Cover photo for Pearleen Gilroy's Obituary
Pearleen Gilroy Profile Photo
1919 Pearleen 2016

Pearleen Gilroy

July 7, 1919 — November 13, 2016

Pearleen Mae Gilroy

(nee Smith)

Peacefully, on Sunday November 13, 2016, with family by her side, Pearleen Mae Gilroy (nee Smith) passed away at the age of 97.

Mom was born July 7, 1919 near Souris, MB to Mary (Minnie) nee Jamieson and Ernie Smith. She grew up in Souris, attending school there until she left home to train as a psychiatric nurse at the Manitoba School. She graduated in 1942 with the Gold Medal for general proficiency and the highest standing for third year. That same year she married our Dad, and together they had four children.

She is predeceased by her husband of 56 years Jack Gilroy, daughter-in-law Gail Gilroy, sons-in-law Randy Gibson and Bill Watson, all of her siblings: Cora (Bill) Cowieson, Allan (Christine) Smith, Harold (Alberta) Smith, Evelyn (Knowlson) McDermid, Joyce (Ralph) Riley, Shirley (Angus) Miller, as well as Sydney in infancy and Gerald as a toddler, brother-in-law Rex Gilroy, and sister-in-law Hazel Gilroy. She leaves to mourn her children Paul (Ann Marie), Dianna Watson, Ernie (Wendy), and Susan Gibson; grandchildren Linda (David) Watson-Bull, Laura Jackson, Pam (Cam) Gilroy-Rajotte, Cindy (Wade) Gilroy, Stephen (Kali) Gilroy, T. Shane (Ali) Gibson; step-grandchildren Katie, Sarah and Andrew Kish; great-grandchildren Cassandra (Brendan) Anderson, Jamieson (Oti) Watson, Morgan Jackson, Mackenzie Jackson, Hayley Price, Kayla Price, Ella Creces, and Winston Gilroy; and great-great-grandchildren Gavin, Leah, Brianna and Ozzie, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Mom worked at the Manitoba School, now known as the MDC, for most of her career, and she had many roles there before retiring from a social work position in 1984. Her training, education, and Irish work ethic allowed her to help support her family during some very difficult times. She worked hard but she also taught us not to take life too seriously. Though she was reluctant to leave work at age 65, she soon embraced retirement like she did everything—with full force and lots of enthusiasm! Her retirement gift to herself was an above ground swimming pool where she taught all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to swim (and their friends and cousins too)!

She absolutely loved to swim—first swimming in the Souris River, and as legend has it, diving off the old bridge as a youngster. When the waters at Delta were much deeper, Dad would also hold a canoe steady with the children inside as Mom dove off repeatedly.

She was proud of her Irish heritage and to be a descendent of United Empire Loyalists. She enjoyed researching her family tree and, though a well-seasoned traveler, a trip to Northern Ireland with her daughters was a highlight. Mom and Dad shared many interests, and some they shared simply because it was important to Dad. They bred and raced thoroughbred horses for many years, travelled throughout Canada and the US, and went to New Orleans every year for the best jazz around. She also enjoyed travelling with her sisters, whether it was a trip of a lifetime to Fiji or their annual get-together to “bless the grapes” in Ontario; any excuse really to share a visit and a laugh.  She was proud to be a loyal card carrying Liberal for many years. She kept busy and active, visiting her friends and family, sewing skating dresses and Halloween costumes for grandchildren and great-grandchildren, babysitting—even her great-grandchildren—as well as Tai Chi, swimming twice a week, and all the other activities at the Herman Prior Centre that she so enjoyed.

She was incredibly determined, independent and pragmatic because she had to be. Fortunately, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren knew her to be carefree and whimsical. She taught many a youngster how to swim, make a chocolate milkshake, bend rules, play, and use their imagination. She had a quick wit and wasn’t afraid to use it. She had a life well lived and leaves a family well loved.

The family extends our heartfelt thanks to the staff of the Lions Prairie Manor for the love, excellent care, and compassion they have shown our Mom for the past several years.

Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 2:00 pm at McKenzie United Church, led by Rev. Marg Scott. Interment will take place at Hillside Cemetery.

If friends so desire, donations may be made in Pearl’s memory to the Herman Prior Centre, 40 Royal Rd N, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 1V1.

A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel.  204-857-4021

Charitable donations may be made to:

The Herman Prior Centre
40 Royal Rd N, Portage la Prairie MB R1N 1V1

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Pearleen Gilroy, please visit our flower store.


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