June 16, 1928 ~ September 15, 2015
Mary passed away peacefully at the age of 87 at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 after a very short illness.
Mary was born in Michel BC on June 16, 1928 to Henderson and Rose Bath. After graduating from Michel High School she entered a nursing program at the Provincial Normal School in Victoria. After a year she transferred to the teaching program. Her teaching career began in a one-room schoolhouse in Newgate BC. She loved to tell stories of going down to the school on winter mornings to start a fire in the wood stove, and chipping ice from the frozen water bucket. Later, Mary accepted a job teaching in Fernie, boarding at the home of Albert and Lou Markland. It was while she was teaching there that she dated William James Eckersley, who was also born in Michel and was working at the time at Bennett & White Lumber Co. They married in 1953 in Fernie’s Christ Church Anglican. In 1954 Mary and Bill had their first child, Lorne. The small family moved to Calgary in 1956, where Rae Ann and Gae Aileen were born. Mary taught kindergarten for many years in Montgomery, the Calgary community where the family lived. She also worked in a clothing store before running a small used bookstore and post office. At home, Mary enjoyed cooking and playing the mother’s role to many of her children’s friends. Lorne, Rae Ann and Gae knew that if they had a friend in need, their mother would make sure they had a place to stay and feel welcomed. She and Bill square danced and loved to play card games with neighbours. They enjoyed dining at the Legion and traveling in the mini motorhome they bought in the 1970s. She also enjoyed sewing and crafts projects. Her temari balls were popular Christmas decorations and newborn babies of family and friends always received hand-knitted items to keep them warm. She was an avid reader, a gift she passed on to her children. Mary and Bill retired to Tie Lake BC in 1980 and later moved to an apartment in Fernie. Following Bill’s passing in 2004 she lived in Creston and then Fernie again before making her final move to Calgary in 2011. Nothing made her happier than to get visits from her children, grandchildren and, finally, great-grandchilren.
Mary was predeceased by Bill, her parents, brother Henry and granddaughter Shawna.
She is survived by her three children; Lorne (Angela) Eckersley of Creston, Rae Ann (John) Demmers of Calgary, and Gae (Alan) Simmonds, also of Calgary. She leaves behind five beloved grandchildren; Evan (Kate) Eckersley, Ryan (Lynita) Eckersley, Trina (Justin) Wickson, Corinna Demmers and Loni (Kanwar) Minhas, as well as seven treaured great-grandchildren; Shayden, Shiya and Shaliya Minhas, Quinn, Wilson and Isla Eckersley, and Colter Wickson. Mary is also survived by her older brother, Ron Bath of Fernie, and younger sister, Ada Serafini of Cut Knife SA.
She will be interred in Fernie at a family service.