Eulogy given by Sean Whately (Grandson) Aug 18, 2020
My name is Sean and I will be sharing some letters on behalf of the grandchildren about Grandma. Many of us found it tough to share our thoughts and feelings surrounding the passing of our beloved grandmother, however a few have provided some words for me to share. To begin, Grandma asked us to start calling her GG when some of us started having kids and the name stuck so she is often referred to as GG.
A memory from my cousin, Derek.
When Derek and I were young, like many of the cousins we would often visit the farm at 180 Main St. We would head out and run around all over the farm for hours with explicit instructions from our mothers that we were to not play in the barn hayloft. So naturally this is where we would head first on most visits until the day that Derek fell down the ladder from the hayloft onto the hard floor below luckily not breaking anything. It is obvious to say that our moms were super mad about us being up there again and we were going to hear all about it for the long ride home, until Grandma came to our rescue reminding our moms that boys will be boys and to not worry. She bailed us out of a jam that time!
A parting observation from my cousin, Kevin.
Grandma, you’re a badass and everyone knows it! So true Kevin!
A letter on behalf of my sister, Katie.
Like my cousins, I had a special relationship with grandma. I remember once we went cruising in my parents convertible together. She acted like a teenager, thrilled with joy of riding away together with the top down. She enjoyed doing fun things and living life. She was generous. She often attended my kids birthday parties and recently grew quite close with my daughter Molly.
They had a special relationship too and along with some in person visits, mostly chatted via Facetime. Molly loved showing off her outfits and loved chatting about all the goings on of a then, 3 year old. GG was so engaged in each call and I think she enjoyed the calls as much as Molly did. I was lucky to be a fly on the wall to observe these interactions, making sure my phone was in one piece at the end of each call as they were always very animated. Grandmas‘ great grandchildren Molly, Hannah and Darren, continue to talk of GG Conway often. They reminisce and chat with mom about her, keeping her memory alive. They miss her so much and so do I. Rest in peace grandma/ GG Conway.
A few memories on behalf of all of us from me. Sean Whately (Grandson)
Some of my fondest memories of my times with my cousins happened at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Vankleek Hill. From collecting the hay, to making taffy, and from getting a bowl of sugar to dip our rhubarb in, to the epic games of spoons in the bedrooms upstairs. We all formed many memories in that home that always had Grandma right in the centre of everything. When we got older and all had our own things going on in our lives, Grandma reached out to me to ask if I could help her get all the boys together because she wanted to take us all to a Sens hockey game on her, so that we could spend some quality time together. We made Conway Sens shirts that some of us Leafs and Habs fans wore reluctantly and cheered on the Sens that night with Grandma from some of the best seats I have ever sat in because she wanted it to be a real treat. ( I wear that shirt for you today Grandma). Not to be outdone, Grandma also planned a night out with her girls where they attended an Eddie May Murder Mystery night and tried to solve “who done it”. She was always about bringing her family together, like the annual family curling bonspiel, and we are as tight a family as we are because of her. Thank you grandma! We love you.
Eulogy By Erin Conway Aug 18, 2020
Back in June (you know about 5 years ago), I got an email from my dad with pictures of Grandma's belongings and he asked if I wanted anything. In the background of one of these pictures I noticed a certificate on the wall in a modest frame. I couldn't make out who it was issued by, or the date. All I could see is that it was given for Making a Difference. This makes sense, I immediately thought.
Grandma dedicated her life to raising her children, to helping Grandpa with the business, to being a good neighbour and sister, and to volunteering in her community. She spent her time tending to her vegetable gardens, teaching her grandkids how to play cards and baking fresh bread each morning for borders at 180 Main.
Grandma led a modest life. But I encourage you, especially now when perhaps we all have a little more time on our hands, to take a look at how great and vast her impact was. And it continues in our relationships with our friends and families, in our careers, and in our volunteerism.
We are here because of Grandma. Gladys Conway made a difference.
I leave you with this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson - To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived — that is to have succeeded.
Eulogy by Elaine Turcotte Aug 18, 2020
She taught me pretty much every card game I know.
She never let me live down the time we made no-sugar sugar cookies.
Her homemade bread was legendary and waking up to the smell of it coming out of the oven was heavenly.
She’d send us out to the garden to pick raspberries or rhubarb and we’d come back with empty dishes and full bellies.
She had a hole in her closet floor for a laundry chute, but really it was a secret grandchildren escape hatch.
She let us play dress up with her clip on earrings and skirts, which she dressed up in every night for dinner.
She gave us pots and spoons to make a noisy outdoor parade.
When I was 4, I’d ask her to play it again grandma and she’d rewind my cassette tape to play Bille Jean on repeat during an 8 hour car ride. She’d remind me of it every time they were playing our song.
She helped us sell warm hose water to the workers who pitched it off the other side of the roof when we weren’t looking.
For Christmas one year, she got us matching Smurf onesie pajamas, pointy white hats and little booties and all.
She loved when we all camped out in her backyard for the fair. Tent city she called it.
I’m pretty sure I spent more time every summer in her pool than out of it.
She decorated for every single holiday, especially St Patrick’s Day.
She loved to dance. She yodeled.
She told me she knew grandpa was the one when they were sitting on the porch and she was comfortable enough to fall asleep on his shoulder.
When I was about 10, she sat me down and told me the secret to men. She said the key was to make them think everything was their idea. It’s how she got her new dishwasher. Turns out she was right.
A few years ago, she gave me a crystal vase and said I hope one day you find a man to fill it for you. I cheekily told her I’d buy my own flowers. I fill that vase with the brightest, most beautiful flowers every chance I get.
The greatest thing she ever gave us was each other.
And if you’re up there listening, I’ll be playing it again grandma. It’s on repeat. Until we meet again.
Love always, your little can of glue.
