Nettie Beth McBride (née McKinley), aged 96, our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, passed into glory late in the morning on October 23, 2022, six weeks after her beloved husband of sixty-nine years, with her children by her side, in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
In her own words, Mom gave her heart to Jesus when she was very young. To those of us who knew and were loved by her, there is no doubt that this was true. She loved like few others. She was kind and utterly selfless, always putting others first and never seeking recognition. She now stands before Christ, relying not on her own deeds, but clothed in His righteousness. (Isaiah 61; Revelation 3, 7, and 19). How much more beautiful must she be now.
Nettie was born on August 21, 1926, in Port Arthur, Ontario, to John James Stanley “Stan” and Ellen Almira “Nellie” (née Peake), Salvation Army officers. She loved her parents very, very much. During her childhood and youth, she moved with them across western Canada. They lived in North Battleford, Flin Flon, Drumheller, Regina, Melfort, Vancouver, and, eventually, Winnipeg. Times were not easy during the depression, or when Mom’s father spent four years in Europe during the war. Mom learned by example how to trust in God to provide for his children.
Growing up in a minister’s home in rural western Canada during the depression provided all kinds of experiences that Mom liked to share, experiences that shaped the woman she became. Many stories involved times when her parents offered a meal and a place to rest to single men riding the rails in search of employment. Mom once recalled, as a young girl, getting up in the darkness of the early morning and stumbling upon something as she entered the kitchen. She turned on the light and found a man sleeping on a makeshift bed. She had tripped over the wooden leg that he removed before falling asleep.
In Winnipeg, Mom met her Gordie. He was more than four years her junior, but she saw potential. She coaxed him out of his shell and, for seven decades, stood alongside him as both his strongest supporter and his best friend and partner in life. Mom and Dad were married in Winnipeg in 1953. They settled in Fort Frances, their home together for 69 years. God blessed them with three children, eleven grandchildren, and sixteen great-grandchildren (and counting).
Mom had many gifts. She loved beauty and creating a warm and welcoming (and very tidy) home. She had a great appreciation for music and played hymns beautifully on the piano. And she was generous with kind words and knew how to make people feel appreciated and special.
Perhaps her greatest gift was that of service. Mom loved to wait on anyone who visited the house. Even into her nineties, as she and Dad continued to live independently, she always had iced cream or cookies to serve up to visitors, often before they could settle into a chair. If you happened to show up around lunch or supper, two portions cooking on the stove became three, and an extra place setting was quickly arranged at the table, without a word spoken. Mom’s selfless love set an example for the rest of us.
Mom loved life until the very end, even when her memory began to fail. When her sister, and then her husband, died in their early nineties, she remarked with total sincerity that they were “far too young” to leave this world.
Nettie was predeceased by her husband Gordie; her parents; her siblings John and Miriam “Mim” (and their spouses Joyce and Bill); her baby brother Raymond George; and her own miscarried baby. She is survived by her sons Doug (wife Solly; children Trish (Chris), Zack, and Kaili (Irvin)) and Don (wife Joan; children Rachel (Andrew), Dan, Dave (Molly), Ben (Rebecca), and John); her daughter Debbie Sklazeski (husband Jim; children Josh (Emmy), Justin (Jessica), Jenny (Evan)); her brother-in-law Jack (Marylin); and sister-in-law Irene Anderson (Charlie); her great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and a few remaining friends.
A public memorial service may be held in Fort Frances at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Fort Frances Salvation Army, P.O. Box 101, Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 3M5.
Mom’s passing leaves a hole in our hearts, but we are comforted that we will see her again one day. 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17.