CHALLIS: Mary of Sidney Formerly of Hull, England. Sarnia, Ontario. New Westminster,BC. Pender Island. Nanaimo.


Mary Challis passed away on November 22, 2016 after a short illness. Mum was born in Yorkshire, England on April 22, 1925. During WW II she was in the Women’s Land Army and met Les Challis of the Royal Canadian Air Force. They married in England in 1946 and Mum immigrated to Canada as a war bride. It was difficult to leave her family behind but she struck a friendship with her sister-in-law, Joyce, who described her as a kind person and like a big sister.

After arriving in British Columbia, Mum and Dad lived in Richmond in temporary housing provided for returning veterans attending UBC. In 1947, while Dad was completing his degree in Engineering, their first daughter Lynda was born. After graduation, Dad found work in Montreal and the family followed. Their second daughter Margaret was born in 1951. Mum did her best in dealing with the travails of living in Montreal’s low-income apartments and its harsh weather.

In 1956, the family moved to Sarnia, Ontario when Dad changed jobs. Mum and Dad bought their own home and in 1964, their family was completed when daughter Kim was born. The following year, the family moved back to the west coast and settled in New Westminster. Now that her family was growing up, Mum could spend more of her time learning and enjoying many creative activities, such as painting, lamp-making, knitting, crocheting, weaving and the spinning and dying of yarn. She also continued to make clothes for her daughters.

In 1978, Dad took early retirement and they moved to Pender Island where Mum’s love of fibre arts continued to flourish. Mum and Dad had bought property on Pender Island in 1969 and over the years, a weekend cabin was expanded in to a house, all built by Dad. While on Pender, Mum was active in the local spinners guild and craft co-op where she displayed and sold her homespun and woven items. She also made a number of friends who shared the same interests.

Mum and Dad lived on Pender until 1991 when Dad’s need for convenient medical care contributed to their move to a condo in Coquitlam. However, they soon discovered that they missed having more indoor and outdoor space for their interests and activities. In 1994 they moved into a house in Nanaimo. Dad passed away in 2006 and Mum continued to live alone in the house until moving to an apartment in Sidney in 2014.

Throughout their married life, Mum and Dad traveled extensively. Even when their children were young, vacations would include holidays driving across Canada or the US. And in later years, they saw most of the UK, Europe, and Australia. Mum particularly enjoyed her travels in Scotland and Ireland and trips that included visits with her family in Yorkshire.

Mum leaves behind 3 daughters – Lynda (Kari), Margaret (Don) and Kim (Rob) as well as 4 grandchildren – David, Kelly, Katherine and Scott and 8 great-grandchildren – Josh, Piper, Tyler, Bailey, Brady, Danika, Richard and Jorden.

Rest in Peace, Mum. We love you.

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