Our mother, Gladys Gertrude Conway (nee Gauthier) was born to parents Rheal (Riel) Gauthier and Gertrude Blaskie and was raised along with her brothers, Eddy and Cyril and sister Beatrice in the small community of Sandy Creek just outside of Otter Lake, Quebec.
Gladys Conway’s eulogy Aug 18, 2020
Our mother, Gladys Gertrude Conway (nee Gauthier) was born to parents Rheal (Riel) Gauthier and Gertrude Blaskie and was raised along with her brothers, Eddy and Cyril and sister Beatrice in the small community of Sandy Creek just outside of Otter Lake, Quebec. According to her baptismal and government records she was born on April 27, 1929 but we all know that Mom was born on April 23, 1929. After all she was there and she should know…. Right? So that is the day we celebrated her birthday.
She and her siblings were raised by their mother after losing their father at an early age. Mom's family learned to sustain themselves by growing a big garden and caring for farm animals to supply them with their needs. This is where Mom’s passion for gardening began.
Mom met Dad (Vincent Conway) while he was working on the Quyon Dam. On Feb 18, 1950 they were married in Ottawa and moved to St. Eugene, Ontario. They had six children, Wayne, Velma, Faye, Larry, Brent and Carl.
After a short time working on the farm, Mom and Dad started a business delivering fuel to homes and farmers. Dad handled customer service and delivery while Mom ran the office and bookkeeping. As the business expanded, they moved to Vankleek Hill. They expanded even further into plumbing, electrical, furnace and pool installation. She was accomplished in her work and was very proud of their partnership.
It was always obvious to us that Mom and Dad loved each other and this was especially evident in the final years of Dad’s life when Mom spent many tireless hours caring for him before his passing in 1995.
As Mom and Dad both lost a parent in the early years of their childhood, family was very important to them. Mom and Dad had a fondness for entertaining family and friends. We remember many barbecues in our backyard where we would swim, sing and dance and enjoy each other’s company. And who remembers all those sleepovers in the shed….. We especially enjoyed listening to Mom yodel. She often surprised her friends and family with her special singing talents at family parties.
And the card games .... they were legendary. We spent many winter nights playing cards. Aunt Frances, Uncle Johnny and their children would often come over on Sunday afternoon and play cards. The deal was that if you lost, you had to sit out until your turn came around. As we had a couple of skidoos, the losers would often head outside and ride out to the woods while waiting for their turn back at the card table. Mom probably thought we children were poor card players as we often lost. We never told Mom that it wasn’t because we were poor card players; it was just that we enjoyed skidooing more.
Having six children, it is inevitable that one of us had to be the youngest, the baby of the family, but only Mom was allowed to call Carl “the Baby “. We siblings had to call him the youngest or sir….
With that many children, it was easy to organize team sports. When we were teenagers, we remember Mom getting us all up early on a Saturday morning to go curling. She kept us all on schedule and was our greatest supporter. For 35 years she attended “The Conway Bonspiel” yet she never curled herself.
Mom had a beautiful flower and vegetable garden. It seemed to grow bigger every year. She would shop through the Sears catalog and buy the seeds needed for the next planting season. She told us that she loved the feel of the earth in her hands. All of the children would be pressed into service to pick fresh vegetables. We would eat them, freeze them, can them for the winter months, and even give them away to neighbours. The garden became a valuable source of income for some of us children who would sell the products it produced. And as if that wasn’t enough, she baked bread, pies and cakes, made homemade wine.
Mom wanted us to try new foods. So, one day she prepared some liver and offered us a nickel each if we finished eating all the liver on our plate. One of my brothers did not like liver and decided to toss it under the table. At first, he did receive his nickel but it was later retrieved when Mom discovered the pieces under the table. Too bad we didn’t have a dog at the time.……Right Larry!
Mom was always community minded. She became a member of the Catholic Women’s League where she participated in quilting and knitting bees, helped organize special events and raised funds for the community.
Mom really enjoyed celebrating the holidays. She would decorate the house at Christmas a month early so that everyone would get into the spirit of things. She especially loved to dress up for St Patrick’s day.
Mom always preferred her home over traveling but she did holiday in California, Jamaica and England with Dad and later visited Larry and Carole in Arizona. She very generously took her girls on a Caribbean cruise and her boys on a golfing trip to Niagara Falls. But some of the fondest memories are the family camping weekend trips to Otter Lake to visit her extended family.
As the years passed, Mom moved to Rideau Place in Ottawa to be closer to her family and enjoy their company more. She became an ambassador at Rideau Place, greeting new arrivals, showing them, the residence and gardens and helping them to get involved in their new community. She joined in many activities and events especially those that involved singing and dancing and was instrumental in organizing an ongoing skipbo card tournament for all the residents to enjoy.
Brent taught Mom in her later years to use the cellphone, iPad and computer. We were all very thankful for this because it allowed us to stay in constant communication with her, especially important in the last months of her life.
Mom had 14 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She was very proud of them, loved them all and enjoyed spending time with them. One Christmas she gave smurf pyjamas to all the grandchildren. They all dressed up and ran around her home in glee. Well …… maybe not everyone enjoyed it .... hey Jeff?
I am sure there are many stories the grandchildren will be able to tell you about her so I will let them tell you their story.
Gladys, Mom, Grandma, GG as she preferred to be called by her great grandchildren, lived a long, happy, fruitful life and even after having achieved the great age of 91, left us all too soon.
Despite the increasing frailties of age, she continued to look to the future, to the next big thing within her family and especially to the ever-increasing roster of great grandchildren.
We were very fortunate and very privileged to enjoy her presence with us for so long.
I would like to finish by saying our mother always loved her hugs. So today, we…, I, … am giving you all a virtual hug on her behalf.
We love and miss you Mom!