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TOLLEY—Elizabeth Rose Marie (Bette) (nee Sowden)

August 26, 1921- February 1, 2011

With heartfelt sorrow, we announce the passing of our beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Bette) Tolley, at the age of 89 years.

Bette was born and raised in Vancouver, BC to Robert and Margaret Sowden, the only daughter in a family of five children. A tomboy at heart, Bette enjoyed playing baseball as a girl and continued to follow the sport as an adult. She worked as a secretary at the Vancouver Board of Trade before she married Ivan Tolley in 1946 and moved to Southern Alberta where they raised six daughters. The family lived in Monarch, Brant and Lethbridge before Bette moved to Calgary in 1981 to manage senior residences for the Calgary Metropolitan Foundation. She retired in 1986 and spent the last 20 years of her life enjoying her hobbies at Carroll Place in northwest Calgary. Bette liked to knit for her grandchildren and make a variety of crafts, including paper tole, which earned her many ribbons at the Calgary Stampede. Being from the west coast, she loved the water and often reminisced about boating and fishing on the ocean with her father and brothers. Bette was predeceased by her husband, Ivan Leroy Tolley, on January 2, 1986, and four brothers, Dick, George, Bob and Jim Sowden, all of BC. She is survived by six daughters, Bev Complak (Rick) of Calgary, Leanne Graham (Doug) of Vulcan, Nadine Callahan (Mickey) of Calgary, Donna Peirson (Don) of Sherwood Park, Marg Schlegl (Bob) of Ardrossan and Sandy Dawson (Steve) of Calgary, as well as nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She will be sadly missed but fondly remembered by her family. At Bette’s request, there will be no funeral, but a family memorial will take place at a later date. Condolences may be forwarded through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, in lieu of flowers, memorial tributes in Bette’s honour may be made directly to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, 15 Colonel Baker Place N.E., Calgary, AB T2E 4Z3 Telephone: (403) 261-7219 or to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, 2888 Shaganappi Trail N.W., Calgary, AB T3B 6A8, Telephone: (403) 955-8818.

In living memory of Elizabeth Tolley, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park, Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot Chapel, 82 CROWFOOT CIRCLE N.W. Telephone: (403) 241-0044.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Dear Tolley girls,
    I was sad to hear about your Mom. I know how it is and how you feel. What a blessing to have her for such a long time. Have no doubt – you will all be together again one day.
    I have lots of memories of her and right now I especially remember her laugh. When she laughed, everybody laughed.
    I will be in touch with Nadine. Please know that all of you will be in my prayers.

    Love always,
    Judi

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  2. Kevan Tolley and family :

    I was saddened to hear of Aunt Betty’s passing. I have many fond memories of her from my childhood. Her laugh was contagious and you knew when she was in the room. Please accept our condolences.

    Kevan Tolley

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  3. Uncle Ivan and Aunt Betty — remember them so well — I think Aunt Betty is the last of my uncle’s and aunt’s. I hope the live’s of their girls has been well.

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