Toni Brecknock

On Nov. 24, 2007 there was a celebration of life held at the Royal Canadian Legion for Georgia Toni Brecknock who was born March 14, 1939 in Montreal, Quebec.

She died at home Nov. 19, 2007 fulfilling her greatest desire to be home with her four children, Deac, and family by her side.

Toni was the first daughter and third child born to Stan and Anne Brecknock. She attended primary school in Montreal North. Wonderful summers were spent up at the cottage at Lake Brennan, with many relatives and friends.

She had great memories of swimming, catching bullfrogs on lily pads from the canoe; walking in to Rawdon to visit papa and mama Gaul at their bakery; the glowing red maples in the fall; and sugar maple time in the spring with huge cauldrons of sap boiling in the shacks and sap spread onto clean snow to become an oh so good toffee consistency.

In 1950 the family move to Beaurepaire in the country, now an elite lakeshore of West Island Montreal. Toni was a great swimmer and skater and enjoyed taking boats over to Dokers Island, and ice skating in winter on the lake and open skating rinks.

In 1954/55 Toni and her brother Don were sent to the unilingual French boarding school. l’Institute Feller College at St. Jean Quebec. This devout Baptist school began each day with morning chapel six days a week and church three times on Sunday.

It was a very strict domain with the leather strap doled out for getting caught kissing a boy or sneaking cigarettes.

At the end of her eastern Canadian education, Toni was totally bilingual. She spoke, read, and created prose in perfect Parisian French. She disliked the slang, Acadian or Quebecois French which her siblings learned.

Toni’s family moved to Alexis Creek when she was 17, then to North Vancouver while the children finished school, then back to Alexis Creek to open the Hitching Post.

It was requested that Toni teach high school French at Delbrook Senior High as she was more qualified to teach than the French school teacher.

Toni was employed as a bilingual long distant telephone operator, speaking primarily to Quebec, France, and other French speaking countries. She was also employed at Eaton’s, where she met lifelong friend Margie Lee. They both joined the Eaton’s choir and enjoyed many Christmas performances and concerts, one of several being at the B.C. Penitentiary.

Toni’s beauty and stature developed very early in life. Her professional modeling career began when she was four years old. A photograph of her standing on her tippy toes, placing a card in a huge red mail box, adorned many postcards and advertisements to promote early Christmas card mailing.

Her mature modeling career began at 15 years of age, after attending modeling school in Montreal. Her photos appeared in many magazines and newspapers. She had the distinct honour of having her face on the cover of Vogue magazine. Toni had the flair for live shows and was in demand for catwalks in Montreal and Vancouver.

Toni was young to marry her childhood sweetheart from Montreal, and from this marriage created four beautiful children, Robert, Kimberly, Cindy-Sue, and Dean. With her second union, another beautiful child was created and she became Dana. Toni married Larry Smolik when the children were still young.

He became an important part of their lives, which they hold with fond memories.

Toni’s house and home was always open to anyone in need, she shared whatever she had. She loved all children as they did her. She developed lifelong friends from early childhood in Montreal, as well as upon the move to B.C. and to the present time.

Toni was multitalented and clever in so many ways. Her artistry was in creative writing. She excelled in prose, and was the author of two published books. She assisted many with legal documents and affidavits.

Toni’s greatest accomplishments in life and the ones she most treasured are her children. She raised five beautiful kids and did an outstanding job of motherhood.

Life was not always easy for Toni, yet her kids can only remember her with devotion and love; wonderful Christmases and Easters, sharing so many fun times together. No matter what, mom always came through for them.

Toni is survived by her children Robert Robinson, Kimberly Kier (Travis), Cindy Chappell (Dave), Dana Blohm. Her beautiful grandchildren Tim, Anastasia, Derek, Devon, Daniel, Dennis, Taylor, and Branden.

She is survived by her brothers Slim Brecknock (Darlyne), Don Brecknock (Maxine), John Brecknock (Terry), and sisters Judy Christensen and Sue Bamford (Bob). Numerous nieces and nephews and last but not least, her Ol’ slipper Bruce Deacon who she has been happily unmarried to for 21 years, and his daughters LeAnn and Jenny. Toni was predeceased by her beloved son Dean Robinson in 1979, her father Stan in 1983 and mother Anne in 1997, and nephews Kirk and Brady Graham.

Toni’s family wish to extend their sincere gratitude for the huge crowd that was in attendance at the celebration of life. We understand it was impossible for everyone to hear her son Rob, the master of ceremonies and her sister, Sue, deliver the eulogy, listen to the poems read by her daughters Kim and Dana, and her grandson Derek as well.

The slide show was beautiful. We are sorry not everyone could see it. We are sure our mother could feel the compassion, warmth and sincere love emanating from the room.

For all the flowers, cards, messages and prayers, we thank you. To Dr. Labossier and the staff of CMH, your care and heartfelt concern during mom’s stay in and out of the hospital will never be forgotten.

To the Hospice Society and the lovely home care nurses who helped mom and guided us during this sad time, our deepest thanks. To Luc LaPrairie, again, above and beyond, thank you.

We have included a picture and a copy of one of mom’s poems that was in her memorial card. We are sorry not everyone received one. Thank you all, our mom was deeply adored. Her loving family.

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