home | obituary | art | poetry | guestbook




Edna's obituary as it appeared in The Chronicle Journal, Thunder Bay, Thursday Dec. 4, 2008. chroniclejournal.com/obituaries.php

AEDY, Edna C.

2008-12-04

Oct 7, 1916 to Nov. 26, 2008

Known fondly as Auntie to younger friends and relatives, and just as fondly, "M'sadie" to her pupils, Edna loved little children and nurtured a host of them in her many years of teaching in Thunder Bay and area. She has lived in British Columbia since her retirement, and died in Saanich Peninsula Hospital three weeks after a fall in her home. Her final resting place will be the scenic churchyard of historic Holy Trinity Church overlooking Patricia Bay.

A memorial service will be held at Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church, 2:00 PM, December 11.

Edna was born in Westcott, Surrey, England and came to Fort William in 1921 with her parents, George and Florence Aedy, and sister, Freda. She attended Francis Street School and Fort William Collegiate, and after training in North Bay, assumed her first teaching post in 1939 at a one-room school in Kashabowie. Then, from the early 1940s to late 1970s she focused on her passion, nourishing the fresh young minds of her beloved kindergarten five-year-olds.

Edna was a gifted artist. She studied under some of the best, especially treasuring a time at the Banff School of Fine Arts with A.Y. Jackson. Her paintings have adorned galleries and private homes from Glasgow to Victoria. In the last few years she became a haiku enthusiast and was especially proud of a website where some of her art and poetry are displayed (ednaaedy.com).

Edna had an especially keen appreciation of the natural world. She loved searching for wild flowers in spring and would cultivate them wherever she lived, often raising the eyebrows of neighbours with conventional landscaping tastes. She had a strong interest in the geological history of Thunder Bay District, would read and attend lectures on the subject, and relate her findings to anyone who listened. Edna spent many summers at her Birch Beach property where guests were kept smiling by the unique character of both hostess and cottage.

Besides her parents, Edna was predeceased by her brother, Donald Aedy, and nephew, Joel Kamstra. She is survived by her sister, Freda Kamstra, cousin Lenora Aedy, nephews Lawrence Aedy and George Kamstra, nieces Linda Leonard, Janice Armstrong and Freda Davies, and other relatives, including the Harding family of North Saanich.

She was also very close to the Muir family of the Eastern Townships, Quebec. In her final days she was lovingly supported by David Harding, Eden Muir, Ann Tasko, Grace Atkinson and other dear friends. A suitable destination for memorial donations would be any organization that promotes art education. Or, just think about Edna and enthuse over a child's drawing.




Subject: Fw: The Victoria Times-Colonist Obituary for Edna Aedy
Date: Saturday, December 6, 2008 2:35 AM
From: "Ann Tasko"

Here is the notice going in tomorrow - Saturday's paper - I hope. If not, Sunday's.





From: "Freda Davies" 
Hi again Eden, after a long delay.

Here's the piece I wrote for Edna's memorial service. David Harding 
read it there. I couldn't resist a tiny edit, but most of it is word 
for word the same as the original.  - Freda

------------------------------------------------------------------

Since Auntie Edna moved to British Columbia, I have seen her rarely. 
The last time was in 1997 and I was shocked then to find her so much 
reduced in height from the tall graceful youthful woman I remembered. 
In any case we always kept up our telephone connection and she would 
very often talk about her childhood experiences; so it seems suiting 
to start there.  

Her original home was in Westcott, Surrey, England, and she had very 
fond memories of it even though she left when very young. She was 
surrounded there by a large loving extended family, a gentle green 
landscape and mild climate. Her mother, Florence, had been a parlour 
maid, one of the "downstairs" people in an "Upstairs, Downstairs" 
household. Her father, George, was a soldier in the British army 
serving in Africa through most of World War I, and thus absent for 
most of Edna's earliest childhood.  

It was a giant shock to her to leave those gentle surroundings and 
land in a rough-and- tumble frontier-like small town in the wilds of 
Northwestern Ontario. It was also a shock to her mother. She kept her 
children under close watch, trying as much as she could to shield 
them from the tragedies that seemed all too frequent right outside 
their door. They lived on a busy street at the beginning of the 
automobile age when nobody seemed to know the danger of cars. Edna 
remembered her mother suddenly closing the curtains in horror one day 
and keeping the children inside; then hearing later that one of her 
little friends had been run over and killed. Diseases and quarantines 
were also common: another small friend died of diphtheria.  

Through the 1920s and '30sl the family persisted in their tiny house. 
Edna's parents, even in the most difficult times of the Great 
Depression, made sure their children ate well, dressed well and 
received a good education. They were music lovers and would gather 
around the radio or phonograph to enjoy their favourite pieces, and 
George would sing romantic songs to his "Flo".  

Prosperous times finally arrived and the family was able to move to a 
better home, though Edna and her peers had to deal with the loss of 
so many young men of their age in World War II. There was great fear 
for her brother in the Air Force, but luckily he was spared.  

Edna had to travel far to receive her teacher training at North Bay. 
Her first job was quite remote from home as well: a wilderness 
railroad stop called Kashabowie, where she boarded with a local 
family and walked through the woods to her school. She told of an owl 
she befriended during those walks, which in winter, were usually in 
the dark.  

Finally though, she was able to get the kind of job she wanted, 
teaching kindergarten in Thunder Bay (then Fort William). I've met 
some of her former pupils from time to time, including one from 
Kashabowie. All of them seem to remember her as one of those few 
teachers who make a difference.

In my own young life, she acted many times as surrogate parent. She 
tried, I'm afraid unsuccessfully, to convince a tomboyish farm girl 
to embrace ballet. I lived with her for a few months when I was about 
20 and we enjoyed each other's company very much for that short time. 
While there, I was able to watch with interest as she painted a 
portrait of one of her friends. Although cooking wasn't her strong 
point, she made a fabulous Spanish Rice and we had it often. I liked 
going to her cottage on Lake Superior. Of course the lake was the big 
attraction, but the experience of Edna's outhouse was a close second. 
On entering, one was enveloped in walls of pink roses and -- I can't 
quite remember -- but I'm pretty sure the smell of roses was there 
too.  

Edna's most lasting legacy will be her basic stance that little 
children really matter as full persons. They are not vessels to be 
filled but flowers to cultivate. This view certainly influenced my 
own child raising efforts and, I'm sure, also others in the family.

---------------------------------------------------------------

home | obituary | art | poetry | guestbook



This site was established and first published by Eden Muir and Edna Aedy at 10pm ET, Friday March 3, 2006.
© Copyright 2006 - 2008 Edna Aedy
Website contact: edenmuir@yahoo.ca