1927 ~ 2022
My mom, Joan Teasdale, passed away peacefully on January 31, 2022 at the Devonshire Long Term Care Center. That was 2 years and 2 days after my dad passed away. It was a challenging 2 years with the COVID isolation at Canterbury, the broken hip, the temporary placement at South Terrace and the move in November to Devonshire. Her last two months were spent in a warm and caring environment at Devonshire. Staff even gave her a special teapot so she could have a “proper” cup of tea.
Mom was born on October 4, 1927 at Prudhoe in northern England. She was proud of graduating from the Queen Elizabeth grammar school in Hexham in 1944. As well she might have been, based on these comments from her head mistress: Joan was…” a pupil much above the average in ability and a serious and conscientious worker who always did well in her studies. In July 1944 she obtained the Oxford School leaving Certificate with credits in 9 subjects and the highest mark, A, in History, Geography, Botany and Mathematics.”
Mom returned to the Grammar School in 1954 in the position of school secretary. The headmistress was still there and said of her work: Joan is: ”thoroughly competent and reliable and perfectly honest and trustworthy. She gets on well with her colleagues and could adapt herself quickly to new surroundings.”
I think the headmistress nailed it and my mom lived up to that admirable characterization all of her life.
In between stints at the Grammar School she worked in the English Civil Service at the Tax Office and at Chesters County Mansion as the Estate Secretary (think Downtown Abbey, the TV show)
She immigrated to Edmonton in January, 1957. Since my dad was already in Canada, she had to bring me by herself. This involved stops in Gander, New York and an overnight at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. Our flights were delayed so my dad had to keep coming to the Municipal Airport in Edmonton to see if we had arrived, communications being what they were at the time.
She became a proud Canadian citizen in 1976, but remained very English in manners and cultural behaviours. Tea time was always very important, and using the good china when guests were over. She also collected an impressive array of Royal Doulton porcelain figures which were prominently displayed in a corner cabinet. She had an amazing ability to make perfect Yorkshire pudding for the weekly Sunday roast beef dinner.
Mom’s work history in England prepared her well for her 30 year career as Office Manager at the Links Clinic, which used to be on 124 Street. It was one of the largest medical clinics in the city and it was a big job running the front of the house and liaising with the doctors. As grandson Matthew observed recently, she was ahead of her times in terms of the responsibilities she was entrusted with.
It was not all work however. They were part of a very tight social group of about 12 friends, many from England, who hung out together. They entertained at each other’s homes (I loved playing the game of Beetle with the adults at their parties); they went ballroom dancing at the Rainbow Ballroom; they bowled at the lanes across from the Garneau Theatre; and they travelled. My word, they knew how to escape winter by travelling.
When they were still working they routinely spent 3 weeks in Hawaii or Mexico. After they retired they habitually spent 7 weeks in Spain or Portugal with my dad’s brother Sid and his wife Gwen. They also cruised down the Mississippi and vacationed in Australia with friends. There last trip included a stay and a high tea at the Empress Hotel when Shelley and I took them to Victoria for a wedding anniversary.
I got my love of reading and learning in general, from my Mom. I think she was more determined that I was going to University than I was. Shelley says I look a lot like my Mom also.
She lived a very full life: full of love, adventure, friendships and accomplishments. She will be well-remembered.
Given the current challenges with travel and gatherings our plans for a memorial service are in flux. One option we are considering is returning the remains of both my Mom and Dad to England later this year to rest beside the other Teasdales in the cemetery in Hexham.