In the early morning, as the dancing stars drew her away, the first rays of the sun carried mom’s spirit to join that of her husband. Mom was born to John and Sofia Leaf on September 10, 1927 in Kamloops, but spent her youth in the Finnish community of Solsqua- Cambie. She lost her father in July 1945 and helped her mother care for her younger siblings. Her mom, Aiti, left us in June 1981. Mom had two older half-siblings Erik in Finland and Mary Hantula who came to live in Solsqua. She also had two sisters, Elsie Burt and Helvie Saari, and her little brother Ray Leaf. Mom’s only remaining sibling is her sister Elsie. She also leaves behind Ray’s wife Val and Dad’s sister Carol Bates.
Mom was married to Robert Owen Jones in October 1950. She always said he was a good catch because he was a railwayman. Sadly their love affair would come to an end May 7, 1983 when we lost our amazing father. They had some fabulous years together raising five children in Revelstoke, Hammond, Kamloops, and Cranbrook. Eldest son Robert Jr. (Bob) also became a good railwayman, and is left to cherish Mom’s memory with his partner Fran and his five children: Cori (Josh); Sherri (Brian); Megan (George), and Robert (Stephanie)–a third generation railwayman. Sadly we lost Bob’s daughter, Janet (George) in 2010. The next child to come along was daughter Marilyn Anderson (Donovan) who, with her three children Sarah (Justin), Christopher (Crystal), and David (Samantha) will forever treasure all of the special moments they shared with Mom. The next son was Dick (Debbie) and with children David (Stephanie) and Jennifer (Travis), Mom’s feisty spirit will be remembered and will live on. Youngest son Darrell (Elizabeth) and their two children Zachary and Jessica (Jeremiah) will long remember Mom’s laughter and her stories, and will keep her close to their hearts. Finally, the baby, Lori Bregoliss who, with husband Paul and their two sons Ryan (Allison) and Sammy J will honour Mom’s love of family and zest for life.
Mom and dad had some memorable times together, spending many years sharing their mutual passion for politics. Mom loved being in the campaign offices especially if R O was running. She lived for helping the community and others less fortunate. One of her first jobs was working as a nurse’s aide in the hospital in Revelstoke. She spent hours working with the Royal Purple and the Elks lodge. She was also a passionate caregiver; it seemed there was always someone extra at the dinner table that Mom was helping out, be it a railway friend of Dad’s, one of her children’s friends, or in the later years helping support those with intellectual disabilities. She spent many summers at her cabin on the Shuswap, enjoying the company of family and friends, and always made sure we swept the deck before we left. After selling the cabin she continued to enjoy weekends at her trailer in Chase. Her retirement years were spent living downtown. Mom was a very independent woman, and relished the freedom of being able to get everything she needed with just a short walk, perhaps with some time spent just sitting and people watching. Mom was a great cook, famous for her broccoli bake, which has become a family tradition. Her grandchildren will always remember her for her scrambled egg and peanut butter sandwiches or pancakes after a sleep over. We will make sure that the youngest members of the family, her nine great-grandchildren–Tanner, Tyler, Emilie, Hunter, Hailey, Emmaline, Josh, Aaron and Gordon and two more expected this summer–and her great-great-grandson Max will know what a special woman she was. In her last years we were blessed that mom was cared for by the loving staff at Ridgeview Lodge. Alzheimer’s takes a person away in pieces but the staff at Ridgeview made sure Mom’s life was full and whole. Her final days were spent sharing quiet visits with her children and their spouses and some laughter filled evenings with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They shared family stories and a few last sips of beer; she did not want to leave that party. We love you more than words can speak, say hi to Dad, hope he has a CC and water waiting for you. There will be a graveside service for Mom at the Solsqua-Cambie cemetery on May 23 @ 11:00 am with a social at mom’s old stomping grounds, the Cambie Hall, following the service. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Alzheimer’s society, or give someone a hug.