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DOBSON, Wilma Flora (nee MCKEE )

July 25, 1920– September 2, 2011

Wilma Dobson passed away peacefully at the age of 91 on September 2, 2011 in her Calgary home surrounded by her immediate family.

Wilma is survived by her three children Rick (Leigh), Ginny (Dale Huntingford), and Nancy (Rob Close) along with her eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren who celebrate her long and happy life

Wilma was predeceased by her beloved husband Tommy Dobson in 2006 after 63 years of loving marriage. Wilma was born on a farm in Flamborough, Ontario on July 25, 1920. She grew up in the town of Dundas with her parents William and Sanforetta (Tudor) McKee and her sister Ina. Wilma began nurse training September 6, 1939 at Hamilton General Hospital and graduated as an RN at McMaster University in June of 1942.

On July 7th, 1943 she married her high school sweetheart Tommy Dobson who spent the war years in the Royal Canadian Navy while Wilma practiced nursing in Halifax to be near when Tommy returned to port. During Tommy’s long and successful career with the Royal Bank of Canada, Wilma established new homes for their growing family seven times in various Canadian cities from 1946 until 1966. Calgary became the favoured location so it was natural for Tommy and Wilma to return to Calgary for a pleasant retirement starting in 1978. Retirement brought the opportunity to spend time with a large group of steadfast friends – skiing, birding, hiking, gardening, golfing, dancing, travelling, volunteering in the community, organizing reunions with her nursing school colleagues, and generally celebrating life. The number of grandchildren increased over the years, providing an extra element of fun.

Wilma was a creative soul and loved to keep busy doing needlework in addition to the more everyday household tasks of handyman, cook, gardener, construction supervisor, and general improver of all her surroundings. Wilma valued knowledge and learning and encouraged her family growing up to “look it up” whether “it” was a definition, a spelling, a fact, or a date. Her sense of wonder and enthusiasm, especially about nature, were contagious whether she was marveling at the moon, watching a summer storm, seashore exploring or travelling the world.

Family and friends cherish special memories of a loving and guiding mother, a caring Nana, a generous and devoted friend, a bright and inquisitive woman who cared deeply about community issues and world events and most of all the well being of her family and friends.

May her compassion, generosity, creativity, love of family, sense of fun, and enthusiasm for learning live on in all of us, with great love and respect from Rick, Leigh, Thomas, Jen, Abiageal, Jacqueline, and William; Ginny, Dale, Nancy, Stasha, Thom, Kyra, and Colin; Nancy, Rob, Ellen, Heather, and Patrick.

The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to the staff of Focus on Caring for their support and loving care.

There will be a private family memorial service. The family will host a reception to celebrate Wilma’s life at the Ranchmen’s Club from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 6, 2011. Forward condolences through In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made to the Wilma F. Dobson Entrance Scholarship in Nursing by phone (403 220-5854) or by cheque made out to the University of Calgary (please indicate: “Wilma F. Dobson Entrance Scholarship in Nursing” in the memo line) c/o U of C Development Office, 2500 University

Dr NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4. Donations can also be made online at

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Condolence Messages

  1. The Curtis Family :

    We are thinking of you all since we heard the news of your mom/grandmother’s passing. She seemed like such a neat person and the memories you have shared about her create the image of a really beautiful individual. Love from all of us.

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  2. We are so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s easy to see that she was an extraordinary woman. Our love and prayers are with you all.

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  3. To all the Dobson family, it’s the end of an era but Wilma lived to a great age. I have happy memories of our birding trips plus our local Wednesday outings. Wilma was strong-minded but with a heart of gold and was always ready to help someone. Also, her family was important to her. I recently had an Aortic Valve replacement with complications including a minor stroke so wasn’t able to attend the reception but my thoughts are with you all. You’ve lost a great character.
    Morag Dornian

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  4. Marcia E. Lane :

    Dear Nancy,

    George and I send you and your family our sincerest sympathies on the loss of your mother. She seemed to be a wonderful woman who will be greatly missed by her family. No matter at what age a mother/grandmother/great grandmother dies there is always loss although I suspect that you will all have special memories that will keep her with you for years to come.

    Marcia and George

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  5. Erma and Jim Hofford :

    We send our sincerest sympathies on the loss of your mother/grandmother/sister. When an icon leaves this earth there is an empty space left behind. I am sure Wilma will be terribly missed, however, she is at peace now and is sharing eternity with Tommy. Warmest regards and God’s peace for the family.
    Erma and Jim

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  6. Rick, Ginny, and Nancy.
    My deep condolences to you and your families on the passing of your mother. Wilma and Tommy were like second parents to me (especially during my time spent working in Montreal) and I have wonderful memories of both of them. My thoughts are with you all.
    Warm regards, Nancy.

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  7. Marian & Ian Howard :

    To all the descendants of Wilma & Tom Dobson: Our sincerest sympathies were with you when we heard of Wilma’s death. I first met Tom when he was First Lieutenant of the commisioning of the H.M.C.S. Inch Arran in 1944 and I was appointed the navigator. Later, in Halifax we were joined by our wives. It was a friendship that lasted a lifetime. We know the loss must bring you grief but remember that they gave much to make Canada a better place. You can be proud of your heritage.
    Marian & Ian Howard

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