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MABEL ADELAIDE MCLAUGHLIN
March 31, 1928 – June 16, 2023
It is with deep sorrow and much love that we mourn the passing of Mabel McLaughlin, a loving and devoted mother to Judith (Ken Fehr), Joy (Ralph McGiffin), Laurel (deceased) (John Simpson), Jill (Sue Curry), Tracy (Paul Hrynkow) and Grant (Paula). The proudest of grandmothers, she will be fondly remembered by all of her grandchildren: Kyle, Tyler, Brittney, Meagan, Cailin, Rogan, Kelsey, David, Kenna, Paula, Morgan, Lindsay and Erin, as well as her eleven great-grandchildren. She doted on all of them.
There’s a famous quote that says, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy that makes happiness.” If there was ever a life that captured the true essence of this saying, it was Mabel’s. Her happiness came from the simple joys and this is what made her life so full.
Without a doubt, Mabel’s priority in life was her family. She gleefully shared with anyone and everyone her many stories about her kids’ and grandkids’ accomplishments. It made no difference to her if her listeners had already heard the accounts a dozen times before, she just loved to share every piece of them, over and over again. Her children, extended family and friends remained her passion throughout her lifetime.
Mabel was a caring sister, who will be warmly remembered by sister, Oretta, and sister-in-law, Ann. She was predeceased by siblings Evelyn, Dawson, Wilfred and Jack. The five siblings grew up during a decade that became known as the ‘Dirty Thirties’ due to the crippling drought that wreaked havoc on the Prairies. Like many other families of that generation, poverty, childhood diseases and epidemics were ever present throughout their youth. To add to this hardship, duties in World War I and II resulted in their father being absent for a good part of their lives at home.
Growing up in Arden, Mabel became a teacher like her mother. She married her cherished Lawrence and the happy couple settled together on a farm in Plumas to have a family of their own. Raising her young family, she always managed to maintain a huge garden in the summer. Consequently, in addition to all of the many farm chores, there was always the gathering, pickling and freezing, once they had harvested the produce. But, despite her busy farm life, every night she would make time to sit and read all of the classic childhood books to her children, who eagerly looked forward to this special bedtime routine.
Sadly, life sometimes has a way of repeating itself. Not unlike what she had watched her own mother experience, the life that Mabel had fallen so effortless into quickly changed with the passing of Lawrence, leaving her to care for her six children alone. Never one to relinquish, for a short time after, she fell back into her career in teaching before taking further education and becoming a social worker in Portage la Prairie, where she eventually settled again with her six children. Mabel was so proud of the fact that she graduated from her social work program at the top of her class and graciously received the Gold Medal Merit Award. Along with her new career came new challenges and she devoted so much of herself into helping this little community that she grew to love.
Mabel’s moral compass always helped her to navigate life and she leaned heavily on her religion and her beliefs, guided by the Anglican church. She also loved to read and educate herself. Mabel would always say, “Education is your insurance.” An avid reader of the newspaper, she was interested in everything. Whether it be history, politics, the arts or her own community, she was drawn to it all and would cut out articles to add to her treasured scrapbook or she would set aside clippings for someone else she thought would appreciate it, too.
To travel to places that she had read about was a lifelong dream of Mabel’s. She was eventually able to see Canada from coast to coast, as well as Europe, China, Alaska and a number of other U.S. states. After seeing so much of the world, she still said that one of her all-time favourite trips was her trip to Churchill, Manitoba, thanks to its rich Canadian history.
However, if you were to ask her children about their favourite trips, they would surely mention the road trips that she would take them on as kids, with her mother in tow. The whole crew would squeeze into the five-passenger car to go on day trips or to the beach, always with an elaborate picnic on board. At each point of interest, she would stop to explore. These stops often consisted of such things as museums, snake pits, gravel pits, rock hound hunting, wild flower viewing, Saskatoon picking or visiting little shops along the way. Sometimes these magical adventures entailed taking a long drive to just get out there and to “see things”.
In the early years, baking was a necessity for her large family and perhaps it was a bit of an outlet for her creative juices. Later in life baking cookies, buns, cinnamon buns, and birthday cakes became a true labour of love to be shared with her family and friends. Her extended family lovingly remembers the birthday cakes she made, with coins tucked into every piece. That was the highlight of the party. Indeed, she was a special aunt to many cherished nieces and nephews. And, if you were to ask, Mabel would tell you that her extended family also comprised of her many special friends, including Bernie, Darlene, Valanne and many others.
Mabel enjoyed laughing with her loved ones, playing cards for hours, tending to her flower garden, doing ceramics and day tripping to the various tearooms all over Manitoba. Shopping was also on her list of favourite pastimes, and she would always pick up a treasure to give away to someone she knew would love it.
She was incredibly generous, finding so much joy in giving. Christmas shopping was extra special for her. Her kindness would shine through in so many ways, with every special gift she selected for others. Shopping trips with Mabel also usually involved some people-watching. She just loved to imagine what was going on with all of the many characters she studied along the way – every one with a different story to be told. She was a magnificent storyteller, likely the result of her astute observations, and would weave what was seemingly the simplest of details into the most beautiful of tales.
A teacher at heart whether in the classroom, in her community or in her home, her endless love, guidance, wisdom and strength will be profoundly missed by all those whose lives she touched. Mabel has inspired all those she leaves behind, the various generations of people, who all started with her. May the memory of her be what reminds us all to find happiness, magic and love in the most ordinary of places, as she leaves us with her final lesson: these are the very things that makes a life “extra”ordinary.
A celebration of Mabel’s life will be held at a later date.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or a charity of your choice.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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