DOROTHY MARGARET McINNIS
1925 - 2021
The family wishes to announce the peaceful passing of Dorothy McInnis at the Revera Aspen Ridge, Red Deer on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 at the age of 96 years.
Mom came into this world on a miserably cold January day on a farm near Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. Through stories, she described grandpa hanging sheets surrounding a wood stove to create a warm “incubator” room to keep her warm and well. We feel the conditions of her arrival foretold the tale of who she would become in life and how she would move through the world.
She was raised in rural Saskatchewan during very difficult times. Despite a lack of monetary means, her frequent dinner time stories reflected a childhood of steadfastness, hard work, ingenuity, and love. The family shared a healthy sense of humor which saw them through years of hardship. As one of six children, third in line, she quickly became a doer, convener, an organizer, an historian and a leader, a family role that she held throughout her life. She always remembered where she came from, and often was quick to kindly encourage others who may have forgotten their humble beginnings, to do the same. Dorothy is survived by her youngest brother, Lorne Ellwood.
Mom had big ideas and big dreams. Primarily, abandoning farm life, which she would do through education, to live a life of high fashion, dancing, and music. In her day, public education provided a grade eight level, which she completed. With the help of a generous teacher, she returned to the school room at the end of his teaching day, to be tutored in high school curriculum in order to achieve a grade twelve standing.
Her working career began in Lloydminster at the local drug store soda counter. It was there she met a tall dark haired, handsome, very well-dressed young fellow named Fred McInnis. She said he could really wear a double-breasted tailed coat and fedora. He stood so straight and tall. Aside from his sense of fashion, the deal was sealed when she learned that he was a terrific dancer. They married in 1943.
Throughout our lives she regaled us with stories of this time. The fates revealed she still had a little bit of farming to do. For a time, mom, dad, along with sister Olive and her husband Hugh, lived on their grandad’s farm. While the husbands worked off and, on the farm, mom and Ollie were farm wives and young mothers. Meal planning was a bit different then. They would raise chickens, butcher them, stuff them with dressing and then freeze them in the snowbanks, to be eaten over the winter. They melted snow for laundry water, and she proudly declared herself to be the best at straining out the rabbit leavings, providing high quality laundry water. Despite the hard work, they always found time for fun. Mom told the best stories about going off to community dances after long days of work. In the winter, dad would hitch the horses and sleigh, place heated rocks with blankets in the sleigh and they would head out cross country, to dance until the wee hours of the morning. When ready to go home, the cold horses would be ready to run, so dad, standing on the buck board with all his might, would holler for everyone to get in the sleigh. Once all were safely under the blankets, he would let the reigns go and the horses would take them safely home across miles and miles of moonlit snowy fields. She loved these adventures.
In 1955, opportunity came knocking. The oilfield industry was opening up in Alberta. She said dad took a chance on work in Red Deer. With three children in tow, they relocated to a new young city, and for a time stayed in the Red Deer Auto Court motel, until housing could be found. They secured a new house in Mountview, added one more child to the family and their city life was born. Mom always said this was the best decision they ever made. She was proud of them both for taking the chance.
Although a very accomplished homemaker (hand to God, we lived in the cleanest house ever), seamstress and knitter, mom enjoyed working outside the home. With the opening of the Hudson’s Bay store in 1962, she launched what would be a successful 30-year career, where she was recognized for stellar performance, and held managerial roles. Mom developed long lasting friendships with colleagues that endured well beyond their working years. Her love of fashion was well nourished during her years at the Bay.
During retirement mom and dad had fun. They wintered away, travelled, and continued to be the social convenors in their group. There could never be too many gatherings of family or friends in their view. Dancing remained one of their favorite pastimes. Despite raising four non- dancer children (she commented on this often; really what are the odds, she’d say), we all loved to see them sweep across the floor, in their flawless form. The dancing ended with Fred’s passing in 1997. She missed him every day.
True to herself, mom embraced widowhood with pluck and determination. While always civic minded, she increased her long-standing volunteer efforts. She relentlessly served through fund raising and volunteered for many organizations. She was recognized for 25 years of service to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Foundation, at the age of 88. During this time, she also enjoyed a lengthy cruise throughout Southeast Asia, with her good friend Helen Wells. They enjoyed pre dinner drinks, shared meals, and day trips throughout the area. She made the best of her life.
Ever sensible, mom proactively planned to downsize her life and activities well before necessary. Although she passed her medical for her driver’s license, she gave up driving at 85. She moved from her house to a condo and finally into Revera retirement residence at the age of 89. She enjoyed life at Revera for 7 years, being an avid participant in the community. We were excited to be able to see her more often, post Covid, which she successfully dodged, but her health failed in recent weeks. Her final days were spent in her room being tenderly cared for by the Revera staff who she knew so well. We are grateful to have been at her side and for her peaceful passing. We will miss her every day.
As one might guess, mom faced many trials and much joy over 96 years. She faced it all with courage, grace, and optimism. She was generous with advice (solicited and unsolicited), true to herself and steadfast. We have great memories to shore us up along the way.
Dorothy’s legacy includes:
Children: Jerry McInnis, Linda McInnis (d. 2006), Lynda (d.2013) & Sandy (d.1992) Campbell, Wanda & Chuck Kingdom, Brenda & Lantry Vaughan
Grandchildren: Leah & Doug Streight, Marni McInnis, Jeff & Sherry McInnis, Natalie Vaughan & Levi Carlson, Kyle Vaughan & Nicole Woodman.
Great Grandchildren: Jesse and Sadie Streight, Lauren and Hayden Bettenson, Keith, Paula & Claire McInnis, Lowell & Sullivan Vaughan.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothy Margaret (Ellwood) McInnis, please visit our floral store.