Gladys Florence Kerr

(nee Ward)

age 94, passed away on November 3, 2021 in Fort Frances.

Gladys will be deeply missed by her children Les (Christine), Susan(Nora) and David; her grandchildren Justin (Nilani), Ryan and great grandchild, Suriya. She will also be remembered by her sisters Margie Smeeth and Violet Lawrence; brothers Sid and Don Ward (Sybil); sister-in-law Millie and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mom was predeceased by husband Don; infant daughter, Nancy; brothers Al (Ollie), Stan, Bob (Elsie) and Les Ward; sister, Olive (Ike) Eisenhauer; in-laws Joan Ward, Bert Smeeth, Charlie Lawrence and Dad’s family: Lois Milette (Leonard), Olive Erickson (George) and Lloyd Chezik, Vi Dittaro (Henry), Hugh Kerr (Erba) and Ross Kerr (Kaye).

Mom was the fourth oldest of 10 children born to Florence and Sid Ward. She was a raven haired beauty, who played the Hawaiian guitar, high school basketball and tried to help her mother in the day-to-day operation of her big family. Mom cherished her family and was fiercely loyal to them.

Mom grew up as part of that “greatest generation” that endured the depression in the 1930s and World War II and then benefited from the post war boom. The most obvious benefit was falling in love with a handsome soldier boy …our dad, Don.

After marriage, Mom happily settled into her role as a homemaker and chief caregiver of her children through the 1950s and ‘60s. As times changed so did our family dynamic when mom went out to work. Some of you might remember her as the head cook in the high school cafeteria from 1966 to the mid-80s. Whistledogs anyone?

Mom and Dad always managed to provide us with summer vacations. When a cabin at Wasaw Lake was purchased, it became the centre of family activities every summer. Mom embraced everything the cabin had to offer from building campfires, jumping off the rock into the water with her children and fishing with Dad after he scouted out the best spots.

Retirement opened new doors for Mom and Dad. They developed a passion for golf that Mom pursued into her mid-80s. If only that passion had been equalled by her skill!

Golf reflected our mother’s desire to stay active and engaged. Mom was happiest when on the go and was discouraged by her decreasing mobility in her last years.

When she could… she would. Mom did it all: dancing, parties, exercising, singing in the Contata, volunteering at the La Verendrye hospital for 50 years, attending concerts and musical theatre and travelling. Mom was always “game” not just for cards or cribbage, but for adventure and doing things.

Mom and Dad enjoyed trips to Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean and spent 13 years as snowbirds in Florida. Along the way, they developed many friendships and created warm memories.

After Dad died in 2005, Mom continued traveling to spend time with her children and grandchildren. We all have fond memories of our experiences and conversations with Mom in our homes away from Fort Frances. If Mom had any regrets, it was that her children lived out of town and she could not just drop by for coffee.

Throughout her life, Mom was a committed member of the Knox United church where she sang in the choir for close to 70 years. Few have sung more songs of praise and thanksgiving. Mama sings Alto.

As Mom’s independence became limited and her mobility more difficult, being a lifetime reader and a news junkie helped fill her days. Despite those physical problems, mom loved making her way to the A & W or McDonalds for coffee with her family and close friends.

Mother truly had a long life well lived.

The family wishes to acknowledge and thank the staff and volunteers at LaVerendrye and Rainycrest for their kind assistance in these last few years. A special thanks to our cousin, Laureen Vandetti for her loving support and stepping in as Mom’s primary visitor when the pandemic stopped her children from travelling to Fort Frances.

Honorary pallbearers are Mom’s Fort Frances nephews: Rick Dittaro, Robert Ward, Don Smeeth, Jim Ward, Tom Ward, Darrin Ward, Glenn Ward and Greg Ward.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting the funeral website at www.northridgefuneralhome.com and if you are so inclined, donations to the Fort Frances Knox United church or a charity of your choice would be welcome in Gladys’ name.

A family funeral service will be held at the Fort Frances Knox United Church on November 23, 2021 with a graveside service to follow. Compliance with COVID vaccination protocols is required.