September 30, 2020
Jean Wilkinson (nee Fraser) passed away September 30th 2020 in Abbotsford BC. She died peacefully in her sleep after 97 trips around the sun. Jean was predeceased by her husband Roy in 2008 and her son Gerald in 2012 as well as five siblings.
She is survived by her daughter-in-law Vera Wilkinson, grandchildren Dallas Wilkinson and Celeste (Andy) Park, her daughter Sheila (Aird) Flavelle, grandson McElroy (Rachel) Flavelle and great grandchildren Georgia and Roman Flavelle. She is also survived by her sister Betty Tinker and plus many nieces, nephews and sister-in-laws. She had a special adopted family – Marion, Kate and Jesse Witoszkin.
Jean was born in Pambrun, Saskatchewan in 1923. She lived there for the first 20 years of her life growing into a pragmatic young woman through the hardships of the prairie winters, the great depression and eventually the outbreak of World War 2. These experiences imbued her with a strong sense of both independence and community, two parallel themes present throughout her life.
In 1942 Jean cast aside the traditional paths available to young women in mid century Saskatchewan, teacher or nurse, and signed up with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Through her Air Force training she travelled around Canada from Vancouver, to Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax before being posted to London as a Leading Aircraft Woman (LAW).
She fell in love with the city even in the midst of the chaos that was a country at war. And it wasn’t only the city that captured her heart – she reconnected with Roy who was serving with the Canadian army in Holland. Jean and Roy were married in London in September 1945.
Jean returned to Pambrun in 1945 and Roy followed a few months later. They took over running the general store from her father and built the business for the next 17 years. Gerald was born there in 1946 and Sheila followed three years later. The family moved to Calgary in 1964 for 20 years, then Roy and Jean moved to Whiterock and eventually Abbotsford for the last 25 years.
Jean’s life was defined by her kindness and her intelligence. She was a woman with a strong Christian faith and everywhere she lived the United Church was her spiritual home and the United Church Women her social network and support group. Her legacy of generosity can be captured in decades of notes, cards and contributions from her time in each of the communities she lived in.
Her commitment to her extended family and her lifelong connection to many people were pillars of her life. Her intelligence and memory for detail were well known and respected by all who knew her.
Thank you to everyone for supportive phone calls and messages with special thanks to Sandi Heath and Lynn Thompson.
On going through her papers it seems like she gave money to anybody that asked so, if you are so inclined, please give in her name to a charity of your choice.
Due to Covid restriction a memorial service via zoom will be arranged in the next few months.
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