January 21, 1926 – October 16, 2018
Edo died suddenly from the complications of valvular heart disease (aortic stenosis) in Casa Loma care facility in Courtenay, B.C. At ninety-two she was at peace with her fate-no regrets or unfinished tasks. Her Energizer Bunny batteries were totally depleted, yet to her last day she was mentally and physically intact and fiercely independent.
She was predeceased by her brother Jack, parents Percy and Julia Owen, sisters Ev Smith, Eileen Richardson, Elsie (Curly) Hamilton, eldest brother Stan and her husband Jim. She enjoyed a decade of widow’s bliss after Jim’s death in September 2008, after sixty-four years of matrimony!
She is survived by he sister Ann Dark (100), sons Jack (Ruth), Bob (Val) and Ken (Allison), grandchildren Jasmine, Leila, Nairn, Amber, Katy and Jessica. She especially enjoyed her great grandchildren Esme, Anais, Tamsin, Collette and Frankie.
Edo’s life adventure began in Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Comox B.C. and during her lifetime she never deserted her beloved Comox Valley. In her youth she was the tomboy terror of Little River. She proved to be a gifted, competitive athlete, excelling at softball and badminton. She graduated from high school in Victoria ending her formal education. Her first job was as a whistle punk for a skidder logging operation in the Valley.
The Second World War would impact her life profoundly. At R.C.A.F. Base Comox where she was employed as a waitress, she first crossed paths with Sergeant James Albrecht who had just returned from Alaska. In March 1944 her parents received a telegram notifying them that their youngest son, Jack, a Lancaster pilot, was reported Missing In Action after a bombing raid on Berlin. Meanwhile, romance blossomed and Jim and Edo were married in the Base chapel on August 5, 1944. Prior to the ceremony, the service padre confided to Jim that Jack’s status had been revised to Killed In Action-a secret to be guarded until after their honeymoon. Their first son would be named in his memory.
The Owen family had its first major reversal in June 1942 when Percy was rendered paraplegic as a result of a construction accident. Fortunately Jim and Edo lived next door to her parents for the first decade of their marriage. This idyllic, rural setting was perfect for absorbing the energies of their curious, adventuresome sons. With the self construction of two homes and sequential boat building projects there was no time for them to go astray.
During these years as role models, Edith and Jim taught the importance of dedication, education and hard work. For example with the construction of our two homes, the first move was always into the basement before completion of the upper floor. The transition to the top level would take at least two years. The Albrecht family became known as the Basement Dwellers of Little River.
Jim had grown up on the prairies during the Great Depression and was forced to leave school and home after grade eight to earn a living. Both our parents stressed the importance of an education in a rapidly developing world. Their efforts were rewarded with all three boys graduating with degrees from the University of British Columbia in science, medicine and a doctorate in atomic physics.
Edo had an unparalleled zest for life. This was buttressed by her socially effervescent personality. Throughout her life she had a insatiable passion for athletics and cards-in particular golf and bridge. In the decade after Jim’s death, Edo and her cohorts in crime, lifelong friend Trudy Newman and ‘daughter-in-absentia’ Pat Schmidt crisscrossed the province attending golf and bridge tournaments. This included the B.C. Seniors Games and she almost always brought home a medal in her age category. Edith and Jim were both members of the Comox Golf Club for over sixty years. In August 2017, at age ninety-one, Edo and her partner Pat Everett were co-winners of the McQuinn Cup-a remarkable feat considering her age and the fact that she had endured five knee replacements. This was testimony to her competitive spirit and pit bull determination. Anne Sullivan, event coordinator of the Golf Club, hit the nail on the head when she described Mom’s esprit de corp: “She always hits from the hip.”
Mom was devastated by her long time friend, Trudy Newman’s death in December 2016 but soon bounced back. She continued with the Owen tradition of Tea Time at 1241 Mayfair Road, always complemented by her delectable tea rings or cinnamon buns. Her culinary skills were unmatched and closely followed by her green thumb in the garden. She was a regular winner with her entries in the Courtenay Fall Fair.
At this point in her life she only had one unfulfilled aspiration: to travel via rail across Canada. In May 2011 Bob and Val fulfilled her dream, escorting her on a return, three week, Via rail, cross country adventure. She returned rejuvenated!
The year following the diagnosis of her cardiac condition was a challenge for Edo and her family-difficult to reset the thermostat of life. We are extremely grateful for the support provided by the medical community over this time as her stamina and reserves gradually deteriorated, in particular the staff of the Comox Medical Clinic, including the MOAs and RN Kim. Her family physician, Dr. Rick Potter-Cogan, deserves special mention for his compassion, wisdom and insight during this time. He was most influential in convincing Mom to surrender her driver’s licence-not a simple task considering her tenacity! Not to forget the invaluable services and expertise of the home care nurses. Over this time and the decade since Dad’s death, Pat Schmidt and Morris and Grace Hill were tireless in their care and attention to Edo’s needs, ensuring her independence and safety in her old home. Their constant contact and feedback were critical in fine tuning the decision to move her into Casa Loma. Without their vigilant support this would have been impossible!
Lastly, the family would like to thank orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Bassam Misri, for his surgical skill and expertise in Mom’s last four knee replacements. In essence, he guaranteed her mobility and independence for the last four decades of her life. She was remarkably asymptomatic at the end her life!
Edo will be dearly missed by her family and friends. She has left her mark and a void impossible to fill.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 4, 2018 at the Comox Golf Club: 13:00-16:00+ (1718 Balmoral Ave., Comox, B.C., V9M 2N1, 1-250-339-7272).
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Comox Golf Club or a charity of choice in Edo’s memory would be appreciated.