Our mother Patricia Mae Chisholm (née Robertson) passed away the morning of April 13 2021 in the Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga Ontario, where she had been fighting an infection for almost eight weeks. She was in her 86th year.
Pat was born in Battle Creek Michigan, the daughter of Viletta Conant and George Robertson. She attended Battle Creek High School, and then graduated from the Leila Hospital School of Nursing on a scholarship. She came to Canada in 1961, and in later years would tell everyone how happy she was to be living in this wonderful country.
Our mom loved and fed every bird that flew (this was accompanied, naturally, by a deep and abiding hatred of squirrels). She was a talented gardener whose front garden, populated by roses, peonies, lilies, phlox, poppies, and annuals carefully selected by her daughter Valerie, attracted all kinds of admirers, including strangers who stopped by with cameras. She loved singing, playing the piano, and dancing to Bob Marley’s music. She enjoyed a good curry if it was spicy enough to make her nose run, and she was known for her wonderful lemon meringue pies.
She had a social justice heart, and worked serving the public as a nurse, then a family benefits caseworker, and finally in public housing. She had compassion for her clients and worried, for example, that young single mothers were being set up to fail when they were coaxed off benefits and into minimum wage jobs that could not sustain them and their children.
Our mom also loved to travel, spending winter weeks in Portugal’s Algarve with her husband Hughie; summers on their sailboat, The Chapter V, in the Thousand Islands; and in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia at Hughie’s family home at 19 Main Street. She danced at Carnival in Trinidad with her friend Pat, and fed the parrots in Australia, where she visited her daughter Liz. After Hughie’s death, she travelled with Val and Liz to New York City, with Liz to tour Italy and visit Saskatchewan, with her sister-in-law Ruth to France, Ireland and the Panama Canal, with Liz and her partner Dean to Mexico and to the BC coast, and to theatre festivals in Stratford and Niagara on the Lake. She made pilgrimages to exclusive plant nurseries with Val, always searching for something new plant to try, and she came every summer to Quebec to swim at Liz’s cottage in Lake Wintergreen. No flies on our mom! During COVID, and when permitted during the fall months, she spent Sundays in Valerie and Kevin’s backyard enjoying their shaded patio and BBQ with Val’s family.
Above all, our mom loved her family. She leaves bereaved her three children, Elizabeth (Dean), Valerie (Kevin) and Matthew; her step-daughters Lynn (Kenny) and Mies (Spike); her son-in-law Carlos; her grandchildren Aaron, Connor, Corinne (Gabriel), and Fregine (Hector); her brother Paul (Judy); her sister-in-law Ruth; and her beloved cats Max and Miss Rosie. She is predeceased by her brothers Howard and Doug; her mother Viletta; her husband of 33 years, Hugh; her step-son Michael; and her step-daughter Marlene (Carlos).
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the funeral service and interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of her favourite charities; The Heart and Stroke Foundation, Community Living Toronto, or the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).