MY DEAR MY DEAR MOTHER
To one who bears the sweetest name, and adds lustre to the same. Long life to her, for there’s no other who takes the place of MY DEAR MOTHER. When God was looking for a Mother for us he found us an “Angel”, and now our Mother is with Him.
Phyllis Felicia Johnson (DeCarlo) Aug.1, 1920 – Jan.5, 2012. Our sweet dear Mother Phyllis was born in Montréal, where she grew up. She was the youngest child and only girl of 5 children. Mom did a lot of travelling as a girl with her Mother and Auntie Dot to Barbados. Mom’s father Louis worked for the CNR, as did her brothers in Montréal. She travelled a lot by train. This is where she met our father George her love on Beaverhall Hill. They married and their first child was a boy- Douglas, then they had a girl- Barbara. During war-time Barbara died. After the war Dad went back to working with the CNR; but the sea was calling him. Then Susan was born and the family moved to Nova Scotia when our father enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy. Dad was away for months at a time.
Mom and Dad then decided to have another child and Deborah was born. This was when we really got to know our Mother, because Dad was away for such long periods of time, becoming a stay-at-home Mom, but was always working her magic. She ran the household, was a phenomenal cook, took decorating courses, loved to paint, sew, knit, decorate and create. Mom had a green thumb when it came to gardening like her father Louis. For years Mom worked in the Hospital as a Candy Striper, I remember how sharp she looked in her uniform. Mom was awesome when it came to money matters; investments, buying 2 duplexes and becoming a landlord. Poor Dad, he never knew when he came back if he would be living in the same house or not. We all laugh looking back.
Our Mother knew how to use their money wisely. As kids we remember long picnics by the ocean at Lawerancetown, swimming, playing in the sand, clam digging with the toilet plunger and ice fishing for smelts. She made life fun. Going aboard the war-ships for Sunday dinners when Dad was working. We enjoyed trips to New Glasgow to see our Granddad Johnson for lobster dinners. What beautiful memories our Mother left for us to remember. She would pack us in the car and drive across the United States to Montréal, always stopping at Santa’s Village in New Hampshire to visit with her parents and our Italian family. So many good memories; sitting around the table, talking, eating, drinking, playing poker and shaving cream fights in our poor Grandmother’s kitchen- the adults did this not us kids! Everyone loved just being all together and having such fun. Our Sunday drives to Bedford to the Sunshine donut shop so Mom could get her long john. Looking back as a kid, I see what a true gem God gave us kids.
She let me bring home toads, mud puppies and tadpoles in a bowl, so we could watch their legs grow. Mom even cared for every injured creature we brought home. I am not sure how many snow boots Mom found buried in the snow banks for me. My brother Douglas also has a funny story. He played a prank on a neighbor who came looking for him and friends at the house. Mom yelled downstairs to him to see if he was home and he yelled up, ‘Yes, I am here Mom’. Mom protected us, loving us unconditionally.
When Dad retired from the Navy we moved to Orleans, Ontario to be near family. We lived there for the next 13 yrs. In that time they bought a trailer and put it at White Lake, Ont., as her son, family and friends also were there. We all have fond memories at the lake; playing ball, fishing and visiting family from Montreal. Granddad Johnson would often visit. When her father Louis died her Mother Ethel came to live with us for the next 18 yrs.
In 1983 they moved west to Peachland, B.C. Mom picked Peachland because she loved the name. They were very involved with the Senior Games, carpet bowling, and travelling throughout B.C. Both parents were also very involved with Legion Br. # 69 & then later Legion Br., # 11. They both were involved in the Anglican Church in Peachland. In 2000 I bought tickets for the Anne Murray concert, because Anne was so special to our family. What Mom didn’t know was that she was going to meet her after the show. She was awesome! The whole family sat and talked with her. Mom couldn’t believe that this was happening! It was a wonderful night.
Susan and I took them camping through B.C. and to Washington State. They had many visits from Mom’s brothers, grandchildren and their families and friends over the years. In 1999 they lost another daughter, Susan. This was a great loss to them both. As time went on and illness began to fall upon our parents, Ron and I decided it was time to start taking them to winter with us and their granddaughter Candice. We travelled to San Felipe Mexico, where we had bought a lot. They both really enjoyed being there. We took rides in the desert with our club; looked for wildlife and lizards, had ocean side picnics, clam raking for our dinner, and happy hour with friends at our Casa. We sat around the fire at night watching the moon come up. These times were so special.
They lived in Peachland for over 20 yrs, but as Dad got worse from cancer they moved here to Trail, B.C. At that time Mom got very ill. They told me she had 2 days to live. But Mom was a fighter, and went to live at Poplar Ridge. In 2005 her love George died from cancer. For the next 8 years she lived at Poplar Ridge. I took Mom out in her wheel chair on the handi-dart twice a week, pretty much snow rain or shine. We walked around town, visited local shops, and had lunch at many of the coffee shops in town. I tried to do things with her even though she was not living at home, like joining our local Red Hatters club. Mom so enjoyed dressing up and joining all the ladies, trips to the local pubs, going to the mall to get her hair done and meeting friends for coffee.
Every birthday she had we went all out for her. All her friends from Poplar Ridge would come out, and we would have celebrated at one of the restaurants or the Legion. There were bag pipes and belly dancers. What a party! We brought Elvis and belly dancers many times. They all loved it – big smiles on their faces. We are like a big family up there. Mom went by many names: Philly, Gran, Lady, Nana and Lady of Spain…but we called her Mom. Life will never be the same for Douglas and me and our hearts are broken, but Mom is in heaven with all of her family now and that gives us some comfort.
Missing Mom are; daughter Deborah Johnson Hodgins (Ronald), granddaughter Candice of Trail, BC, son Douglas Johnson (Shirley) of South Mountain, Ontario, grandchildren Bill Johnson, Sheila Levac (Alain), step-grandchildren Janice Stevens (Mark), Ed Hodgins (Shahla) of Ontario, great-grandchildren Ryan, Stephen, Matthew, Alex, Kyle and Emma, cousins Sherrie and Len of Kimberley BC, Diane and Betty DeCarlo, Beverly and Carol and numerous relatives in Montreal and Ontario. Mom is now reunited with her love George; two daughters Barbara and Susan; parents Louis (Luigi) and Ethel DeCarlo, her brothers Albert, Tommy, Guido and her cousin Babs.
Many thanks go out to Dr. E. Purssell for years of care to our family. Poplar Ridge nurses and LPN’s, for all the care and love you have shown to us over the years, Reverend Ken Siemens for prayers and being there for us when our Mother died. To Ron for all the years of going to see Mom and making sure she was ok; to Rickie and Heather for visits with Mom when I was away. To Frank for helping with Mom and Arjean, also to friends who came to the parties. Thanks also to all the staff at BC Transit- Mom’s drivers made it possible for me to take Mom out. Thanks to the Red Cross for the loan of her wheelchair, without that chair I couldn’t have taken her out. Thanks for the teamwork, love and support from you all. The family thanks each and every one of you.
Viewing is Thursday, Jan 12, at 7 PM and a funeral service for Mom is Friday, Jan., 13 at 2pm, at Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services™ (Carberry’s Chapel), 1298 Pine Ave,Trail.
As an expression of sympathy, donations may be sent to Poplar Ridge C/O Recreation Dept; 1200 Hospital Bench, Trail, BC, V1R 4M1. Thank you to Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Services™ for all of the arrangements.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence at the family’s online register at www.myalternatives.ca