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Mary Read

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Mary Ella Read

May 29, 1939 - May 26, 2012


It is with deepest sorrow we announce the passing of a remarkable spirit, whose relish for life and graciousness inspired all who knew her. Mary Ella died peacefully at her home at Cherry Point Fold after a long and determined battle with cancer, fought with the same calm tenaciousness that marked her life.
Born in Bermuda, Mary Ella attended Warwick Academy and traveled to Montreal for business school where she enchanted a spirited young geologist from Nova Scotia, Wayland Read. She loved his curly hair. He promised to take her canoeing.
The two were married in Bermuda in 1958 beginning a loving journey of 53 years. Their grand adventures began in a VW Beetle from Bear River, N.S. to Wayland’s work in mining camps in Elliot Lake, Ont. and the Yukon. In a tundra house at the end of a hopelessly muddy summer road, close to the Arctic Circle Mary Ella immersed herself in the lonely but joy-filled task of nurturing two toddlers.
They’d earned a spell of luxury when they moved to West Van’s Sentinel Hill in 1964, Mary Ella carefree; driving her Mercedes with top down, wind in her hair. In 1972 she determined the family should do “Europe on $5 a Day”, and the four set off; traveling light they tramped through every museum and castle from Land’s End to Pompeii for two months, a trip that would instill a fearless love of travel in them all. Trips to China, India, Africa, Mexico and Around the World followed.
A chance finding of waterfront acreage on Vancouver Island became first their summer retreat, then their home and lifelong project in 1973. Together they created an Eden, full with the bounty of fruits and vegetables and flowers. “I never married a farmer!” she complained when Wayland invested in Highland cattle, pigs and chickens, but this too she took on with ease and grace, gumboots her new wardrobe, chickens clucking along behind her in the garden plot.
A visit to Mary Ella’s was a magical adventure for young and old alike; it was a place of warm welcome and loaded down farewells. Children were praised, encouraged to lift every rock, search every tidal pool, name every bird and thrill at the warmth of a freshly laid egg. Pockets were meant for treasures to later be turned into crafts.
Mary Ella’s business training was put to good use as Court Reporter for Magistrates’ Court in Elliot Lake, secretary for the Cowichan District Teachers’ Association and for many years as secretary for the family business. Her love of learning drove her to achieve a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors from UVIC in 1990, majoring in Creative Writing, a gift that made the tales of her life vibrant with images shared in poetry, stories and letters.
Mary Ella treated life as a grand celebration that all who knew her were blessed to attend. Silver, candlesticks and flowers, made every shared meal divine whether in the dining room or at the picnic table on the beach. She thrilled to kayaking by moonlight, daily beachcombing, playing duplicate bridge, sighting winter wrens at her feeder, spring’s first frogsong and every newborn’s cry.
In May 2011 on Quadra Island Wayland finally took her canoeing.
She will be eternally missed by husband Wayland, daughter Jennifer (Phil) Butterworth of Crofton, son Steven (Andrea) Read of Richmond, sister Rose (Jim) Whitaker of Squamish, brother Matthew Morgado of Victoria, grandsons David, Michael and Christopher Butterworth, Jeremy, Brock and Brian Read, Aunt Senhorina Morgado of Vancouver and numerous nieces, nephews and myriad devoted friends and members of St. John’s Anglican Church where her contribution was constant.
Funeral services to be held on Saturday June 9th at St. John’s Anglican Church, 3295 Cobble Hill Road, Cobble Hill, B.C., Canada at 3:00 pm.; reception immediately following in the Church Hall.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society or the Cowichan District Hospital would be greatly appreciated.


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From: H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

From: George and Lynn Vooro
Relation: Friend

Mary Ella, a simply elegant lady, a beautiful woman—in body and in mind. Of the many roles Mary Ella had in life, her joy in her husband and family were the leading part. Our deepest sympathies to Wayland in the loss of his best friend and wife, to her children, grandchildren and to her extended family. We count ourselves as two of the lucky people among those she called “friend”. We admired her courage to meet each challenge head on, in particular this final one. We will miss her smile and her unwavering friendship. We mourn her passing but we celebrate her life. Beyond the world as we know it, there is a field of stars where we will all meet again and never have to say “good-bye”. Safe journey, dear
friend. George, Lynn and the Vooro Family

From: Bill and Huguette Petruk
Relation: Friend since 1957

We were saddened in December 2010 to learn that our best friend, Mary-Ella, was stricken with cancer, a relapse from years ago. It was hoped that she would beat it, as she was such a powerful person with a great will. Regrettably, even she could not do it. We were immensely saddened by her passing on May 26 and will miss her always. It is hard to imagine that we shall never see her again.

I remember the evening that Mary-Ella came into Wayland’s life, as he and I were roommates at McGill University that year. He was so enamored with this beautiful girl that he would not stop talking about her. We consider ourselves honoured to be Wayland’s and Mary-Ella’s friends, as both families strove to meet whenever possible. Consequently, we frequently visited them and were welcomed and graciously hosted in their beautiful home at Cherry Point Fold, including last summer when Mary-Ella was a special hostess even though she had just completed a session of chemotherapy. She was indeed a great lady with a special spirit. To know her was a gift which we shall always cherish.

Our deepest condolences to Wayland, Jennifer, Stephen and their families, as well as Mary-Ella’s extended family.

Bill and Huguette Petruk

From: Vera & Irma Krzykowski
Relation: friend

We were shocked & saddened to read about Mary’s passing. Our sincere sorrow & condolences to Wayland, Jennifer, Steve & families. Mary was such a generous, loving and gracious lady. We know her passing will leave a large void in your family & family was always the most important thing to her. You are all in our thoughts & prayers.
Vera & Irmgard Krzykowski & family

From: tannis walters
Relation: duplicate bridge & socially

So very saddened to learn of Mary Ella’s passing. She was a very superior person who I remember with great fondness.

The very beautifully written obituary described perfectly a wonderful lunch at Cherry Point Fold some years ago now….interesting, fun, delicious & comfortable…low-key but well-remembered after so many years.

Dave & I send our condolences to Wayland and the family. You will miss her enormously.

From: Neville and Tricia Tate
Relation: Church Friends

Wayland and family, We are saddened by the passing of Mary Ella
and are thoughs and prayers go out to you at this time of sorrow.
Neville and tricia

From: Helen & Denis Lainchbury
Relation: Met her at our Seniors Club

Mary Ella was a member of Young Seniors Action Group at Shawnigan Lakeand she was in our ladies walking group. We had good walks and talks with her. She was a very lovely person to be with. We send our condolences.

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