Jessie Keys. 1926 – 2013
Abbotsford lost a pioneer with the peaceful passing of Jessie Rebecca Keys (nee Mathers) on May 23 after a valiant fight with cancer. She leaves to mourn her loving family: daughter Rita (Mike), sons George (Deborah), Robert (Linda), and Russell (Vivian). Also survived by her loving grandchildren, Kirsten (Burke), Spencer (Veronica), Shantel (Otumara), Bryn (Holly), Matthew (Jennifer), Jenine (Jeremy), Joshua and Amelia. Jessie also leaves behind her brother Charlie, sister Olive, sister in-law Eda and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Jessie was predeceased by her devoted husband Herman in 2001, as well as sister Grace and brothers Art, Bob, and Don. Jessie was the youngest of seven children born to David and Jessie Mathers, on the family farm in Straiton on Sumas Mountain before the time of running water, indoor plumbing or central heat. She attended the one-room Straiton School, Matsqui Middle for grade nine, and graduated from Philip Sheffield High School in 1943. During the war years Jessie worked at the Abbotsford Hotel (next to the Elks), Nelson’s Hardware and Sporting Goods (Paliotti’s) and the Teddy Bear Café (beneath Bikrim’s Yoga), in old Abbotsford. She loved spending her free time with her friends and attending the many area dances.
Jessie married Herman in 1947 and soon settled on their four-acre egg production farm on Marshall Road. Jessie was an exceptional homemaker while also being an active partner working the farm. She also found time to be active in community service, specifically, the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary. In her retirement years she enjoyed world travel, lawn and alley bowling, gardening, and keeping up an active social life with family and friends. Researching family history was a passion and she was a founding member of the MSA Museum Society. Trinity Memorial United Church remained a central focus throughout her life both as a member and contributor. A Celebration of Jessie’s life will be held at Trinity Memorial United at 33737 George Ferguson Way at 1 pm, Friday May 31. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the Arthritis Society of Canada, Cyrus House, Abbotsford Hospice or the charity of your choice.
The family extends special thanks to Dr. Cappon, the many Fraser Health Home Support workers and the Christine Morrison Hospice for their gentle, caring support in their mother’s final days.