Our family is heartbroken to announce that Billie Kenyon went to sleep on Friday evening but didn’t wake up on Saturday morning. She was 78 years old.
Billie Clarvis was born on November 18, 1928, in Scunthorpe, England, to Charles and Laura, and became sister to Les and Margaret. Upon finishing school at the end of WWII Billie decided she could help people by becoming a nurse. Stationed at the hospital in Chorley, Lancashire, she went to a dance one night and met a young local undertaker named Frank Kenyon. The story goes, that when Frank walked into the hall and set eyes upon Billie he stated “I’m going to marry that girl”. And he did. A few years later and after the birth of Michael and Susan they immigrated to Canada in the hope of giving their family a better life. Along came their third child Neil, some very “unEnglish” winters and a better life indeed. With three small children she was unable to do the shiftwork nursing required, so Billie worked at Canada Safeway for fifteen years enabling her to both support her family and actively raise her kids. Billie’s desire to help people took her to work with the Office of the Public Trustee in Calgary, from where she retired at sixty-four. We think Billie found her true calling when she became a Grandma. Her first grandchild Nicola moved to Canada from England and a few years later Jeffrey, then Tracie and finally Drew arrived, and Billie became, easily and naturally, the best Grandma on the planet. In later years Billie kept busy by creating hundreds of knitted dolls and sweaters, envied by everyone. No matter who wanted one, whether she knew them or not, Billie spent her time, effort and love creating something for them. That was her nature, she was everyone’s Grandma. If you went to her home, you were instantly welcomed, loved and fed chocolate and you never left empty handed. We always wondered how someone five feet tall and ninety pounds could pack that much goodness into such a small space. Billie and Frank loved their holidays to Vegas and of course, back to England. By the time Frank passed away in 2000, they had been married for fifty-two years. Though Billie endured Alzheimer’s disease, the core and essence of the kindest, most generous, gentle and compassionate woman never altered. It didn’t matter if she remembered you or thought she had just met you, once someone showed her kindness, she would tell them they were wonderful or beautiful, beam that smile at them and either squeeze their hand or pull them down for a kiss on the cheek.
We are who we are because of Frank and Billie and are grateful every day that they were ours.
Mom will always be remembered by her children Michael, Susan and husband Terry, and Neil and wife Melinda. Our Little Grandma is already greatly missed by Nicola, Jeff, Tracie and Drew. Billie is survived by the Kenyons in Chorley (who meant the world to her); the Clarvis’; the Lingards; and friends whose lives she touched just by being Billie.
Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McInnis and Holloway’s Crowfoot Chapel (82 Crowfoot Circle N.W., Calgary) on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held at the same chapel on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. Should you desire, donations in Billie’s name may be made directly to the Alzheimer Society of Calgary, #201, 222 – 58 Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB T2H 2S3 Telephone: (403) 290-0110.
Arrangements in care of McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.Print This Obituary & Condolences