Catherine MARCELLUS

Catherine MARCELLUS

MARCELLUS, Catherine Mary Jocelyn (Ormsby). March 19, 1923 – June 12, 2014. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Great- Grandmother, Friend, Activist, Teacher. Cathie was born in Vernon, BC to George and Maggie Ormsby, fruit farmers of the Coldstream District. They taught their daughters that “God gave women brains for a purpose”. They surrounded them with books, ideas and active discussion, as well as, the belief that “the world of the mind, should prevail”. At 16, Cathie earned the Governor General’s Award and in 1940, she left rural life for Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 1941 Cathie and Jim met when she was an English student and Jim was a medical student, in the Canadian Army, preparing for the battlefields of WW2. When Cathie graduated in 1943, she took a job as a censor, in Ottawa. In 1946, while Jim completed his residency at St.Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Cathie worked in a bank downtown, preparing for their marriage on June, 7, 1947. Jim got a call from Dr. Bill McLure, that the community of Mission was desperate for doctors. So, Jim and Cathie caught the bus and came to Mission, quickly accepting their new opportunity. Cathie had 4 children, in the next 8 years and her life was filled with the challenges of raising 3 boys and a girl, as well as being married to a dedicated family doctor. Devoted to the interests of her children, she provided all 4, with her energy and her endless, caring, love. Cathie balanced her life through her thirst for literature and education and volunteerism in her community. She completed her Masters degree at SFU at the age of 60 and began teaching English at Fraser Valley College and Simon Fraser University. In 1986, the collaborative efforts of several people in Mission resulted in the establishment of the Lifetime Learning Centre. Cathie co-founded this organization, which was an outlet for her passion for adult education. With Mission’s unique medical history being of obvious interest, Cathie co-authored Mission’s Living Memorials, with Betty Dandy and Betty Robertson. 2014 marks the 40th anniversary since the preservation of the old Mission Hospital building, a successful project due to the tenacity of Cathie and other activists in Mission. Travel and adventure were Jim and Cathie’s great pleasure, so they settled in to parts of the world that held their interests in history and culture. Cathie and Jim chose to remain in their beloved home of 62 years. This decision was supported by their devoted family. They had outstanding friends and neighbours who watched out for them, visited them and companioned them, on a street that had become synonymous with “the heart of Mission”. Cathie’s accolades were many, as she was a highly respected contributor to the texture and culture of Mission. A highlight of Cathie’s public life came at the age of 87, when she received an Honorary Doctorate at the University of the Fraser Valley. Cathie and Jim suffered deeply, the deaths of 2 of their children, Jim in 2001 and John, in 2008. They were survived by their much loved son, Chris. They were companioned and cared for by their granddaughter and long time employee, Jo. They were supported and cared for, by their loving daughter, Libby, son in law, Ron and their children, Caitlin (Imraan) and Corey (Andrea). On April 4th, Jim died, with his adoring family at his side and Cathie, holding his hand. Just the day before his death, he said to Cathie, “Don’t be long”. For Cathie, living became an effort, with a heaviness of heart that would not allow her to continue beyond the 70 days after Jim’s death. Family and friends created a safe and caring environment, in her old home, but we knew she would soon follow the love of her life. Two weeks in the hospital allowed time for the final gifts from this remarkable woman. Cathie died on June 12, 2014. Special thanks to Stacey and Ann, from NurseNextDoor. Thanks to the paramedics and to the staff of the Abbotsford Hospital Emergency for their attentiveness to 2 very aged people, in dire need of care. To the Ace Unit and the Cheam 3 Ward we extend our deep gratitude for your meticulous medical attention. To Dr. Manreet Gill, you paid attention, you listened and you advocated -our heartfelt thanks to you. To Dr. Mike Newton, you will not be forgotten for your gentle and philosophical approach to both, Jim’s and Cathie’s end of life needs. There will be a gathering in honour of Cathie Marcellus, held on Sunday June 22, at the Best Western Hotel in Mission, from 2-4. Donations, in Cathie’s name, may be made to the Lifetime Learning Centre, in Mission.


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