In the early hours of May 17 Beatrice Catherine Whitaker (Gill) passed away in the Pleasant Valley Manor of Armstrong.
Born on March 31, 1923 in Cabri Saskatchewan she was witness to nearly a century of change in our world. Leaving Saskatchewan in 1935 her family settled in the Grandview Flats area near Armstrong B.C. and began an orchard.
She survived the Scarlet fever which took two of her sisters, including her twin Violet, the next year. She was the third one in her family to join the military when Europe went to war. She took her training in Edmonton and was sent to London, England to serve. Despite being the youngest in her Regiment she was placed in charge of 500 women serving there.
Returning from the war after discharge in 1946 she trained in Business at Vancouver College. She then worked at Bluemner’s Drug store, Smith Sawmill and Matt Hassen insurance. After marriage she did bookkeeping and was the Head milker at her brother Jim’s dairy. She also kept flow records of Fortune creek, the cities water supply.
She loved Sports and was a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan (until she reluctantly began cheering for the Canucks, but only after Lanny MacDonald retired from Calgary.) She embraced Rider Pride before there was such a thing despite liking the Lions. She played Ball for the Armstrong Woman’s club and Badminton, the latter being where she met Foster Whitaker, her eventual husband.
Together they had three children Maureen (Jack Bridge) Valerie (Glen Johnstone) and Charles (Colleen McAnally.)
Bea was a Girl Guides leader, earning her “All Round Cord” along with her daughter Maureen. She began serving meals for the Anglican Church in 1937 and eventually spent years as Head Cook buried in the bowels of the basement of Hassen Hall, where a wood fire stove was lite at six in the morning and was only allowed to go out after the last evening meal was done.
She was a member of several organizations and clubs such as The Business and Professional Club, The Women’s Institute, where she served as Treasurer, The Knob Hill Card Party, the Old-time dancing club and she did Canvassing for both the Red Cross and the Cancer Society.
For hobbies Bea liked to knit and always had a project on the go, even when the Leaf’s played. She would sew and read in the evenings and sometimes could be heard muttering over her latest jigsaw puzzle. She played cards and was better than she let on, especially when young children were playing. When she did get caught with a “mitt full” of points her favorite expression “Yer Guffing?” could be heard, even when she knew full well somebody was about to go out.
She is predeceased by her sisters Violet, Jessie, Pat and Muriel, Her brothers Eric, Jim, Tom and Garth, Her Father and Mother, Her husband Foster and her Granddaughter Ariell. She is survived by two daughters Maureen (Jack Bridge,) Valerie (Glen Johnstone,) Her son Charles (Colleen McAnally,) four brothers Ken, Alan, Don and Lorne, two sisters Rosalie and Elizabeth, seven of her Grandchildren and twelve of her Great Grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life will have to wait for Covid to pass so the Family has requested no flowers. Any donations in Beatrice’s honor can be made to the Armstrong Legion or the Charity of your choice.
Bea’s family would like to take this moment to thank the Staff at Pleasant Valley Manor for the kind and generous care they gave to her. Being separated from her family this last year was hard on her. In our place you became the family that could see her when we could not. For that we thank you.
Val, we were so sorry to hear of your Moms passing, It"s so hard to lose a loved one at any age I know that you and all the family have so many wonderful memories of the times you shared together, Sending much sympathy and big hugs,Look after yourselves and stay healthy, Iris and George.