Walter Edward Aitkens
Passed on: January 29th, 2016
Wally died peacefully, after a short illness, in the palliative care unit of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, surrounded by his loving family.
He leaves his wife, (Mary) Cathy (Drover), daughter Kim Aitkens-Campbell of Hubley, son Blaine Aitkens (Joyce Rankin) of Westmount, and his grandchildren Cole Campbell, Soleil Campbell, Remy Aitkens, and Roxy Macdonald. He is also survived by his sister Erma (Glen Shaver) of Florida, and brother Percy (Vera Polley) of Riverview, N.B., son-in-law Bruce Campbell, sister-in-law Peggy Wilkie and brother-in-law Albert Clamp, as well as many nieces and nephews and their families, including a favourite nephew Ross Aitken.
He was predeceased by his parents, Alberta 'Bertie' (Clark) Aitkens and Ashley Aitkens, his sisters Cora, Vernie, Elza (Gillis), and Bertha (Clamp), and brothers Melville, Ivan and Norris.
Bertie and Ashley moved to Westmount from the Magdalen Islands when Ashley was hired to run the Westmount-Sydney ferry. Wally was born and grew up well-loved in Westmount, the second-youngest of their 10 children, in the time when Westmount was a separate and distinct community with a village store, and cows grazing in the fields behind the house.
Wally joined the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was 20, and was later stationed in Dayton, Ohio. Home on leave he met Mary Catherine Drover from Whitney Pier at the bus station and they corresponded, fell in love, and were married in St. Mark’s church. After Dayton, he was stationed to many RCAF bases --from Newfoundland to British Columbia and up to Alert in the High Arctic --including Ottawa (where Kim was born), and Whitehorse (where Blaine was born). He served overseas in Germany, at Lahr and Baden-Baden.
When Wally retired after 27 years they moved back home. With some hands-on help from his nephew and son, they built a house on the property they’d bought years before and Cathy opened a beauty salon in the lower half.
As it had been in every community they lived, the Westmount house was the centre of a wide circle of friends and family. Friday night was open house, and weekends were the time for lively music, friends, and good food. Wally and his siblings had inherited their mother’s musical talent, and when they got together, which was often, they played and sang with music-loving friends.
From the house over-looking Sydney Harbour, with the little wharf he and Blaine built, he went fishing and boating in summer, and snowmobiling and ice-boating in winter. He liked to read, especially about the history and wildlife of Cape Breton. He was proud of his grandchildren, and delighted in being part of their lives.
We think it fitting that he died on the Friday evening — just at the time he would have been pouring drinks for himself, Cathy, and drop-in friends, and then starting a tune. And that at the moment he died, during a snowstorm, the lights went out in Westmount. Visitation will take place Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at Sydney Memorial Chapel. Funeral service will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the chapel with Archdeacon Brenda Drake officiating.
Memorials may be made to St. Alban’s church, or the Palliative Care Unit at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
Words of comfort can be sent to the family at www.sydneymemorialchapel.ca or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.