We regret to announce the passing of a remarkable lady, Edna Gale Duff (nee Fowler), in Toronto on March 29, 2019, one day short of her 96th birthday.
Edna was a small-town girl from New Liskeard, Ontario who would one day decide to see the big city when she was 80 years-old.
Born in 1923, the youngest of nine siblings, Edna served overseas with the Air Force during WWII, then as a returning veteran was able to study for four years at Western University in London. She returned home and married Tom Duff, also of New Liskeard, in1951.They raised two children, Janet and Michael, first in South Porcupine, then in North Bay, where Tom worked 32 years for Bell Telephone. Edna went back to Teachers College at age 42 then taught for 12 years before taking early retirement.
During those years Edna, who had discovered the joy of travel, took trips with Tom and friends to Europe, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Asia and finally, a cruise up the Amazon River.
Edna and Tom retired to Strathroy, Ontario where they lived happily for 20 years until Tom died in 2002.
After a year alone in Strathroy, Edna, at 80, moved to Toronto to be closer to Janet and to explore the city. She took an apartment in Christie Gardens, a graduated-care, non-profit seniors residence, and there made a new batch of friends. She rode buses to the end of the line, just to see where they went. She went to all the Toronto “Open Doors” events. She joined the Royal Ontario Museum and the Ontario Art Gallery and loved to take the subway downtown and have a cup of tea in the Gallery Cafe.
Edna always loved music. When Mike visited with a guitar from his home in Vancouver they would sit at her piano bench and sing daily until he went home again.
Finally a bad back, shaky balance, and failing memory ended her mobility and independence.
“I was good until 92,” she would say. “Now I might as well kick the bucket.” At 95 she finally took a room in the full care section of Christie Gardens saying, “I’ll only be here about 6 months.”
Edna died peacefully 2 1/2 months later of old age following a bout with influenza. During her illness Janet and Michael sat by her bedside daily and sang her out of this world.
Edna is predeceased by siblings Ellen, Elizabeth, Rachel, Anna, Caroline, Dulcie, James and Reginald. She is survived by daughter Janet Duff (Bob Logue), son Michael Duff (Jennifer Gray-Grant), grandchildren Larissa and Theo Duff-Grant, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday April 6, at Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West, Toronto, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. Her ashes will be returned to North Bay for interment next to Tom.