Born In: Grand Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
It is with great sadness, but gratefulness for many things that we, her family announce the passing of our loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Jean Elizabeth (Gilmour) Hines, Mira. Mom died as she wished, peacefully in her own bed, in our family home on the Mira with her loving family by her side.
Born in 1918 in Grand Falls, Newfoundland and growing up in Quebec City, Jean was the daughter of John Douglas and Elizabeth (Radmore) Gilmour. Jean lived almost 60 years in Mira, Cape Breton and had a strong sense of place for the island she considered the true home of her heart.
Well before her time and a pioneer in many things, Jean received her Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in 1939, one of only five women to do so that year. Following graduation she worked for Molson’s Brewery, then answered the call to duty in the Canadian war effort in the Second World War by joining the Canadian Women's Army Corp. She attained the rank of captain and proudly served in Ottawa, Winnipeg and Toronto. In 1948 she met the colourful Cape Bretoner who would be her husband. Jean and Bill married in 1949 in Montreal, and came “home” to build their life and their family.
With the exception of the few years her children were pre-schoolers, Jean pursued a professional career. She worked for a number of years as an accountant at Barrow Nichol & Company, then with Bill, established and ran WT Hines Limited for more than 25 years. In 1983, and just before Bill's unexpected death they purchased a ReMax Real Estate franchise and established ReMax Cape Breton. While it had never been the plan that Jean run the business herself, that is exactly what she did. After Bill's death and at the age of 65 she became a real estate broker and ran her company until she was 70. Jean didn't retire until she was 75, spending the last five years of her career as a sales associate at Dave Butts/Coldwell Bankers Reality.
A strong advocate for education, during her children's school years, Jean was an active member of the Home and School Association, holding executive positions locally and provincially. She was a long standing member and past president of the Cape Breton Real Estate Association and a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 12. A member of the United Baptist Church, Jean formerly served for many years on the finance committee. She was a passionate bridge player and a member of the Cape Breton Duplicate Bridge Club and the American Contract Bridge League, continuing to play until well after her 90th birthday. Although she never achieved the Life Master designation that had been her goal, she was truly delighted when the Cape Breton Duplicate Bridge Club honored her with a life membership in 2008.
Well and active until the age of 90, Mom's last few years were made difficult by the cruelty of Alzheimer's disease. But even as the disease robbed her of parts of herself, it did not steal the essence of who she was. She faced her challenges with courage and dignity, continuing to care for other people and worrying about those she loved. When speech mostly left her, the phrase that was her default, one she never lost and used frequently was “I love you”.
We cannot describe the gap her passing will leave in our lives. But we remain grateful for many things. Her long and wonderful life and all that she taught us that is her legacy. Mom's journey and that of our family's was made easier, by the caring and competence of her beloved caregivers, (her “girls”), Jeannine MacLean, Robin MacLean and Irene McNeil. Far beyond employees, they have been part of our family. Thank you for treating our mother like your mother.
We are also grateful to many others who supported Mom in her life and during her last few days, in enabling us to support her wishes to die peacefully and comfortably at home. Thank you to Dr. Robert Cohen and his staff, the staff at DVA and the staff Lawton’s Drugs. The support provided by the doctors and nurses of the Palliative Care unit of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and the Victorian Order of nurses far exceeded anything we could have ever hoped for. A special mention must be made of Lorne Pemberton, one of Mom's regular VON nurses, who's care for Mom over many years and at the end was nothing short of nursing at its finest, on every level.
Mom is survived by her son John (Deb) Kelowna, British Columbia and daughter Jane (Jim) Lewis, Mira with whom she resided. Five grandchildren: Michael (Crystal) Hines, Kelowna, Nicholas Hines, Kelowna and Katie (Graham) McCarger, Maple Ridge. Ian Lewis, Mira. Step-grand daughter Sara Burgess (Mike Hoft), Kelowna and two great granddaughters Isabella Hines (Michael and Crystal) and Lauren Hoft (Sara and Mike). A number of special nieces and nephews and extraordinary friends. Mom never quite got over losing her best friend and neighbour Freda MacLennan in 2010 and appreciated staying close to Freda’s children and grandchildren, Gary and Dar, Mira, Bev, Barrett and Olivia, Martin's Point and Joanne, Jamie, MacLean and Patrick, London, England.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Sydney Memorial Chapel. Visitation Friday, January 18th 2- 4, and 7-9 p.m. Funeral service Saturday January 19th at 11 a.m. United Baptist Church, Sydney.
Memorial donations to the Alzheimer’s Society, Palliative Care, VON or charity of choice.
Mom, the gap you leave is unfathomable, but how grateful we are to have had the kind of mother, grandmother and great grandmother it hurts so much to lose.