In Celebration of
Isabel Catherine Irvine (nee Lewins)
June 29, 1938 -
September 12, 2018
IRVINE, Isabel Catherine (nee Lewins) was born June 29, 1938 and suddenly passed from this life on September 12, 2018. Isabel was a devoted and loving wife of 59 years to Stuart. Cherished Mother of Heather (Maurizio), Lisa (Christopher), Alison and Fraser. Treasured Grandmother (Nanny) of Chelsea (Drew), Adam (Tabitha), Michael and Cody. Beloved Great Grandmother (GiGi) of Marcus. Loving sister of Lorraine (John) Macdonald. Isabel was the matriarch of our family, her guidance and zest for life inspired us all!
Isabel grew up in North York and in her late teens the family moved to Scarborough. In 1957, while working at Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, she met the love of her life, Stuart. They were married on July 18, 1959. In 1963 they moved to a new home in Etobicoke where they continued to live until 2001. During those years they welcomed the births of Heather, Lisa, Alison and Fraser.
Isabel was a stay at home mother but had a tremendous sense of community. She was actively involved with the Home and School Association at Wellesworth Junior Public School, her church and was the President of the Golden Flyers Trailer Club. She created and organized three camping caravans, two to the USA and one to the Canadian East Coast. She planned the routes, booked campsites, organized excursions and created itineraries for many families.
In 1981, after selling their trailer, Stuart and Isabel purchased a condo in St. Pete's Beach, Florida and spent many a summer and winter vacationing in the sunny south. They also enjoyed trips to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, France, Scotland, twice to Barbados and two Caribbean Cruises.
Isabel was also a coordinator for the Out of the Cold Program at St. Matthews Anglican Church in Etobicoke. She spent many Sunday nights making soup, serving hot meals, providing warm beds and clean clothes to the homeless in Toronto. She also coordinated numerous funeral receptions for the parish by organizing, preparing food and providing refreshments for funeral attendees.
While her children were growing up she also enjoyed part-time sales jobs with SC Johnson and Nestlé's Canada.
In 1988 Isabel and Stuart welcomed two grandchildren, Chelsea and Adam, born 43 hours apart in two different downtown Toronto hospitals. The 90's were filled with both sorrow and joy! She experienced the loss of her father, Frank, in June 1990 and her mother, Dorothy, in December 1999, but in January and June of 1993 they joyfully welcomed the arrival of two more grandsons, Michael and Cody!
In 2001 they sold their home in Etobicoke and moved to a retirement community in Guelph. However in early 2002 Isabel was diagnosed with breast cancer and chose to have a full mastectomy of her right breast. After her breast cancer diagnosis she decided she needed to give back to Breast Cancer Research and so her Christmas Fruit Cake business was born. Using a 100 year old dark fruit cake recipe from Timothy Eaton’s downtown store and a light fruit cake recipe passed down to her from her mother she created, with Stuart’s help, over 200 cakes of different sizes every Christmas. Over the last 16 years she has donated thousands of dollars to Breast Cancer Research. In 2003 they decided to move into Streetsville to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Isabel embarked on a new career in 2006 as a Shuttle Driver at Avis Budget at Pearson International Airport. Over the last twelve years she has formed numerous friendships and thoroughly enjoyed working with a diverse group of retirees, while at the same time being promoted to a Lead Driver. She loved her job so much that she invited Stuart to join the company and they have worked together since 2007.
For eight years Isabel organized the Canadian Snowbirds Association Ontario Picnic held at Fort Desoto Park in Florida. However, in 2012, after 31 years of ownership they sold their Florida condo so they could embark on other travel adventures. They still managed to take their annual March trip to Florida and they continued to run the picnic until March 2017. It was during 2012 they also became more involved with St. Peter’s Erindale Church. Isabel was asked to take over the card ministry which she handled until her passing. Both Isabel and Stuart were also on the Annual Christmas Bazaar Committee and she handled the Silent Auction for two years.
July 2015 Isabel and Stuart were thrilled to witness their Granddaughter Chelsea’s wedding to Drew Carney at St. Peter’s. January 2016 they were overjoyed when their Grandson Adam and his wife Tabitha purchased their first home in Whitby. More excitement arrived in the fall of 2016 when their Grandson Cody was hired by RBC Insurance. In April 2017 their Grandson Michael informed them they were to become Great Grandparents and in July they welcomed their first Great Grandchild, Marcus. After his arrival she declared she would now be known as “GiGi” and she treasured her visits with Marcus.
April 2018 Isabel was once again faced with a breast cancer diagnosis and in June had her left breast removed because she was determined to beat cancer once again and she succeeded!
Isabel was a woman who loved life passionately. She loved her family, her pets, her church, her friends with compassion, with integrity, with pride and with respect!
Everyone would agree that this world was a better place with her in it and she has left such an incredible void in our lives!
Visitation to take place on Wednesday September 19, 2018 at St. Peter’s Erindale, 3041 Mississauga Road from 2 to 4:30 pm and 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Celebration of Life to take place on Thursday September 20, 2018 at St. Peter’s Erindale at 1 pm. Reception to follow.
Please help us to celebrate Isabel’s legacy by wearing bright and cheerful colours!
Donations can be made to St. Peter’s Erindale or the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Online condolences may be place at www.turnerporter.ca.