Mary died peacefully in her 104th year at Chilliwack General Hospital. Her long and adventurous life spanned continents and over a century of changes yet her adaptable inquisitive spirit never diminished. Born in Eccles, Manchester, England to Rev. John and Mary Willis, she was the eldest of four daughters. She was educated at Alice Ottley School with which she maintained a lifelong association. Excelling academically, she qualified for Oxford University with plans to study medicine but sadly, finances prevented this. Undefeated, she moved to London, training and finding work as a stenographer.
Her adventurous spirit brought her to Canada several years after hearing that she could emigrate for £20 with the help of the Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women. Montreal was her first home and a special time but she headed west to Edmonton to pursue her interest in medicine. She achieved her RN degree with Gold Medal Honours at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in 1941. Her exciting career began as a solo pioneer nurse in Peace River Alberta.
Mary met and married Bob Taylor in 1944 and added farming to her set of skills. Later moving to Chilliwack, they farmed while Mary also worked for many satisfying years in the radiology lab. Bob died in 1977.
Mary’s many diversified interests and talents filled her decades of retirement. Her friends, both local and distant, and family in England, were dear to her, as was classical music, photography, reading, gardening, exploring nature and camping in her beloved yellow VW Van.
A year ago, Mary’s failing sight forced her to move to the Bradley Centre Care Facility. In true Mary style, she soon made dear new friends amongst staff and residents who became part of her extended family. She so much appreciated all their special care and attention.
All who knew and loved Mary will miss her inspirational presence but her spirit will remain with us forever.
No service at Mary’s request. Donations in her memory would be gratefully accepted by the CNIB ~ #100-5055 Joyce St. Vancouver BC. V5R 6B2
Online condolences can be left at www.mem.com