The family regrets to announce the passing of Helen Gwendolyn (Gwen) LeRoy on Feb. 26, 2011, after a lengthy illness.
Gwen was born April 11, 1932 to George and Stella Bain in Brandon, Manitoba. Her father was the Brandon fire chief for many years.
Gwen graduated from Grade 13 and moved out to Vancouver, B.C. to live with her sister, Betty Lockhart.
She took a job babysitting children for the lighthouse keeper on Maine Island and met her future husband, Joe LeRoy of Duncan, B.C.
They were married New Year’s Eve, 1950 and made their home in Duncan until 1970, when they moved to Williams Lake.
Joe and Gwen have five children: Linda Geier, Cheryl Young (Vic Charlton), Dan (Sandi) LeRoy, Bill (Brenda Koehler) LeRoy and Brenda LeRoy.
They have eight grandchildren: Jim Geier (Sylvie) and Laura Ball (Linda’s children), Brett Charlton (Cheryl’s daughter), Blaine, Lorne and Garrett
LeRoy (Dan’s children), Arnold Fontaine (Yvette Ritchat) and Beverly Bisson (Brett Bradshaw) (Bill’s children).
They also have 10 great grandchildren: Stephanie and Jasmine Geier (Jim’s children), Jessica and Michelle Ball (Laura’s children), Holly Anna Johnson (Brett’s daughter), Brooke and Sydney LeRoy (Lorne’s children), Evan and Eryn Ritchat-Fontaine (Arnold’s children), and Cody Hurren (Beverly’s son).
Joe and Gwen raised their grandson, Blaine, from the age of three and Gwen was ‘Nan’ or ‘Nanny’ to all the kids in the Glendale and Poplar Glade neighbourhoods. When Blaine was diagnosed with cancer, she made multiple trips over many years to the Vancouver General Hospital’s oncology department for treatments.
Joe and Gwen also boarded many high school kids from out west and have stayed in touch with many of them over the years.
Gwen was the Welcome Wagon Lady for many years in Williams Lake. She worked for Elections Canada, was a canvasser for the Canadian Cancer Society and sold Sarah Coventry Jewelery and Avon.
Gwen kept books for Joe’s trucking company while he was an independent operator, trucking logs in the Cariboo and hauling containers on the Alaskan highway.
She knit beautiful variegated sweaters and mitts from Cowichan Indian Band wool and footies for the family. Gwen loved to play cards, bingo, board games, bingo and to do crossword and jigsaw puzzles, bingo. Did we mention bingo?
She was absolutely wicked with a badminton racket, in her day, forcing her opponents to race back and forth across the court and then slamming them with a zinger!
She was an avid golfer on the family golf course, Yokum Valley, and played at Belly Acres, here in Williams Lake. She and Joe curled with the Duncan chapter of the International Foresters and Gwen played in the Duncan Ladies’ League.
She could also throw accurate horseshoes until she had hip problems, hip replacement surgery and the loss of mobility in her right arm from multiple strokes.
Gwen was a breast cancer survivor, but the combination of strokes, cancer, COPD, lung, kidney and heart problems were just too much for her body to bear any longer.
We will always miss our Nan and appreciate the time, stories, songs and laughter that we shared with her.
The family would like to thank the emergency room, intensive care and second floor staff of Cariboo Memorial Hospital for their care of Gwen over her lengthy illness. In particular, we thank Drs. Jessen, Oosthuizen, Engelbrecht and Clark, the home care personnel and Dora from physio-therapy. LaPrairie Alternative Funeral Services is entrusted with arrangements.
The family will be having a celebration of life later in the year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society in her memory.