After a long and full life, Dorothy Ellen (Thompson) Crealock passed away peacefully on August 26, 2022, after a short stay at Lion’s Prairie Manor in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. This was just a few weeks short of her 96th birthday.
She was predeceased by her husband, Stanley Arthur Earl Crealock (2000), her parents, Ellen (1978) and Lachlan Thompson (1965), her brothers Kenneth (1970), Alex (1964), and Donald (2001), as well as her son-in-law Mike Leslie (2022), brothers-in-law Noble Graham (1990) and Bob Moore (2011), all of Stan’s siblings and their spouses, and several nieces and nephews.
Dorothy leaves to cherish her memory, her son Don Crealock, her daughter Erin Crealock, her son Wes Crealock and his wife, Sarah McEwen, as well as her grandchildren, Brenwyn Leslie, Rhiannon Leslie, Duke Crealock, and Rory Crealock, and her sisters, Jean Moore and Lorna Graham, and her brother
Dave Thompson and his wife Doreen. Dorothy had many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews who will remember her fondly. Special thanks go out to Stan’s great-niece, Linda Green, whose conversation and company helped Dorothy to transition from home, to the hospital to the care home.
Dorothy Ellen Thompson was born on September 18, 1926, at Hartney, Manitoba. She was the eldest child of seven born to Ellen (Greig) and Lachlan Thompson. She started school in Hartney, but the family moved to the Cadurcis district near Basswood in 1934, where Dorothy continued in grade one at McBride School and went on to finish her early schooling. Her cousin, May Northam, was one of her classmates and also a best friend. While living on her parents’ farm, Dorothy attended church and Sunday School at Cadurcis. Every summer, there was a Sunday School picnic, and often there were ball games on summer evenings. Young People’s Club meetings were held regularly during the winters. Subsequently, Dorothy attended Basswood Consolidated School for grades ten and eleven. It was a mile-long walk to meet the school “van”, which was a car in summer and a horse-drawn covered sleigh in winter.
In 1945, Dorothy completed Grade twelve at Minnedosa Collegiate. That year, she boarded with Mary Pargenter and her two children, while Mary’s husband was away in the armed forces. Following a six-week “Short course for Permit Teachers” at United College, which is now the University of Winnipeg, Dorothy taught at Ingelow School south of Brookdale, Manitoba from 1945 to 1946. The following year, she attended Normal School in the Tuxedo area of Winnipeg. Originally this building was the Manitoba School for the Deaf, but it was taken over by the armed forces in 1939. It became the Manitoba Normal School in 1946. Upon her graduation from Normal School in 1947, Dorothy taught grades one to eight at Image Creek School until 1949 and then at Portage Creek School in the 1949-50 school year.
While teaching at Portage Creek, Dorothy met Stanley Arthur Earl Crealock at a benefit dance for a farm family who had lost property due to a fire. On October 21, 1950, Dorothy and Stan Crealock were married in Minnedosa and moved to Flin Flon, Manitoba. Stan worked underground with the repair crew there. In April of 1952, the family farm became Stan’s, so they sold their house in Flin
Flon and continued farming east of Bagot, Manitoba. Dorothy spent the following year teaching at Elsmith, the closest one-room school to Langerton Farm, which was homesteaded in 1886 by the Crealock family. It was at this farm that Dorothy and Stan raised their own family of three, comprised of Don, Erin, and Wes. Before Wes was born, Dorothy taught at Oakland School from 1964 to 1965.
Kindergarten classes were set to be offered for the first time in schools in Portage in the fall of 1969, so Dorothy took a summer course that year in Winnipeg to prepare her for another chapter of her teaching career. Her first Kindergarten classes were at North Ward School. The following school year, she moved to Victoria School and remained there to teach Kindergarten for the next twenty-one years. Dorothy taught two generations of some Victoria School Kindergarten students before she retired in June of 1991. In the spring of 1992, Dorothy and Stan’s sister, Marj Brown flew to Tokyo, Japan where they spent three action-packed weeks with her daughter, Erin, and son-in-law, Mike, sightseeing and experiencing a fascinating culture. This was Dorothy’s first ever airplane journey.
In the years that followed, she was involved in the Edwin UCW and for a longer time, the Portage Seniors’ Choir. In the spring of 1999, Stan’s health was the reason for a move to the city of Portage la Prairie. They lived for a time in an apartment in Number One Broadway, but Dorothy moved to Woodlands Walk after Stan passed away in January of 2000. There, Dorothy enjoyed her lake view suite and was frequently spotted walking the pathway along Crescent Lake or stopping to sit on a bench to reflect on nature and the wildlife that calls the lake home. In addition, Dorothy enjoyed the potluck gatherings with her Woodlands walk neighbours.
In 2002, Dorothy again boarded a flight, this time for Playa Del Carmen in Mexico to attend Wes and Sarah’s wedding. As the grandchildren began to arrive, Dorothy travelled to Edmonton, Calgary, Salt Spring Island, and Victoria. She spent more time at Langerton Farm again when the grandchildren came to visit. She shared stories, games, baking, and lessons about nature with these visitors through her unlimited patience and trademark practical wisdom. People of all ages enjoyed conversing with Dorothy and came away with nuggets of this practical wisdom to help them through life’s challenges.
Throughout her teaching years, and right to the end, Dorothy had a sharp mind that recalled the names, faces, and specific details about the students she taught over the years. She enjoyed following current events and politics, reading local histories, listening to old-time music, and doing complicated word puzzles. Mere word searches or basic crossword puzzles did not interest Dorothy.
Dorothy’s family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at the Portage General Hospital, her homecare team, and the staff at the Lion’s Prairie Manor who all clearly enjoyed Dorothy’s dry wit, clarity of mind, and keen sense of humour.
A celebration of Dorothy’s life will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2022 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel.
If so desired, a donation in Dorothy’s name to a charity of one’s choice may be made in lieu of flowers.
A tree will be planted and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com