MARY DOREEN ROBINSON
January 24, 1924 - August 27, 2021
Mary Doreen Robinson (nee Fraser) was born on January 24, 1924 in Winnipeg Manitoba to a single mother. The difficulties and stigma of being a single mother in this era forced her to put Doreen up for adoption and in 1925, Doreen was brought into the loving home of James and Margaret Fraser. Doreen would often remember the times when she would ride her tricycle down the halls of their apartment building. In 1929 Margaret became ill and passed away. James and Doreen then moved into the home of Guildford and Elise Dudley on Raglan Road. Elise and Gil were good friends of James and the Dudley’s, with their daughter Madeleine, became an intrical part of Doreen’s childhood and upbringing. Doreen attended Wolseley, Isaac Brock and Gordon Bell schools and the local United Church. She had many fond memories of those days growing up on Raglan Road, riding bikes with Madeleine and playing in their back yard. Upon graduation Doreen attended a business college where she would learn the skills she would later use with the Manitoba’s Jewellers Association and the Provincial Government.
Under the watchful eye of Aunt Elise, she met and fell in love with a young man by the name of Arthur Robinson who would walk or bus all the way from St. Vital to woo her as often as he could. Art joined the RCAF and when the Second World War ended Art and Doreen married on June 22, 1946. Their first years together were spent in Chilliwack and the Okanagan Valley area of BC before coming back home to Winnipeg and buying their first home on Stiles Street.
On March 11, 1950, at the start of the great Red River Flood, Doreen gave birth to their first child, Linda Gail and settled into the life of a homemaker. Her son, Robert Arthur followed on July 13, 1955 and daughter Sandra Madeleine on October 11, 1959. Around this time the family moved three streets over to Wolseley Avenue. Her days were filled with child raising, husband caring and local gossip with the many neighbours and friendships she developed during this time. There was usually a dog throughout Doreen’s life from her first dog Irish to Gretchen, Tessa, Mike and last but not least Chelsea. Minuse was the lone cat that ruled them all.
Art and Doreen always dreamed of cottage life and in 1958, purchased a lot on Rose avenue in Whytewold. A cottage soon followed and Doreen, with family in tow, would spend hot summer days on the beach sipping cocktails with good friend Muriel waiting for their husbands to arrive on the weekend. The cottage would become her and her family’s summer sanctuary.
As the kids got older, Art and Doreen found time to travel creating fond memories of California, Arizona and Hawaii along with a special trip to Scotland to visit the Fraser Clan. Doreen joined a bowling league and would look forward to her afternoons with the girls at the Polo Park Alleys. She was a member of the Chown Guild of the Children’s Hospital and volunteered at The Nearly New Shop. Evenings were spent as a Secretary to the Manitoba Jewellers Association for many years. Later in life, Doreen started a career working with the Provincial Government in the Finance Department. She would often brag about the million dollar cheques she would write.
After nine years with the Government Doreen was confronted with a new task at home. Her husband Art became ill and Doreen quietly and bravely faced the challenges and struggles of providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. As Art was slowly slipping away at home, a chance week of respite allowed him to be properly diagnosed and placed in a care home. Doreen never wavered and would visit Deer Lodge Hospital daily making sure Art was properly cared for while making friends with the other families in the ward. After 56 years of marriage to Doreen, Arthur passed away on December 15, 2002.
During Art’s illness Doreen got in touch and renewed her cottage friendship with Jack and Muriel Dolan. Jack and Doreen both had spouses suffering from illness and they provided support for each other. Years after both Art and Muriel had passed, Jack and Doreen kept in touch and their friendship evolved into a romance and a renewed chance for happiness in their later years. After a short courtship they decided to move in together. Trips to Vancouver in the winter and Georgian Bay in the summer followed by days at the cottage in Whytewold. After 6 loving years Jack passed away and Doreen managed to find strength in keeping busy with all of her children, grandchildren and great children on the Robinson side as well as the Dolan side of her family.
In 2019, the Manitoba Provincial Government opened up the Adoption Registry to allow adoptees to search for their birth parents. With a little digging, Doreen’s family were able to find the name of the woman who gave birth to Doreen so many years ago and were able to be in contact with some of her relatives. After 96 years of not knowing, Doreen was extremely happy being able to see a picture of her mother for the first time and finding some closure to this mystery in her life. Doreen’s family is continuing to explore this side of her family tree.
In Doreen’s last years she would face each day with a positive attitude and a will to live. She enjoyed watching the telly, caring for her plants and keeping up with the daily news. She remained Independent to the end and was adamant about remaining in the home she had shared with Jack.
Doreen had an incredible soul and a sense of humour that would shine through at all times. She was the rock and center of her family and one could not help but be drawn into her simple beauty and kindness. Her constant positive outlook on life and her avoidance of conflict along with the love she received from everyone she met was, we believe, the secret to her long life. She was loved by all and will be sadly missed.
Doreen, as per her wish, passed away peacefully in her sleep at home with family by her side.
A private family gathering will be held in her honour, in the meantime, the family kindly requests that friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
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