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WILLIS, Sylvia Emily (nee Pendleton)

May 9, 1932 – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
March 5, 2017 – Calgary, Alberta

Sylvia, loving and much loved by her family and many friends, has walked through the gate into the heavenly garden, and is now at peace joining Mel, Betty, Roscoe, and her Mom and Dad who have been patiently waiting for her.

Sylvia was a proud daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Sylvia is survived by her loving children, Lee Willis (Kim Foore), Ross (Colleen) Willis, and Penny (Marlee) Willis (Bill); grandchildren, Brice (Jamie) Willis, Kacey Foore, Blake Willis; great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Ethan and Everett Willis. She also leaves behind her sister, Helen (William) Cairns; sister-in-law, Jean Pendleton (nee MacLeod); brother-in-law, Ernie Spurgeon; sister-in-law, Doreen Willis (nee Nute) and many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

She was predeceased by her husband, Melvin Morris Willis; her sister, Betty Spurgeon (nee Pendleton); her brother, Roscoe Pendleton; her brother-in-law, Jack Willis and her special friends Mavis Mannon and Patricia Blakely.

Born in Charlottetown, PEI to Sylvanus Roscoe Pendleton and Erena Mary Anna Foster, Sylvia attended the Kensington School, Prince of Wales College and Prince Edward School of Nursing in Charlottetown, PEI. She was also a proud member of the Kensington Presbyterian Church. Sylvia excelled as a student and in her words “loved math and science”. After she graduated from the Prince Edward School of Nursing she cared for her terminally ill father until his passing. In 1954, Sylvia and her friend Isabelle Bowman (nee Mutch) travelled west by rail, across Canada to Calgary, Alberta to begin her professional nursing career at the General Hospital. In Calgary, Sylvia met Mel and they married in 1956. When their first son Lee was born in 1958, Sylvia retired from nursing to begin a new career as mother and homemaker, with Ross, then Marlee arriving over time.

In addition to homemaking and parenting, Sylvia was a Guide Leader, expert gardener, a member of the Lakeview United Church, and a supportive wife for Mel who had begun his own power transmission distribution company, Transmission Supplies Ltd in 1953.

In November 1979, with the early passing of her husband Mel, Sylvia bravely changed her career again, going back to school to learn how to run the family business. For over 30 years, Sylvia successfully managed the business, acting as company President and Accounting Manager. Sylvia retired in 2012, with the legacy of the family owned and operated business continuing with her children.

Family was always most important to Sylvia, however her interests and activities spanned beyond this as well. Sylvia was also an adventurous traveller, visiting many exotic places around the globe with friends and family. She loved nature and animals, especially birds and her beloved pets. Squawking magpies and vandalous squirrels however, did not receive the same amount of love when they visited her large, beautiful garden. When she wasn’t expertly tending her yard and garden, Sylvia particularly enjoyed family time, visiting, cooking or going out to eat “good food” especially if it was chocolate.

Sylvia was an absolutely amazing woman, who was wise and gentle enough to be a nurse, wife, mother and grandparent, but she also had the strength and grace to rise to the challenge of simultaneously becoming a widow, single parent and the President of Transmission Supplies Ltd. Sylvia guided others with her heart of gold, firm kindness and an unshakable rule of fairness. The communities of both Calgary and PEI were important to her and she was a champion of both. Employees and coworkers were like family to her and she was more than happy to return in kind, any support and loyalty given.

Sylvia cherished her friends and family. We certainly cherished her too and will forever treasure her memory. She will be greatly missed by her family and numerous friends.

The family extends many thanks, and heartfelt gratitude to Jaime Puchalski and her wonderful Qualicare Family Homecare nurses and caregivers who lovingly cared for Sylvia as if she was their own mother.

A Celebration of Sylvia’s amazing Life will be held at Lakeview United Church, 3023 – 63 Ave S.W., Calgary on Friday, April 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. We encourage attendees to wear any bright colours they choose. Sylvia considered all of her friends and family colorful gems within her great garden of life. Condolences may be forwarded through

Although the family appreciates the thoughtful generosity demonstrated by the number of floral tributes received, if friends so desire, any additional memorial tributes may be made directly to The Alzheimer Society of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Administrative Office, 10531 Kingsway Avenue, Edmonton AB T5H 4K1, (1-866) 950-5465,

In living memory of Sylvia Willis, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. David & Barbara Pendleton :

    So sorry to hear of Sylvia’s passing. We enjoyed meeting my cousin at PEI (can’t believe that was over 15 years ago?) and the rest of her family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through this difficult time.

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  2. Karen Blakely :

    Dear Willis Family,
    Your mom was a treasure to all who knew her. I have fond memories of Sylvia welcoming my sister into her family with loving kindness. My mom and Sylvia shared many conversations and heartfelt smiles as they sat together at family functions. Sylvia is dearly missed and I hope your many wonderful memories ease the pain of her passing. Bless you all.

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  3. Kim & Mark Spurgeon :

    My Aunt Sylvia was a wonderful Aunt. I will fondly remember all of our Christmas and New Years dinners growing up in Calgary with Aunt Sylvia and the Willis family. She was always kind and welcoming and made the day special. My Aunt will be sorely missed and I offer my condolences to my cousins and their families.

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  4. The Cairns Family :

    My dear sister has gone to her Eternal Home but will always be in our thoughts and memories.
    We share your loss and will miss her but time will heal. We are thinking of you (her Family) who gave her such good care and we extend deepest sympathy to you all. We love you and will keep you in our prayers.

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  5. Janet Guenther :

    Lee, Ross and Marlee.
    What a wonderful lady. I found your obituary most true . Sylvia was all the discriptions you asserted to her. We loved her. She lived her life well, never avoiding anything that popped up into her daily routine.
    She met life head on.
    My heart goes out to you for your loss. Hugs to you all.
    Love, Janet Cooke Guenther

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