Marking the end of an era and the life of a remarkable and loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, mother-in-law and dear friend, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our family’s matriarch, Shirley Bernice Foley (nee Kennedy) on July 9, 2022.
Born in Toronto on September 9, 1928 to the late Lorne and Anna Kennedy, Shirley was a caring sister to brothers Marvin (Lorraine) and the late Ronnie (late Sylvia). As a teenager our mother discovered her passion for dance. While attending Western Tech High School she met and fell in love with her lifelong dance partner and soulmate George. Married in September 1950, together they raised five children, Rodney, Mark (Josie), Susan (Norm), Bryan (Sue) and Drew (Elisabeth), residing in their family home in Etobicoke on Lloyd Manor Rd. for over 50 years. They were also blessed with nine grandchildren: Lee, Emma (Geoff), Tory, Lisa, Ryan (Sarah), Jessica, Scott, Erica and Samantha, as well as two great grandsons Geordan and Emmett. Family was the central focus of Shirley’s life and she was instrumental in bringing us all together, often using her sense of humour to turn life’s simple moments into such fun and memorable occasions.
After losing her beloved George in 2002, Shirley continued to live in our family home where she warmly welcomed family, friends and neighbours. At this time she also welcomed rescue dog Abby into her life. Abby helped fill a void in Shirley’s heart after George’s passing and together they were inseparable, bringing each other so much joy and happiness for 16 years. Blessed with an abundance of compassion and generosity, our mother contributed to her community in so many ways over the decades. Shirley was a Candy Stripe Volunteer at Queensway Hospital, she delivered food for Meals on Wheels and she would often drive local cancer patients to their treatments. An avid tennis player throughout much of her life, Shirley received recognition for her many years of volunteering at the Canadian Open Tennis Tournament in Toronto. While tennis was a passion, Shirley’s favourite ‘sport' was ballroom dancing with George, eventually adding tap, line dancing and clogging to her repertoire. She loved driving herself and friends to dance classes and recitals in her dream car, a red PT Cruiser, right up until she was disabled by a stroke at age 90. Shirley moved to Allendale Long Term Care in Milton in 2019 and despite her physical limitations she endured with her head held high, determined to continue to look her best each and every day, never leaving her room without first having her hair coiffed, her earrings coordinated with her outfit and her lipstick applied. Shirley’s incredible strength and perseverance provided inspiration and hope to her family and fellow Allendale residents. We know she is now 'Dancing with the Stars' in heaven with her George. Our family would like to thank the dedicated nursing staff at Allendale, Maria Smorong and Mom’s personal caregiver Debbie McGilvray for their loving care and support throughout the final months of Shirley’s life.
Cremation has taken place with a private family internment at Park Lawn Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Turner and Porter, Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West, Toronto. A celebration of Shirley’s life is planned at a future date. Memorial donations in Shirley’s memory can be made to either the Neurofibromatosis Society of Ontario or the OVC (Ontario Veterinary College) Pet Trust.