April 14, 2020
1921-2020 ~ Jean’s spirit left her body on April 14 to join the ones she loved most: Clair Wilson, her husband of 67 years; James and Beatrice Greig, her mother and dad; Robert T. Wilson, her father-in-law, and Velvet, her canine soulmate.
When people describe Jean their first word is “funny.” Her sharp intelligence came alongside an acute sense of the ridiculous, and almost any encounter with her involved laughter. Her wicked wit never left her, and even in her 90s she would evoke double-takes from people who wondered if that old lady really said that. Yep. She did. Born in Regina in 1921, the youngest in a loving family of eight children, she lost her twin, Jessie, at age three, then siblings David, Ethel and Winnifred while growing up . Harry, Lily (Sankey) and Gertrude (Smith) survived with her into adulthood, and now only Gert remains.
She should have gone to university, but the Great Depression decreed otherwise, so secretarial training it was. To the end of her days she proudly wore the gold medal inscribed “For Industry, Character and Ability” awarded for graduating at the top of her class in 1936. She would practise her shorthand by transcribing songs on the radio, and as a result she could sing all the words to about five decades’ worth of hits.
During the war, she followed big sister Lil to Trail, BC to work at Cominco. There she met her one and only, George Sinclair Wilson of Nanaimo, whose oddball sense of humour appealed to her. In 1942 they embarked on a happy, cosy life together, moving to Clair’s hometown after the war.
Jean was active in the Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary, the Nanaimo Golf and Country Club, several bridge groups and, along with Clair, the Gyro Club. She was an exquisite knitter, deft bridge player, not- bad golfer, avid reader and a thoroughly wonderful wife and mother. As she was raising two kids she also took in her father-in-law, and later her mother when they couldn’t live on their own anymore. She was also Mom #2 to the Reifel brood next door: Conrad, Elinor (Brien, deceased), Jan (MacLeod) and Judy (Allred). Her daughter-in-law Debbie and friend Judi Bledsoe also considered her a second mother.
She leaves two happy and well-brought-up children, Robert (Debbie) and Elizabeth (Alan Bazeley), who will never again laugh as helplessly as they did with their classy, sassy, silly, smart, loving mother.
We thank the staff at Avenir Memory Care, who showered her with affection and attention for her last three years. If you wish to donate in her memory, the CNIB was a great help to her when macular degeneration took her eyesight. Or just enjoy a good unbridled laugh.
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