July 4, 1929 – November 29, 2018
Peacefully passed away in Ottawa, Ontario with her beloved husband of 71 years, Gordon, by her side. Her daughters Lori Sparks (Wendell) - California, Colleen Leighton (Barry) - Ottawa, Cindy Rossiter (Gord) – Calgary, Traci Leighton (John Vanderlans) – Burlington, had been with her to say farewell. Also leaving behind are her treasured grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren: Erica Leighton (Dave Hickey) and Erin; Linda Sparks (Phil Simpkin) and Matthew; Cody Sparks; Glenn Leighton (Marie-Josee); and Natasha Vanderlans (Jeremy Taylor).
Born in Toronto where she lived all her life except the last 18 months, Mildred was predeceased by her parents, Carleton Davis Bell (b 1896) and Eveline Marguerite Gough (b 1898) who immigrated from Ireland in 1924, and by her two older siblings, Eveline Lillian Greenlaw and Carleton Davis Bell. The youngest of three children, Mildred always saw the positives in life around her and filled it with music (piano, singing, dancing), life long friendships, devotion to her daughters, and especially to the love of her life, Gordon William Neal. They married at ages 17 and 19 and their tenderness and love for one another was a role model for all whom they knew. Mildred ‘Mibs’ encouraged her daughters to be independent and get a good education so they could pursue their dreams, and even though that led to them living far afield she was always supportive. She gave up her early career as a Secretary to raise her children, and returned to work for Eaton’s for many years later on. A love of travel found them camping with their girls from one coast of Canada to the other and across the US; later in retirement travelling to New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and Europe. Also active for many decades in the Anglican Church Women’s group and numerous volunteer activities, developing many friendships at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Toronto. A family reunion in August 2018 has left many happy memories for her family, including of her bond with her ‘grand puppies and kitties’. Special memories of her Leighton in-laws who embraced her from the start, and cherished nieces and nephews include Jan Ellis (Ron), Joy Bennett, Jim Greenlaw (Ruth), Margot Devlin (Shaun), Helen McCurdy, Sandra Leighton-Lockyer, and Carol Leighton.
The family is grateful for the care of Dr. D. Hasimja (Ottawa General Hospital), and the staff at Elizabeth Bruyere. Private cremation at Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, Ottawa.
A service will follow in Toronto at Turner & Porter, 2357 Bloor Street West on December 29, 2018 at 11:00 am.
Donations to Parkinson Canada, Canadian Cancer Society or St. Paul’s Anglican Church (Runnymede), Toronto would be most welcome.