Armstrong, Elsie Phillis passed away on July 8, 2017 at the age of 96. Elsie grew up in Maple Ridge and though she spent some years in New Westminster, Burnaby, Pender Island and Westbank she always considered Maple Ridge her home. Elsie was predeceased by her husband Frank of 54 years, daughter Joyce, sisters Florence, Kay, brothers Harold, Robert and her grandson Michael.
She will be loving remembered by daughter Barb (Carl), son Richard (Vivienne), 6 grandchildren Tracey (Ian), David (Michelle), Kelly (Christine), Shannon (Mike), Cindy (Jason), Mitch, 9 great grandchildren, Cory, Kevin, Cameron, Brittany, Tesla, Nesa, David, Thomas and Joseph and many nieces and nephews.
Elsie’s parents Florence and George Higgins migrated to Canada because there were more opportunities for work. They arrived in Canada on March 31, 1920 and headed for Haney which is now called Maple Ridge. Florence was pregnant with Elsie on the ship and she was born Dec 09, 1920 in New Westminster.
Her first home was on Blackstock Road which they stayed in while her dad was building the house they were to move in to. Her dad and his brother, Walter bought 10 acres of land between them through the Department of Veteran Affairs on 22nd road now 124th Ave. Unfortunately only one of them could sign the papers so his brother signed them. Elsie and her family moved into the big house but before it was finished Walter’s house burnt to the ground and Walter and his family moved in. The house wasn’t big enough for them all so Elsie and her family chose to leave the house to Walter and moved to a house on Hampton Road now 123rd Ave. Elsie loved this house but eventually the landlord raised the rent from $8 a month to $10 and Elsie’s dad thought the raise was too much and they moved to two different homes before finally giving in and moving back to the house on Hampton Road.
Elsie’s family bought a home on Laity which she lived in until she married Frank Armstrong the love of her life. He was their paper boy and as soon as she laid eyes on him she knew he was the one. They were married from 1939 until his death in 1993.
For the beginning of her married life she lived on 123rd Ave and while living there Elsie and Frank had three children Barbara, Joyce and Richard. All three of their children lived their entire childhood in this house. Frank used to drive back and forth to Burnaby every day to go to work at Sears. He finally decided he was tired of traveling that far and they moved into an apartment in New Westminster until an apartment was built right beside Sears and they moved in there and Frank only had to walk across the parking lot to get to work.
While they lived in the Burnaby apartment they purchased property on Pender Island and began clearing the land to have a house built for when Frank eventually retired. It was a beautiful spot to vacation they and their family would go over there as often as they could. They later decided they would add on to the vacation home to make it a more permanent home. Elsie and Frank moved permanently there in 1981 when Frank retired and lived there until 1987 when Frank’s health began to deteriorate.
Elsie and Frank made numerous trips to England which Elsie loved and visited many of her relatives there.
From Pender Island they bought a lovely home in Westbank where their son Richard and his family lived. After Frank died Elsie decided she needed a vacation and took a cruise to the Panama all on her own. She thoroughly enjoyed her cruise. She remained in her home for a year then decided she would move into a condominium in the town of Westbank which was within walking distance of stores.
Once she was in the condo she was able to take off to see her two daughters for visits to Maple Ridge or Sicamous a number of times during the year. She went on 2 more cruises one with a friend to Alaska and another with her daughter Joy and her sister Shirley.
Elsie made one more trip back to England with her sisters Marg, Kay and her cousin Stella. Her last big trip was in 2005 when she went on a bus trip with her daughters back to the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec.
When her daughter Joyce died she moved in with her daughter Barb for most of the time and would come up for a few months to stay with her son Richard. In 2015 she wanted her own independence again and moved into a beautiful assisted living place in Maple Ridge. Unfortunately she was barely there a month when she fell and broke her toes and damaged her foot beyond repair. She then spent the rest of her life in a full care facility in Coquitlam.
Elsie and Frank absolutely loved their family and spent time camping and visiting throughout their married life. They used to have parties at their house with family, friends and neighbours and one time found the whole lot of them dancing down the street in one neighbour’s house and out the door on to another. We all have such wonderful memories of laughter and fun with them. Elsie loved people and was in her glory when she was with people she could spend the day chatting with. She was an avid reader and we always had to make sure she had a book to read. Elsie also loved to do the province crossword puzzle which she did up into her 90’s.
Elsie was very loved by her family and will be greatly missed by everyone. It is comforting to know she peacefully slipped away to once again be with her loving husband and daughter along with all the other family members and friends who have gone before her.