Edna Ione JAMES (nee Field)
August 31st, 1923 – March 29th, 2023
Mom was born on her parent’s dairy farm, not far from Niagara On The Lake, Ont. She was the third child, joining brother Bob and sister Ruth, born to Gilbert & Vera Field. Unfortunately, Gilbert passed a few years later, and as it often was in those times, Vera was expected to move her and her young family off the farm. Gramma moved her family west and married John Whitlock, a widower, who had four children of his own. A family of 3 children became a family of 7 and ultimately 8 when Vera & John had son Don. The family moved to Lloydminster, then Rose Town, Saskatchewan, and finally on to Grande Prairie, where Mom’s love of sports and outdoor activities would blossom. Her passion was figure skating and ice dancing, and she would skate with any boy that asked. Mom had met Bob James and while dating Dad was wise to buy a pair of figure skates for her 16th birthday, a sure way into Mom’s heart.
Mom and Dad were married on May 18th, 1943, while Dad was serving in the Army. After being discharged in 1946, Dad & Mom moved to Edmonton to start their family and Dad would start his career as a travelling sale rep.
Three sons arrived between 1946 and 1951, giving Mom more than enough to handle, while Dad was out on the road. In June of 1956 Mom & Dad sold their war time semi bungalow across from the municipal airport and moved to a new home in Parkview, where Mom resided right up until her passing.
The new neighborhood may have been short on roads, curbs & sidewalks, fenced yards, or defined lanes, but it was long on young families with lots of kids and moms and dads that would become fast friends. The coffee pot was always on, and ladies of the neighborhood seemed to rotate from house to house, which led to remarkably similar fence styles and basement development. All the different talents seemed to get shared if needed, gardening, sewing, baking, nursing, carpentry, plumbing or just a strong back were only a phone call away, all over the party line that was constantly listened into by the maker of the most delicious coconut macaroons you ever tasted. Almost 67 years in the same home saw a lot of good times and good fortune. Our sister Beckie arrived in 1965, Bob & Wendy married in 1968, Ron & Patty in 1971, Rick & Wendy in 1975 and Beckie & Stan in 1992. Along with the marriages came the joy of grandchildren and ultimately great grandchildren.
In the mid 60’s Dad became a Shriner, and Mom became a Daughter of the Nile. She joined the patrol unit and ultimately was elected president. She fully enjoyed the camaraderie of this group of ladies, and it provided some much needed me time, while Dad was out on the road and her boys were getting busier with their own lives.
From the late 1960’s through the early 80’s Mom & Dad would take an annual trip to Hawaii. This tradition was interrupted by Dad having some health issues which prevented them from leaving the continent, so they purchased a home in Yuma in 1983. Mom & Dad enjoyed spending the next 10 winters down south, living close by some of their family and friends. After celebrating their 50th Anniversary, Mom lost the love of her life in 1993.
Mom continued going south for a further 10 years before selling her Yuma home and settling for a different kind of winter, now her favorite sports team would occupy her time. She would sit and do stitchery while listening/watching the Blue Jays, Oilers or her ESKIMOS. If Alberta wasn’t in position to win the Brier or the Scottie, Brad Gushue and Jennifer Jones were Mom’s favorite curlers. Her sport watching produced some very nice cross stitch pieces, that are proudly hung in our homes.
Mom loved her home in Parkview and took pride in keeping the house and yard up to the standard that was maintained while Dad was alive. She always had an acute sense of balance, constantly standing on the one-inch-wide metal arms of the kitchen stool so she could make herself tall enough to wash the windows from the inside, or to reach the tall cupboards above the fridge and stove. While in her 80’s, we had to take away the tall ladder and hide the step ladder so she wouldn’t be going up to clean the eavestroughs of the garage. She definitely resented being told not to do tasks that we could be doing for her and there were lots of mumbles about how I used to be able to do this or that.
Mom outlived all of her original neighbors, and as the homes turned over to younger families, new friendships were made and our family can’t thank these neighbors enough, for keeping an eye out for Mom. She loved her new neighbors as much as the originals, making new friendships that lasted for decades.
Most of all, Mom loved her family and was devoted to each and every one of us. A more noble life could not have been lived.