September 27, 1930 – December 9, 2021
Forever in Our Hearts
Our beloved mother and grandmother Ilona Braiden, passed away peacefully at Echo Village on Thursday, December 9th, 2021.
Ilona was born in Ottawa, Ontario, on September 27, 1930, to Herbert and Alice Lawson. Ilona’s early childhood was spent on a rustic homestead in northern Alberta, then in Port Coquitlam, later moving with her family to Great Central Lake, where they lived in a floathouse. As a young adult Ilona worked at Woodwards store, the old West Coast General Hospital, and at Chatwin Motors where she was trained as a bookkeeper. In Port Alberni, Ilona met the love of her life, James Leslie Braiden, who was then a young RCMP Constable. Jim later applied to the RCAF, and when he moved to Winnipeg to begin his Air Cadet training, Ilona joined him there. Ilona and Jim were married in 1954, on the same day Jim graduated from his RCAF officer training in Winnipeg. Their postings were to 408 and 412 Squadrons in Ottawa, to Lyneham Air Base in England, and CFB Trenton in Ontario. Jim and Ilona had five children.
In 1966, Ilona’s world was forever altered by the tragic loss of Jim, in the crash of an RCAF Search and Rescue aircraft at the Hope Slide, BC. Ilona moved her young family from Belleville, Ontario to Port Alberni to raise her children with support from her family. Our childhood was enriched by the closeness of our extended family.
Upon re-entering the work force, Ilona enjoyed working for Dr. Harry Webster as his medical receptionist. Once retired, Ilona joined the Sunshine Club and the WCGH Women’s Auxiliary. For the next 25+ years, she served in many capacities in these organizations. Ilona was also active in the Canadian Mental Health Association and BC Schizophrenia Society, and was a founding board member of the New Horizon’s Clubhouse.
Mom looked forward to lunch dates with close friends and musical concerts were a favourite way to spend an afternoon or evening. She embraced holiday celebrations and was always present to rejoice in the many important milestones as they occurred in the lives of her family. In her quiet moments she was often writing letters, knitting and crocheting, keeping up on current events, watching City Council meetings and solving Sudoku puzzles. Mom treasured her home, where she resided for 53 years.
Mom was a remarkable woman who lived her life with grace and dignity. She was kind, generous and selfless, always taking care of others and asking little for herself. She was gentle yet strong, and we know she will be remembered for her beautiful blue eyes and glowing smile.
Mom was predeceased by her sister, Jean Mullaney.
Our Mom was tirelessly devoted to the caregiving of our younger brother, Grant, until his passing in 2008.
She is survived by her brother Bill (Paige) Lawson, extended family and dear friends.
Our Mom will be deeply missed and always remembered by her children and grandchildren: Lynn (Glen) Barton, their children Andrea (Angelus) and Kaleigh (Ben).
Val (Marco) Gaiga, their children Darin (Danielle) and Carla (Marshall), great grandchildren Oliver, Owen, Emma and Alana.
Donald Braiden, his children: James and Christine (Kalem), great grandchildren Kalem and Kadyn. Carol (Lorenzo) Fantillo, their children Franco, Marcello (Shayna), Dominic (Alyssa) and Anthony. Our family wishes to thank Dr. Arno Kitshoff for his exceptional care through the years. We are so very appreciative of the loving and thoughtful care given to our Mom by the staff at Echo Village, as well as the many kindnesses extended to our family.
A family celebration will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Echo Village, WCGH Auxiliary, BC Heart and Stroke Society, Alzheimer’s Society.Obituary-
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