FLORENCE ADA MARGARET PARKINSON (née GREENWOOD)
September 11, 1926 - June 5, 2022
Sadly, Flo passed away on June 5, 2022, in Vista Park Lodge at the age of 95.
Flo’s death was preceded by her father Jack Greenwood in 1995, her mother Bella Greenwood in 1978, and Irene Greenwood (née Woodrow) in 1991. Her husband Ron Parkinson (Sr.) died in 1980 after 35 years of marriage. Joe Lamarche, her second partner, died in 2009 after 24 years of being together.
Flo is survived by her children, Lynn (Bob Johnson), Ron (Terry), Kathy, and Rick (Dale); grandchildren, Allison, Crispin, Bronwyn, Adam, Devyn, Kate, and Tracy; and many great-grandchildren, Taylor, Aiden, Eirwyn, Ioan, Hayden, Cian, Quinn, Avery, Camdyn, Lachlan, Brynn, Ryan, Neve, Lola, Kyler, and Kienna. She is also survived by her second family, John Lamarche (Reenie) and Jim Lamarche (Marlaine). “Grandpa Joe” also had many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Flo's family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by sharing photos, memories, and stories, using the comment section on this page and also view her Photo Book by following the link here: Click here for the Photo Book.
Love at First Sight
A war groom falls for a Canadian girl
My husband, Ronald Parkinson was born in Astley, just outside of Manchester. He came to Canada to train as a bomb aimer in the summer of 1 944 and was stationed in Dafoe, Sask. The big city of Winnipeg was a favourite destination for many airmen who trained in small communities such as Dafoe.
One time, Ron and his friend were in Winnipeg on leave when they happened to visit the T. Eaton store on Portage Avenue, where I worked. I was on my break and on my way to the third floor to see my friend Vera, who worked behind the meat counter. Turns out, love at first sight does occur and Ron and I are a prime example of that old cliché. I spotted two airmen across the way, and the eyes of one of them looked into mine. Sparks flew!
Rather flustered, I continued on. The two airmen walked the other way, but the four of us met at Vera's cash register. We started chatting and Vera, ever the organizer, made arrangements for the four of us to go on a double date. Initially, Vera was paired off with Ron, but it soon became obvious to everyone that he and I were attracted to each other. Thankfully, Vera was very understanding about it.
Ron and I started to see each other as often as we could and became serious very shortly. During our courtship, we often visited the Airmen's Club and The Cave in downtown Winnipeg. The Cave, a well-known nightclub, was a popular destination for young people, even though everyone had to sneak their liquor in and hide it under the table.
Before I met Ron, I had been dating Norman, a very nice airman in the RCAF who was training at No. 3 Wireless School in Winnipeg. We saw each other frequently, but then he was posted somewhere in Western Canada, and I didn't hear from him. When I met Ron, I forgot about Norm.
After I had been dating Ron for a while, I brought him home to meet my parents. As I was introducing him, the phone rang. It was Norm calling from the train station. He was on his way to the war and had a short layover before he continued his journey to Halifax. He asked me if I would come to the train station to see him. There was no question about what I had to do. I told Ron and my parents where I was going and why and then left all three of them in wide-eyed bewilderment. I met Norm at the train station and told him that although I liked him a lot, I had met someone whom I liked better. Norm was understanding and took the news better than expected and we remain friends to this day.
My courtship with Ron was interrupted by a posting to Abbotsford, B.C. From there, Ron wrote a letter asking me to marry him, sending an engagement ring along with his proposal. I guess he recalled the incident with Norm and didn't want me to remain unattached too long.
Ron's family in England was surprised by the news of our engagement, of course, and Aunt Agnes wrote a letter to her favourite nephew asking him to "think it over." Eventually, she and everyone else came around. In later years, I met Aunt Agnes and she was wonderful to me; she even left us a bit of money after she died.
Ron obtained permission from the RAF to get married. A naval chaplain married us on February 12, 1945, at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Winnipeg. Unfortunately, I no longer have wedding pictures because they were destroyed in the infamous 1950 flood that inundated much of Winnipeg.
Ron and I returned to Abbotsford after the wedding and began our married life in a rented room, where we were blissfully happy.
All too soon, Ron was posted to India, even though the war was over by that time. When he left, I was pregnant with our first child. Ron and his crew were kept busy dropping supplies and rice in the region. After a year in India, Ron returned to England, received his discharge papers and made arrangements to come to Canada. We were eventually reunited and our one-year-old daughter, Lynn, was introduced to her father for the first time. Later on, we had three more children - Ron, Kathy and Rick.
Through friends, Ron got his first job in the City of Winnipeg Transit Building, behind the Fort Garry Hotel, doing electronic work. Ron attended the University of Winnipeg during the evenings and received his degree in business. He was promoted and eventually worked in personnel and training for the city of Winnipeg.
Ron and I visited England on several occasions with our children and thoroughly enjoyed our visits. I still keep in touch with Ron's family and my children continue to visit their relatives.
Ron was a school trustee for 18 years and we enjoyed going to school board conventions together. Members of the British Wives Club often invited Ron and me to their functions - those war brides know how to have a good time! I can't remember how many times we danced to "Knees Up Mother Brown."
Unfortunately, it was all over much too soon. Ron suffered a fatal heart attack in 1980 and died at the young age of 57.
I had a memorial plaque laid in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) Garden of Memories at the 17th Wing of the airfield in Winnipeg. The garden was made to remember the men who trained in Canada under the BCATP and who are now deceased.
This story first appeared in Canada's War Grooms and the Girls Who Stole Their Hearts, a book by Judy Kozar of Winnipeg.
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