
Into her 87th year, she played the piano at Bradgate Arms, her retirement home. Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique was her favourite piece, with its changing moods and warm, reprised melody. Looking back, she noted there was no TV, internet or other modern distractions when she learned the language of music in childhood.
Sheila completed secretarial college and held positions with the Ontario government, a bank, an advertising agency, a music publisher and a private school. She was highly organized in her professional and personal life, a great believer in lists, proactive and well respected in her profession.
In her community, she used “action letters”, working with other residents to have unsafe walkways repaired in a nearby park and to build at least one pedestrian bridge in the Wilket Creek ravine. Ahead of her time, she demanded non-smoking spaces at the Don Mills Plaza food court, but was politely rebuffed.
Gardening was a great love at her home on Shadwell Place in Don Mills, and as a volunteer at Toronto Botanical Gardens. When she and Douglas downsized to a condo, Sheila took up guerrilla gardening, establishing beautiful flower beds in a nearby public park, where many passersby thanked her for her efforts. At her retirement home, she joined the garden club, beautifying a tiny park nearby.
Sheila always encouraged her children in their pursuits of music, sports, summer camp, travel and other interests. She loved nature and took them on bike rides and walks through parks and forests. In spring, she was always on the lookout for Trilliums, Ontario's provincial flower, or the first pretty blue blooms of Scillas, and would sit on a park bench to marvel at them and soak up the sun.
Sheila organized sleepovers for her grandkids, complete with 6:00 a.m. pancakes, games and garden duties, and visited them in both Toronto and Natick, Mass. Throughout the years, she and Douglas also hosted many visiting students at their home in Don Mills for work terms and school semesters. Family and visitors were likely to hear a passage from Moonlight Sonata, or another of Sheila’s favourite pieces, emanating from the piano room.
Sheila leaves her three children, Ian, Louise and Andrew, and their families, as well as her brother Andrew and family. She is predeceased by her husband, Douglas, and her parents, Arthur and Ruth Henwood.
Many thanks to staff of the Bradgate Arms, Paramed and LHIN for their exceptional care and kindness.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of Sheila’s favourite causes, the Nature Conservancy of Canada (www.natureconservancy.ca). Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.
A celebration of life will be held in the spring.
Farewell Mom/Grandma/Great-Grandma Sheila; here’s to your sweet and adventurous spirit. Please say hi to Dad.
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