Barbara Mary Sedgwick (nee Oxley)

On the morning of April 12, 2013 our

dear mother and grandmother,

Barbara Mary Sedgwick (nee Oxley)

passed away.

Mum was born to Charles Alfred and Dorothy Agnes (nee Reed) on March 2, 1923 in Altrincham, England. She never really knew her dad who died at a very young age. Dorothy, (Nan) raised and had Mum schooled at Fylde Lodge School for Girls in Stockport, Cheshire. Through the war years and until 1949 Mum was a Land Girl in the Women’s Land Army. It was during that time that she worked on Elswick Farm in Mellor where she met Donald Wilkinson Sedgwick. They were married on May 18, 1949. On May 27, 1952, Mum and Pop, with their two young sons, Clive and Neil, set sail for Canada on the Empress of France. They arrived on June 3rd, Pop’s birthday and ultimately settled in Ottawa where Mum worked for several years for the RCMP. Just over thirty years later, in July of 1984, Mum and Pop pulled up stakes and moved across the country to Vancouver Island where they built a new home in Union Bay in the Comox Valley. Tom Davis, Bampa to Clive and Neil, who had come to Canada with Nan, crossed the country with them. Mum and Pop eventually left Union Bay but remained in the Comox Valley taking up residence in Courtenay.

Mum’s hobbies, stamp collecting, gardening, bird watching, were simple in concept but she was thorough in her pursuit of them. She became an accomplished and knowledgeable gardener who could coax stunning floral displays wherever her hands touched the soil, whether it was in her gardens in Ottawa and Union Bay, the flowers in the reclaimed ditches along the Island Highway in Union Bay, or her smaller gardens in Courtenay where, just when Mum became ill, her cheery daffodils were just coming into bloom. Mum loved every opportunity to birdwatch – she bought her first pair of binoculars in Ottawa; it did not take Mum long to become involved with other birdwatchers and naturalists in the Comox Valley, forming friendships which would stand the full test of time. Mum would not leave the house without her binoculars and would admonish anyone who did – who knew what might come into view! When the birds became harder to see and hear and the binnies became harder to hold you could still count on Mum to make an identification because of the wealth of information she had retained and quite often simply by appreciating the “jizz” of the bird.

Mum lost Pop, her favourite “green breasted grumbler bird” in June 2010. Never one to be humbled by a challenge, she continued to live on her own, cooking meals for herself and always finding a reason to do some baking – her scones were famous, the recipe has to be seen to be believed; her trifle bowl always came back home empty; and when the Seville Oranges showed up in the grocery store this past February, she couldn’t help herself – and one more batch of orange marmalade made its way to Mum’s pantry.

It is fitting that a few short weeks before Mum passed away she was feted at her 90th birthday by her many friends including those from the Union Bay Historical Society and the Comox Valley Naturalists and fellow birdwatchers. She heard first hand from all who gathered with her that she truly had made a difference and had accomplished so much in so many areas in the Valley. She was surprised but she was also very pleased.

Mum is survived by son, Clive, and wife Sue of Waterdown, Ontario; son Neil and wife Laurie of Priddis, Alberta; grandchildren Robyn of Calgary and Rhys, of Priddis, sister-in-law, Lillian Sedgwick and niece Alison Sedgwick, both of Scarborough, England.

Our family extends our gratitude to the doctors and nursing staff at the Campbell River Hospital who made Mum’s final days as comfortable as possible. We are especially thankful to Mum’s friends who became her “family” in the Comox Valley and who assisted Mum in ways that her own family could not from a distance. And thank you to Mum’s many friends who sent wishes to her or were able to visit her in hospital – we know you gave Mum comfort and it was a true pleasure for us to hear your stories of how you came to know Mum – you are a very interesting lot!

In lieu of flowers, donations in Mum’s memory to the Nature Trust of British Columbia and the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area would be gratefully appreciated. At Mum’s request there will be no service, but during fall bulb planting time, please find a space in your garden and plant some daffodils in her memory.

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