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With heavy hearts, we announce the peaceful passing of our dear mother, Afra McVicar (nee Byron) at Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney, on August 17, 2017. Born in Donkin, N.S. on Sept. 21, 1928, she was the daughter of Florindo and Columbina (Forlivesi) Byron.
At two years of age, Afra returned with her parents to their roots in Possagno and Modena, Italy for 5 years. Then coming back to Canada and settling in Sydney, she began her early education at Holy Angels School before attending Mount Saint Bernard School for Girls in Antigonish. She graduated from St. FX with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Art in 1949. In 1950, she worked for her father when he opened the Venetian Gardens, a popular venue for weddings, dances, and bingo in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, on the Esplanade. It was here that she met her husband, Arthur (Art/Brother) McVicar. Afra’s life was soon kept busy raising children and providing support for her husband throughout his education and later in his career as a pharmacist. She worked with Art to establish his first pharmacy in their Ashby neighborhood in 1958. Afra was also well known for her community work, holding positions on the executives of committees such as St. Rita’s Hospital Auxiliary,
St. Theresa’s CWL, and the local arts council, as well as teaching art in night classes for the Sydney Council Home and Schools Association. Over the years, Art and Afra also set out to see the world travelling together to many different countries.
Afra was an accomplished painter and sculptor. She has skillfully reproduced many paintings of the famous masters and has featured some of her art publicly in exhibitions at Cape Breton University.
Her art is also proudly displayed in her home as well as in the homes of her children. Afra’s sense of drama coupled with her humour always made being in her company both interesting and entertaining. Afra was always ready to use her quick wit to engage others in lively discussion or in the fun of competitive games. She frequently enjoyed playing Tarabish with friends, as well as other daily routines such as completing the newspaper crossword puzzle and watching the game show “Jeopardy”. She also looked forward to spending summer days at her bungalow in Ben Eoin with family and friends. Afra was a wonderful cook. Days in the kitchen were often spent making homemade pasta and tortellini with her children and grandchildren, so she has now passed her skills and these traditions down through generations.
Afra is survived by her one sister, Bianca MacDougall, and her children: Gordon (Carol Mason) Sydney, Bianca (Dr. David Blair), Truro,
Manzie (Shannon Sibley), Sydney, Brenda (John MacKinnon), Sydney and Byron (Mary Lynk), Ben Eoin. She was predeceased by her husband, Arthur; her brother, Guido, and parents, Florindo and Columbina Byron. She loved spending time with her grandchildren; Cherie McVicar; Jennifer (Gary Robar), Leslie and Byron Blair; Irene (Jason Murphy) and Coady McVicar; Brianna, Kara and Mary MacKinnon; Megan Butler and Bianca and Dean McVicar; and five great grandchildren, Lilah and Charlie Robar, Archie and Willa Murphy, and Greyson McVicar. She had a special and unique relationship with each of them, and they enjoyed the fun and dramatic stories and games their Nonna would tell and play with them over the years. Now, sadly, we must say her words “so long” to our beautiful, kind, and generous mother. We love you, Mom. Cremation has taken place. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of T.W Curry Parkview Chapel where visitation will take place on Sunday, August 20th from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Funeral services are to be held at St Theresa’s Church, Whitney Ave., Sydney, on Monday, August 21st at 11a.m. A gathering for family and friends will be held immediately following at St. Theresa’s Hall. Interment to be in Resurrection Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Wish Foundation or to a local animal shelter or rescue society of your choice. Online condolences may be sent by visiting www.twcurry.com.


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