Margaret Elsie Fairey
Our resilient, feisty, smart, independent, and enduring Aunt Mollie, a member of the Great Generation, passed away as a Centurion at the grand age of 100-years, eight-months and 5-days. Aunt Mollie was born in Essex, England, November 25, 1921. She was a survivor of childhood diphtheria. She was hospitalized in a diphtheria quarantine hospital for six weeks where children were kept flat on their backs. Many didn’t survive. Mollie said after she recovered she had to relearn to walk.
When Mollie was twelve-years old her 36-year old father Frederick passed away and she and her younger Sister Jo (Josephine) and Brother Derek were raised singlehandedly by their mother Margaret on their farm during the Great Depression in the “dirty thirties” near the village of Market Harborough. Mollie said there was no refrigeration and they didn’t have an ice box. Mollie still preferred things “room temperature”.
Mollie was a survivor of WW11. When Mollie was old enough she worked in a parachute factory both to help her mother with the family and support the war effort. She had a wealth of stories of how everyone lived without complaint through six-years of food rationing, curfews and black outs.
Mollie met her beloved husband Jim while he was serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Mollie first met Jim while he was visiting cousins on a neighbouring farm while waiting to ship-out to Italy, where sadly Jim lost one of his brothers. When the war ended in May 1946, there was a dance in the village to celebrate and Mollie ran into Jim. He was on leave, now stationed in Amsterdam waiting with thousands of other Canadian soldiers to return home. After the dance Jim asked Mollie and her girlfriend if he could walk them home. He took Mollie home last.
Jim returned to Holland, but, the soldiers had to wait months for passage home as so many ships had been destroyed during the war. During his wait Jim and Molly wrote letters, and every time he had leave, Jim would return to the village to see Mollie. On one of their early dates he asked Mollie in his Prairie way “Well…Should we get hitched?” Mollie delightedly accepted, despite her mother’s objection, fearing if Mollie moved to Canada she would never see her again. Mollie and Jim were married on December 28, 1946 during one of Jim’s leaves.
After their marriage, Mollie and Jim wrote enduring love letters both when he was in Amsterdam and after his return to Canada. Mollie says there was time for over a hundred letters while she waited in England for eight months with 48,000 other War Brides for a spot on one of the War Bride’s ships. Mollie finally landed in Halifax with love letters in hand, before continuing by War Bride Train across Canada arriving in August 1947 at the Port Haney Train Station. Mollie said it was a beautiful day in Haney and for their first outing Jim took her to Swan Point in Whonock.
Mollie got her first job at what she called “the Old Box Factory”. She would often ride her bicycle to the factory which was near Dewdney Trunk and 240th Street. Later, while Jim worked at Hammond Mill, Mollie got to know just about everyone in town working for 21-years at the White Store which she said was a fixture in Haney for years at Laity and Lougheed Highway.
Aunt Mollie adored her dogs, two Pomeranians Poochy and Jo Jo and her teacup poodle Kona. Mollie and Jim’s travels included Australia, New Zealand, China, Alaska, the Canadian Arctic (x3) and the Maritimes. She travelled across Canada by train three times, including the War Bride’s Train and on her return visits to England.
Mollie’s mother came for a visit in 1951 and loved Haney so much that she returned to England long enough to pack her bags and return. ‘Nan’, like Mollie and Jim was an avid gardener. Molly would say ‘Nan’ loved to garden at the house on Wicklund Avenue and that convinced her to stay. ‘Nan’ convinced Mollie’s sister and brother to come too.
Before her beloved Jim passed and because they were childless they generously donated their property to the city for a park for the community to enjoy. Watch for the coming sign near Dewdney Trunk and 216th. We’re hoping city council will approve it as “Fairey Park”.
Mollie said Jim used to worry about who would take care of her if he passed before her, but, he needn’t of worried! When Mollie was 99-years two street people broke into her home in the middle of the night. As her hearing was not what it once was, she wasn’t aware of them until they were rattling her locked bedroom door. Aunt Mollie jumped out of bed and yelled through the door “If you open that door, I’ve got a shotgun pointed right at you!”. The last of them was the sound of their scurrying footsteps disappearing down the hall. That was our feisty, courageous and smart-to-the-end Aunt Mollie.
Mollie always said marrying Jim, coming to Canada and enjoying their 57-year marriage was her best life decision. As per her wish, Molly died peacefully in her sleep at her home of 72-years in the early hours of July 30, 2022. Mollie’s final wish is the love letters be laid to rest with her and Jim. We should all be blessed with such a magical love story.
Mollie ... a Life well Lived. Her wisdom will be sorrowfully missed by her nieces and nephews and other dear family and friends, many of whom she enduringly outlived. Mollie is predeceased by her beloved Husband Jim, Mother Margaret, Father Frederick, Sister Jo, Brother Derek (Eila), nephews Phillip and Colin, and niece Rita. She will be sorely missed by surviving relatives: Niece Jackie (daughter Jessica and Jessica’s children Ava, Colton and Drew and Jackie’s son Quentin), nephew James (daughter Jessica), nieces Andrea (Bernie and their children Jason, Michael and Jasmine), Lori (Bryan), Victoria (Brian), Janice (Colin), and friends Darlene & Richard as well as by other dear family and friends.
A special thanks to Gail, Dr. Zacharias, Dr. Zacharias’s Assistants Kim and Nora and Palliative Care Nurse Sharon whose caring support enabled us to make Mollie’s wish to pass at home possible.
A Celebration in honour of Mollie’s Life will be held Wednesday August 10th at her and Jim’s home. Please drop an email to email@example.com if you need further details.
With Love Always