Ellen Beatrice (Nell) GODWIN
(nee Webb) October 14, 1911 – April 4, 2014
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Nell spent WWI in Yorkshire, England, with her mother and aunts while her Dad fought in Europe. They returned to Edmonton following the war where Nell was to spend her life until moved to Vancouver Island in 2006 by her daughter, Gerri.
Nell was always busy; she took active part in many sports as well as instructing and has several hundred students who will attest to this. She was one of many volunteers who taught Aussies and Newzies the basic elements of skiing during WWII. Incidentally, Nell was born the year that the Edmonton Ski Club was formed and celebrated many birthdays with the Club which is still an active institution.
Nell downhill skied until she was 86 when she figured her knees would lose their girlish shape if she didn’t stop. This immediately gave her the time to hone her golf game which allowed her to maintain a very respectable handicap.
First and foremost, Nell was a born musician. Today she might have been thought a prodigy but ‘back then’ it was more of an amusing talent but she was encouraged to take lessons. The classics were not her forte and she happily switched to jazz, boogie woogie, and other contemporary music. At one point, following the death of her beloved husband, Don, she bought and played a beautiful organ to add to her skills of ukulele, guitar, flute, and a very brief stint (thankfully) with the clarinet. Nell played with the Edmonton Cosmopolitan Concert Band until her hearing became too impaired to continue.
As the second woman in Alberta to be licensed for motorcycle driving, Nell sped around Edmonton streets on a single-cylinder Indian with her “Harley” husband, Don. Later, with the advent of child, they sold one bike and bought a sidecar which they used until Don joined the Army in WWII. During the 1960s, Don developed cancer and once again Nelly bought a (100 cc Japanese) motorbike to transport her quickly between home and work to take care of her beloved until his untimely death in 1971. She kept the bike for some ten years until she discovered that driving it to Calgary to visit her daughter and family might cause it to disintegrate.
Nell moved into a delightful suite in Parksville in 2006 from which she and Gerri busily investigated the Island life until an auto accident put an end to some of her activities and resulted in her decision to move to Halliday House, one she never regretted. She loved the staff and enjoyed the banter with the other residents right to the end.
Her extensive family travelled here frequently to visit and be regaled by her wicked sense of humour. She will be greatly missed by her daughter, Gerri; four grandchildren,Don (Angie) Hemphill, Leslie Thomas (Steve Bonner), Kathleen (Dale) Wilker, Barbara Hemphill (Stephen Hinrich); nine great-grand-children, and one darling wee great-great-granddaughter plus numerous extended family, friends and co-musicians.
Now, how does one play a harp….?!?
To send a condolence to the family please visit www.yatesfuneral.ca
YATES FUNERAL SERVICE & CREMATORIUM,
(250-248-5859) in care of arrangements.