Betty Irene (Cockburn) Neilson, who was born in Emo, Ont. on May 26, 1922, passed away July 10, 1998 at age 76 after a short illness with cancer.
In 1942, at the age of 19, showing her sense of adventure and love of travel, Betty left her home town of Fort Frances, Ont. to join the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women’s Division). Posted to Newfoundland, she made many lifelong friends.
After the war, she attended Queen’s University, studying Honours English.
In 1949, she married Kenneth Oscar Cockburn, an engineer with Sherritt Gordon Mines. They and their children, John, Jean, and Jim, lived together in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., where Betty was instrumental in the development of the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library.
After Ken’s death in 1978, she married Harry Neilson of Foster, New South Wales, living in Australia and travelling until Harry’s death in 1987.
She then moved to West Vancouver, B.C., where she made many friends in the Friends of the West Vancouver Memorial Library, and through her book club and other activities.
Betty was kind, loving, intelligent, tolerant, and well read. She loved her family, books, gardens, and music. The world is a better place because she was a part of it, and she will be much missed by her family and friends.
She is survived by son, John Cockburn, his wife, Moira McColl, and granddaughters, Katie and Kim, of Sherwood Park, Alta.; daughter, Jean Cockburn and her husband, Jack Mounce, of West Vancouver, B.C.; son, Jim Cockburn, his wife Shirley, and grandchildren, Laura, David, and Ross of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.; stepson, Peter Neilson and wife, Meg, of Sydney, Australia; and her brother, Tom Kiddle and his wife, Elaine, of Fort Frances, Ont.
“She gave me eyes, she gave me ears;
And humble care, and delicate fears;
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears;
And love, and thought, and joy.”
A memorial service was held at St. George’s Anglican Church in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. on Tuesday, July 21, 1998 at 2 p.m. Donations in Betty’s memory may be made to the Salvation Army.