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Katherine Marguerite McQuillan (nee Skinner)

August 24, 2023


January 28, 1944 - August 24, 2023

In Loving Memory ~

After a very brief battle with cancer, Katherine died suddenly on August 24th in Comox, BC. Our family is devastated, however; she would have wanted us to keep calm and 'carry on,' as one of her favourite idols famously said.

Katherine, or Kate, or Liz, Mum, or Noni, was born in Derby, England, to a loving family, nearing the end of WWII. Her half-sister, Barbara, and older brothers Peter and David, with their families, children, and grandchildren, survive her in England.

An astute student, she went to Nottingham Teachers College, majoring in Art and English, excelling in physical education, and finishing in 1966. She spent one year teaching the equivalent of a Grade 3 class in England. In August of 1967, she flew to Estevan, Saskatchewan, where Peter was practicing dentistry and teachers were in short supply.

Two tales she told of arriving in the prairies include smelling skunk for the first time, and the carhop at a local A&W asking if she would like her hamburger "fully loaded." Bemused, she had no idea what they were asking of her at all.

In Estevan she began her Canadian teaching career, starting with a Grade 3 class. She adored being a teacher and grew to appreciate the vast beauty of the prairie. Somewhere along the way, she met our Dad, who was a young engineer in the oil and gas industry. They enjoyed going to hockey games in all weather and had a lively time with their friends and careers.

In 1969, Dad transferred to Red Deer, Alberta, and Mum followed. She taught full-time and met many close friends. Mum and Dad were married on April 10th, 1971. We all followed from 1973-1983, with Fiona, Sheila, Robert, Patrick, and Julie, all born in Red Deer.

Life was hectic, but Mum somehow managed to continue teaching, and pursuing her many passions, including sewing, needlework, arts and crafts, reading, taking university courses, and being a proper "Mum." She was a force of nature.

In 1988 the family moved to Comox, British Columbia, so Dad could have an early retirement and be close to his family and deep Comox Valley roots. We children finished school and moved on to our own post-secondary pursuits, lives, and eventual families of our own. Mum and Dad had a comfortable 52 years of marriage until Dad's passing on May 4th, 2023.

Mum had many lifelong friendships in the prairies and in the Comox Valley, however, her heart and soul belonged in England. She was able to 'go home' and visit many times, but her longing to be in the UK never waned, and we shall be returning her home soon.

Her Canadian 'empire' surviving her are Fiona (Jens; Lily and Hendrick), Sheila (Chris; Samuel and Liam), Robert, Patrick (Cheryl; Gemma and Natalie, and Julie (Lucien; Wesley). Deeply missed, we will carry her sense of humour, creativity, and courage with us forever.

There is pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is rapture in the lonely shore,

There is a society, where non intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

Lord Byron 1788-1824

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