On August 08, 2016 Mum realised her creative reasoning. Mum died this day due to a brain aneurysm. Undoubtedly, the heavens have received her engaging spirit, closing a chapter of succession and opening another.
Mum was pre-deceased by her own parents, baby sister Dawn, stillborn twin brothers and husband Leonard on August 09, 2014. Graciously stepping aside during her ascension are her brother Stan and children Paul (Stephanie); Gavin (Carolyn); Adrian and Sarah.
Born in Lloydminster, SK she used this fact as leverage when dealing with “fellow” Saskatchewanians. When queried on her length of residence she always cheekily answered “5 days”. Lloydminster straddles provincial boundaries; the hospital in Saskatchewan and home was in Alberta.
Mum spent her childhood in Kirkby-in-Ashley, England, running amuck in Sherwood Forest, home to Robin Hood, and would recount watching wave upon wave of Bomber Commands’ daily offerings to the European front during WWll. Post war, in the thick of the night, Mum, her brother and mother fled England and the heavy hand of her father to start a new life back home in Canada.
The return trip on the RMS Aquitania sparked a love for worldly travels of which she encouraged her children to follow suit to “make memories for your rocking chair days”. Mum graduated from business college and worked for Edmonton brokerage firms making use of her new skill set. During an outing in Edmonton, she met Dad who stole her number from his friend. They soon married and he reaffirmed that “the best thing I ever did in life was marry Evelyn”. After falling in love with Vancouver Island on their honeymoon, they set their eyes on their island paradise in Errington and relocated in 1974 and left “Old Man” winter behind.
Mum was the model for many local and global charitable/humanitarian efforts, the impetus for many to follow. Accompanied by her longtime ‘partner-in-crime’ Alice Antonelli, they were on the vanguard being two of the first women to have joined the ranks of the Errington Volunteer Fire Department, regaling us with stories of driving the pumper truck with the siren on. It was her dedication and commitment to the staff and citizens of Trillium Lodge and Auxiliary for over 31 years that gave her profound joy and satisfaction. Any recognition for her service always baffled and surprised her and acceptance was with the utmost humility.
She bestowed upon her family traits that have served us well such as duty, hard work, respect, dedication and loyalty; typically with a ‘do as I say not as I do’ caveat. Having encountered barriers and enduring struggles throughout her life, Mum always fought to persevere and typically with large doses of stubborn determination even when stricken with debilitating migraine headaches. Through it all, she was quick with a joke, a poignant story seasoned with sage advice and a twirl set to the soundtrack of her life.
Bravery is found in the reaction to a situation. Courage is found in perseverance despite knowing what lies ahead. It was her courage that allowed her to give freely of her collaborative efforts, time, education and leadership. A witty and charming woman, Mum had an incomparable zest for life.
She was the bunny ears in a picture, the secret treat deliverer, Santa Claus when required, spider exterminator, long-time friend to many, a deer and cat aficionado, pirate at heart, and the one who could deafen a cab driver in New York with her faintest whistle. She was the patient that smoked with the doctor behind closed doors, and the reporter for the Parksville Progress (now the PQB news) ever mindful to not only fill the pages with obviously unbiased photographs of her children but important events and community needs.
The Laukkanen family is indebted to the professional and exceptionally loving care provided to the matriarch of our clan by the dedicated staff and volunteers of the NRGH’s Palliative Care Unit. Their attentiveness and compassion will never be forgotten, nor will our Mum.
“HATS OFF TO YOU, MUM!”
Please give generously to the charity of your choice.
The Parksville Legion will host a celebration of a life well lived on
September 6, 2016 from 1-4 pm with an informal reception.