It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our dear and loving mother Gertie on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at Tiffany Village Retirement Residence, St. John’s, NL - a mere 10 days short of her 95th birthday.
Mother was predeceased by her husband, the love of her life and our devoted father, Sidney Thistle; parents - Lloyd and Fanny (Rowsell) Mills; beloved daughter - Patricia (Ted) Barker; dear grandson - Danny Freeman; brothers - Stewart Mills and Clifford Mills; sister - Meredas Mills; son-in-law - Dennis Tenberg; and several other beloved extended family members, never forgotten.
Left to mourn with cherished memories are daughters- Pauline Tenberg, Betty Kean (Ed), Karen Thistle (David Moores), Mary Freeman (Geoff), Barbara Hedges (Peter), Diane Wurz (Joe), Margaret Clarke (David); son-in-law - Ted Barker, and sister-in-law - Marion Jackson (Lin). Also remembering her with love are her four sisters, Olive Short of Springdale, Ann Butt of Gander, Lillian Goudie and Emma Foster of Burlington; as well as 17 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild, all scattered between Vancouver Island and Norway; a large number of nieces, nephews and dear friends, especially her church companions at Cowan Heights United Church in St. John’s, and formerly Bethany United Church at Baie Verte. Mom loved us all and enjoyed keeping up with our various comings and goings on a daily basis, whether by phone, Facebook or video calls. Family was so important to Mom, and she made sure to remember every birthday with a card or a phone call. Sharp as a tack, Mom remained an engaging conversationalist to the end.
Our mother was born in Burlington, NL on June 6, 1925, to Lloyd and Fanny Mills and grew up in Mills’ Cove. One of 8 siblings, Mom had nothing but fond memories of her childhood in Burlington and her marriage to Sid. After having four girls in Burlington they moved to Baie Verte to help continue the family business. In Baie Verte Mom had two more girls before moving to Corner Brook for four years where the youngest two girls were born. Back to Baie Verte in 1963 with her brood, Mom became more involved in community activities. Over her lifetime she was a tireless volunteer, giving leadership as a Commissioner for her district in The Girl Guides of Canada, being active on the Board of the UCW both in Baie Verte and St. John’s, and numerous other charities. She enjoyed curling, gardening, crossword puzzles, and travel abroad, especially if there was family to visit.
Before she finished raising her 8 daughters to become strong women, our Mother was widowed at 49 - and became a businessperson overnight. With stamina and vigor, she carried on the family business for 10 years before winding it down and moving to St. John’s to be near her daughters and grandchildren there. A staunch proponent and defender of family, Mom was a mother to many. In Baie Verte while her girls were in school she would often find her house full of kids including the cousins from Burlington. Then in St. John’s she could be counted on to cheerfully take any opportunity to mind her grandchildren when asked. Aunt Gertie’s place became a home away from home for several nieces and nephews who came to St. John’s for schooling. She also embraced with fervor the beginnings of a new United Church in her adopted home of Cowan Heights. Meanwhile, to keep track of her expanding family she embraced the world wide web in the 1990s with the help of grandson Danny. Retirement also allowed her to develop her love of gardening to the fullest. And she continued to travel frequently to visit her family across the country. Mom had a zest for life to the end.
Moving to Tiffany Village at 88, Mom was able to expand her already busy social life to embrace the many activities such a residence had to offer - a new lease on life for the social creature that was our mother, who could find a connection with almost anybody. She was able to maintain a close family connection with her sister-in-law and husband, Marion and Lin Jackson, who also resided at Tiffany.
We wish to thank all the staff and the many friends who made Mom’s seven years at Tiffany Village active and enjoyable. Special appreciation goes to her good friend and Tiffany neighbour Nita McDonald, who was at Mom’s side to support her whenever needed, and to ever-attentive housekeeper Imelda.
Due to the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, the Public Health Advisory and associated restrictions, we regret to announce that there will be no Public Visitation or Funeral Service. While we can’t gather in the numbers we would like at this time, we thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers. As our dear Aunt Olive would say: “When one of us hurts we all hurt!” A Private Family Funeral Service was held at Foster Funeral Home, Baie Verte. Interment followed at Bethany United Church Cemetery, Baie Verte, NL.
We encourage extended family and friends to share condolences, memories and/or photos to Gertie's memorial wall, available on our website. All items will be documented and displayed in our personalized guestbook and presented to the Thistle family.
As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made in Gertie's memory to Cowan Heights United Church, 141 Frecker Dr, St. John's, NL A1E 4W1, or a charity of one’s choice.
Funeral Arrangements have been entrusted to Foster Funeral Home, 22 Main Street, Baie Verte, NL.
"A Source of Peace in the Midst of the Storm"