Eileen Annie Ratelle (Sawden, nee Gilmour)

April 23, 1928 – June 27, 2019
Mom was born April 23rd, 1928 at a nursing home on Albert Street in Nanaimo, before the “old hospital” was completed; and passed away peacefully at the “new hospital” (NRGH) June 27, 2019, family by her side.
Predeceased by parents, Irma and Hugh Gilmour; sister, Eva Blackburn, brothers Hugh and Jack; son, Glenn Sawden, beloved husband Ernie Ratelle, grandson Mike Kimmel, son-in-law Paul Fairchild, ex-husband Tom Sawden.
Will be dearly missed by children, Anne Phillips, Laurie (Ken) Hird, Doug (Cathy) Sawden, Jodie Sawden (Lon), Helen Kimmel, Michael (Kitty) Ratelle, Pam (Tom) Wood, Janet (Ken) Kimmel; brother Ray Gilmour, many in-laws, grandchildren, greats, great-greats, nieces, nephews and friends.
Born and raised at the farm on Departure Bay Road, she loved animals and the outdoors,
and learned the meaning of hard work; also the importance of family and friends. Lived most of her life in Nanaimo area; some favourite places Departure Bay, Diver’s Lake/Wellington where kids were born and raised, Lantzville where she and Ern lived, and “the farm” in Crofton.
Mom left school early, working first at Wellington Merchants then later at Cook Bro’s Laundry and City Cleaners. Still in her teens, she married our dad, Tom, in 1947, first living in a one-room garage on 5th St. then on the farm at Diver’s Lake, where three kids were born; so many young families in the area that became such good friends!
Together Mom and Dad built our house on Cemetery Road where we moved in 1959; over a decade of wonderful memories in that house and neighbourhood, including the birth of youngest child Doug. During the Wellington years, Mom was very active in the community, with Mt Benson PTA, the United Church and as a Brownie leader. Mom had always enjoyed working outside of the home and when kids headed off to school she found work at Eaton’s in the housewares department, where she met many dear friends and continued there until retirement.
With the closure of Wellington Post Office (Dad’s workplace) in 1972 and subsequent move to Crofton, life was difficult and our folks parted ways.
Mom returned to Nanaimo and in 1975 married the love of her life, Ernie; they lived in upper Lantzville for 20 years. In retirement they became snowbirds, spending half the year in Yuma, Arizona; also RVing extensively through North America, including many trips to Mexico and Alaska with family and friends old and new. Married for 35 years, sadly Ern passed away in 2010.
The last 7 years Mom was content living in her suite at Long Lake Chateau, befriending fellow residents, the staff and her VIHA support workers. She continued to enjoy her family especially the great-grandchildren and outings with friends.
Throughout her life Mom has treasured relationships with people of all ages. She was appreciated and loved for her warmth, caring, sense of humour, and her strength in times of adversity.
Mom, we will miss your love, support and smiling face! Love you forever…
A Celebration of Eileen’s life will be held at 1:30 pm, October 19, 2019 at Lantzville Legion.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to BC Children’s Hospital, MS Society or Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated.


Your condolences will be approved within one business day. You will need a valid Facebook account. Please email us if you have any questions.