One of the bravest women who ever lived died on Friday, August 31, 2007 at the age of 87 years.
For three years, Vera May McLeish fought ovarian cancer and congestive heart failure, trying to keep well for her husband, Neil. They had been married for sixty-two years and she was the joy of his life.
Vera was born on a grain farm near Cromer, Manitoba, on October 4th, 1919 and her heart was never far from there. She had a very happy childhood with her parents, Bella and George Schmelz, five sisters, and two brothers – Myrtle, Harvey, Rose, Gordon, Grace, Rene, and Lillian. Her brother, Gordon, and her sister, Lillian, are still living in Reston and it was one of her joys to go home to see them and all of her other relatives in Manitoba. Vera met Neil in Oak Lake, Manitoba, where she went to board with her sister while going to high school. Neil loves to tell the story of seeing her outside of the General Store. His friend asked him if he knew who the new girl was and if he had met her yet. Neil answered: “I haven’t met her but I know that she is Myrtle’s sister and I’m going to marry her someday.”
Neil went overseas for five years during World War II and Vera trained as a nurse and a secretary while he was away. Of course, they did marry when he came home and they lived a happy life together. Vera loved her life as an Air Force wife and moved all over Canada and England with her husband during his career. She often told of living in isolation on a radar base named Holberg on the Northern tip of Vancouver Island where cougars and black bears were frequent visitors to their yard. She said the two happiest days of her young life were when her children, Dennis and Wendy, were born. After Neil’s retirement from the R.C.A.F. in 1964, they settled in Calgary and Vera went to work as a secretary for the Calgary Public School Board. In 1976, she retired to take care of her son, Dennis, who was dying from leukemia. That was the hardest thing that she ever had to do and she did it bravely and beautifully. Dennis died peacefully because of her.
Vera’s granddaughters, Jennifer and Sarah, were absolutely precious to her. They brought her great happiness and she took to the role of Grandmother with love. Jen and Sarah are missing their Grandma terribly.
Her husband, Neil, her daughter, Wendy, and her son-in-law, Darrel, also survive Vera and are all so sad about her death. We thank all of the many, many friends and relatives who have faithfully visited over the years and made Vera’s life full and fun.
Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Friday, September 7, 2007 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Funeral Services will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S, Park Memorial Chapel (5008 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 2:30 p.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Inn from the Cold Society where Vera proudly worked through Living Spirit United Church, 629 – 49th Avenue S.W. Calgary, AB T2S 1G6, Telephone: (403) 263-8384, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In living memory of Vera McLeish, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200.Print This Obituary & Condolences