In Memory of




Obituary for Miriam Emily MacDonald

Longtime resident of Britannia Beach and Squamish, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, as well as friend to many, Miriam Emily MacDonald (nee Turnbull) passed away in her sleep Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 in her 98th year. Born in North Vancouver and raised in Cumberland and Kamloops, Mom became a nurse in the waning days of World War Two and worked after graduation in her early twenties at Alert Bay and Stewart, BC. She remained close friends with many of her nursing school classmates throughout her life, attending frequent reunions and going on annual cross-country ski trips to Manning Park well into her seventies.

Married in 1947 Mom and Dad moved to Britannia Beach in 1954 and stayed until moving into their own place in Garibaldi Highlands in 1986. Arriving the only way possible - by boat - they called Britannia "The Beach" or just camp, living at first in an apartment building that was later torn down to make room for the new road. She was active in community life, helping as a Girl Guide leader, with the United Church Ladies' Aid and with the PTA.
In addition to raising a family of four and working full-time for many years thereafter, Mom spent her almost her entire life working with her hands, knitting countless wool sweaters and hats, weaving rugs and large needlepoint tapestries, sewing her own dresses, making gorgeous quilts and comforters, even teddy bears and Christmas decorations. In her retirement she sold many of her creations in stores in Whistler and Vancouver, and her works adorn the floors, walls, bedspreads and backs of family and friends near and far. She painted landscapes, portraits and still lifes, worked with pottery, made jewellery, worked with copper and loved wearing turquoise and jade. Constant home companions were a succession of Siamese cats she doted on, her favourite a snow-white Himalayan named Puff who lived nearly 20 years.

She was tirelessly dedicated to her family, driving every day for three months into Vancouver from Britannia in the waning days of her father, whom she adored and from whom she passed on to us stories and songs of his early days in late-19th-century New Zealand, the Boer War, the Yukon in the 1910s, and of Vancouver between the wars.
In the late 1990s as our father became increasingly affected by Parkinson's, Mom made sure he got the best of care at home, and later was his constant companion at Hilltop House.

Mom enjoyed more than 20 long, Prairie summers with Dad at the cottage they built on a lake near Dad's birthplace of Meota, Saskatchewan. She was independent and strong well into her nineties, and though she slowed down in later years, used to love her fast commute from Britannia to Lion's Gate hospital in a succession of canary-yellow MGBs, often saying the traffic police gave her a pass because they knew she could drive, and knew where she was going.

Survived by sons Bruce, Gordon and Ian, grandchildren Lisa, Kent, Melanie and Sophia, as well as five great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Pre-deceased by husband of 52 years TJ (Jim) MacDonald (2000) and so very missed daughter Penny (1967).

A memorial service will be held (where and at what date and time)