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Memories, Stories and Condolences


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March 7, 1931 - May 1, 2020

Our mother, Melba Gillespie passed away with her husband by her side on May 1st at the age of 89.  Mom was born March 7th, 1931, the youngest of seven children, to Axel and Anna Strom in Viking, Alberta.

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Among those who celebrate her life with many fond memories and stories are her high school sweetheart and husband Dr. Duncan Gillespie; sons, Michael and Brian; daughters, Stella, Ingrid and Dianne; and their respective partners and spouses; grandchildren, Danielle, Ashleigh, Maxwell, Jack, Aidan, Alexis, and Jaggar, plus three great- grandchildren, and numerous nephews, nieces, and friends.

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From an early age, mom developed a love of animals that carried throughout her lifetime.  As a child, she once rescued a dead skunk, thinking it was an injured kitty! As an adult, she lovingly spoiled the family cats, dogs, and ducks and was very protective of all creatures, including a family of robins that nested in the eaves.  She put a sign on the front door asking visitors to go to the back to avoid disturbing the mother robin and her babies.

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Mom was an excellent student, earning the Governor General’s award in high school and later graduating in 1956 with top honours from nursing. She may have completed some of dad’s high school assignments, but the jury is still out on that one.

Mom loved her career as a nurse. From obstetrics and the O.R. in the old Victoria Hospital to residential care in Luther Home, she was known for her nurturing nature. From newborns to residents at the nursing home, she always went the extra mile to make sure her patients were well cared for. She was loved by residents and colleagues alike.

She was the tireless backbone of the family.  In the early years of their marriage, mom worked to support dad through medical school while working as a nurse and raising a family.  Born at the height of the depression, mom learned how to stretch a penny and always knew how to find the best bargains.

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Mom loved to laugh and always loved a party. She loved nothing more than to laugh at a story and enjoy the company of her kids over a cup of coffee and toast with jam, the latter of which was often shared by a family pet.

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While mom would have liked to have traveled more in her life, she loved her trip to Europe with dad.

In later years, mom’s favourite place was the family cabin at Lake of the Woods.  She loved spending time by the water and hanging out with family.  This was a very special place to her.

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A private celebration of her life will happen at a later date.  To celebrate her life, in honour of Melba’s love of animals, donations can be made to the animal help and rescue foundation of one's choice.  That would make her so happy!

Mom is a beautiful soul. We will miss her laugh and her smile, her wit, and her creativity, her strength, and her love. We will miss all of her. She was very much loved.

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Friends and relatives are encouraged to share their own memories and stories, submit a photo, or leave condolences for the family by making use of the comment section on this page.

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