July 14, 1911 ~ November 2, 2016
Clarice passed away peacefully on November 2, 2016 in Nanaimo at the remarkable age of 105.
Her life began in Luxemburg, Saskatchewan (SE. 88-44-10) on July 14, 1911, the first child of Elsie and Cyril Gilders. Her childhood was typical of the challenging prairie life in that era but music was treasured in her family and she grew to be a competent pianist.
Clarice was 20 when her father died and she took on responsibility for her mother and infant brother Jim. Teaching became her career path, perhaps more from necessity than choice. Her career began in Saskatchewan and then took her to British Columbia where she taught in various remote postings, always taking her mother and brother along. Eventually she took a job in Wynndel and was warmly welcomed by the Abbott family. This elegant schoolteacher was quite a catch and she and Lewis became a romantic couple. However, always the adventurer, Clarice gave up teaching and headed for Vancouver before the end of the war, first working in a munitions factory and then an employment office. She loved the city life. Eventually love prevailed and Clarice abandoned city glamour for the farm life when she returned to Wynndel and married Lewis in 1946. Wynndel was now home.
Farm work was foreign to Clarice but she tackled it with her typical determination. Lewis took a job at the mill in 1948 and Clarice worked tirelessly making their poultry farm a success while raising two children. They continued working the farm until 1962 when life became a little easier. Lewis died in 1984. In 1989 Clarice married Dave Ball and moved to Creston.
Clarice lived in and loved the Creston Valley for more than 55 years. Every day she appreciated her beautiful surroundings. She contributed to the church and community and loved her many friends and neighbours.
Nanaimo became Clarice’s final home in 2003. Still the adventurer, at 92 years old, she rode from Victoria to Nanaimo on the back of a Harley. Friends and strangers were amazed as she continued to walk miles every day until she was 98. She attributed her good health and longevity simply to drinking hot water and walking.
Clarice was remarkable; a classy woman with courage, determination and spirit who will be lovingly remembered by her children Mary (Ken) and Grant (Wendy); her brother Jim (Kay) and their sons; five grandchildren, five great-grand children and her special friend Vera (Dick) Staples.
A service to commemorate Clarice’s life will be held at a later date.