It is with sadness that the family of Laura Patricia Gilson (nee Steer), 78, of Ottawa, Ontario announces her passin away on March 19, 2020.
Born May 23, 1941 in Collingwood, Ontario, Laura, better known as Pat, grew up in Midland, Ontario as an only child of Garfield and Laura Steer. Known as 'Patsy' by family and friends during her younger and wilder years, she loved to sing and dance and had a passion for life.
Pat was a Registered Nurse, graduating from Orillia's Soldiers Memorial in 1963. After graduation, she lived and worked in Orillia as an operating room nurse. It was during this time that Pat met her husband and love of her life, Struchan Gilson, a teacher.
Shortly after their marriage on April 17th, 1965, Struchan took a job as a physical education consultant for the Rainy River School Board in 1967 in the small northern Ontario town of Fort Frances. This job was only to last for a few years.
During the 40 years they lived in Fort Frances, Pat worked at LaVerendrye Hospital as well as Rainy Crest Home for the Aged until health issues led to early retirement in 1996. Professionally, she was an active member of ONA (Ontario Nurses Association). Pat took great pride in her work; she provided compassionate care for all and made many friends throughout the years with colleagues and patients.
Pat and Struchan raised three children: Eric, Garfield and Rylee. They built a loving home in the west end of Fort Frances. While the mother of three children, many of her children's friends loved her as a 'second' mother.
Pat enjoyed rally car racing when she was younger and later spent many wonderful summers at the family cabin located on Crow Rock Inlet on Rainy Lake. Pat was renowned for making colourful theme cakes for her children's school events and was an avid sewer and knitter. In her 40's, she could often be seen 'bombing' around town on her little white scooter. She collected frogs, made quilts, dabbled in painting, woodworking and loved people watching.
After their retirement, Struchan and Pat loved to travel. If they were not visiting their children, they were trekking across the country in their RV or travelling to Alaska or Europe.
After celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in April 2005 with their entire family, tragically, Pat and Struchan lost their second child, Garfield, in July 2005. While grieving the unexpected loss of her son, Pat suffered a heart attack. She recovered only to suffer the devastating loss of her love, Struchan, who passed away unexpectedly on August 18, 2005.
It was after her husband's passing that Pat left Fort Frances to move to St. Albert, Alberta to be close to Eric and Rylee. Always a supportive and loving mother, in 2010, she moved to Ottawa to help her daughter and spent a couple of years helping to raise three of her grandchildren.
In 2013, Pat returned to her roots in Midland, Ontario where she reunited with childhood friends and family. Of particular note, her first cousin Sharon and friend Patti remained close friends and confidants throughout her life and gave her much comfort and support while living in Midland. Pat moved back to Ottawa, Ontario in the fall of 2018 after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
A beloved and cherished grandmother to Andrew, Melissa, Iain, Mackenzie, Kaelan and Ben and step-grandmother to Charlotte and Simon, Pat took special pride in all of their accomplishments and successes. Always willing to help and give advice along with colourful commentary, she often provided extended babysitting sessions, lent her car to one of the new drivers in the family, and was always concerned about everyone no matter where they were or what they were doing. Her grandchildren will miss her dearly.
Pat is survived by her children and spouses: Eric and his wife Jennifer (Sturgeon County, AB), Rylee and her husband Dan (Ottawa, ON) and by Garfield's wife Jane (Halifax). She is predeceased by her husband Struchan (2005); and her son Garfield (2005).
Her wishes were to be cremated and laid to rest with her husband in Fort Frances, Ontario. A celebration of life will take place in August. If friends so desire, in memoriam donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Online condolences may be made in care of www.greenfuneralhomefortfrances.com.