May 13, 1913 ~ Dec. 28, 2013
With sadness we announce the passing of Wenawae Greenlaw (Johnston) Stevenson on Dec. 28, 2013 in Courtenay, British Columbia in her 101st year.
Wenawae was born in Toronto May 13, 1913 to Frank H. Johnston and Florence Myrtle Jane (Jamieson) Johnston.
She attended Elementary and Secondary schools in Toronto and later the Ontario College of Art. Summers during her early years were spent on Georgian Bay, Lake of the Woods and Lake Winnipeg.
She and her siblings had a rich exposure to nature and the artistic interpretations of her father, a well known Canadian artist, one of the founding members of the Group of Seven. The whole family assisted their father in the running of summer art schools. Wenawae and her sister Frances Anne were given the responsibility to provide basic art instruction to the summer school students.
On Feb. 7, 1936 Wenawae married James Stevenson in Toronto and enjoyed 46 years of marriage. They had two children, Michael and Kristin.
In 1950 they moved from Toronto to Bracebridge, purchased and operated the Albion Hotel for 8 years. Soon after Wenawae created an exclusive gift shop. That enterprise was so successful that it moved to a larger venue in the same town. They enjoyed trips in the winters to Europe, Mexico and other Caribbean destinations. The benefits of these trips provided many interesting and unusual gifts for the shop. Many people to this day fondly remember “Wenawae’s Gifts”.
Wenawae and her husband became very prominent members of their community. She served as an elected trustee on the Muskoka Board of Education and her husband James served on the Town Council and was appointed Industrial Commissioner for the town . After retiring from her business in 1980 Wenawae enjoyed more time with her family and friends and summers at the cottage on Lake of Bays.
In the fall of 2001 Wenawae moved to the West Coast to be closer to her daughter and also leave behind the ‘rugged’ winters of Muskoka. She loved returning in summer time to Muskoka. She initially moved to Victoria and after six years moved to Courtenay.
Wenawae outlived her siblings by decades: Lawren 1917-1972, Paul 1915-1983, Frances 1910-1987. Her husband James passed away in 1982.
She is survived by her son Michael and her daughter Kristin (Roland) as well as grandchildren Sharon, Maya, Jesse, Josh, Soren and Anna and 6 great grandchildren Brett, Christopher, Brian, Luke, Ruby and Arwyn.
Wenawae’s distinct personality and joie de vivre was part of the reason for her success in all aspects of her life. Her discriminating artistic sense manifested itself in the appointment of her homes and her stylish presence throughout her life. She will be dearly missed by her family and all who knew her.
A memorial service will be held at Comox Valley Seniors Village at a later date this month and a further Memorial Service will take place in Bracebridge in the summer.
Donations in Wenawae’s memory can be made to the CNIB if you so desire.
The family would like to acknowledge and very much thank the staff of Comox Valley Seniors Village. Special thanks to Dr. Mark Woldnik for his expertise and kindness.