Our beautiful mom, Mary Wetherill (nee Ritchie) passed away peacefully in hospital August 6, 2016, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Many more who were not there had sent their love during her short convalescence. She had lived a full life in keeping with her ideals of generosity and service to others.
Mom was born in Salmon Arm January 29th, 1930 to Arthur and Olive Ritchie. At the age of 19 she left the relative comfort of her life as the youngest daughter of one of Salmon Arm’s founding families to teach grades 1 – 8 in a remote area of the Peace River district. Over the years she taught multiple generations of children and remained a loved and admired member of the Groundbirch community.
In 1950 Mom married our dad, Walter Wetherill, and they loved and supported each other through pioneer farming while raising six kids. They farmed in both Salmon Arm and Groundbirch, and in 1963 moved back to the north. Mom worked full time as teacher through most of those years, while growing all our vegetables, preserving fruits from Salmon Arm, clearing land, raising livestock, and keeping house for all of us, all without life’s small luxuries, like running water. She was an active member of the Women’s Institute, and the Groundbirch Recreation Society. Following Dad’s death in 1976, she completed her Bachelor of Education Degree at UBC and continued to teach school, farm, and raise children in Groundbirch.
After retirement Mom moved back to the community of Salmon Arm which she loved. She spent her time caring for her friends, neighbours and family. When pain in her ankle made going for walks less enjoyable, she joined the local dragon boaters, never one to give in to life’s set backs or discomforts. She was active in the community as a member of the Salmon Arm Historical Society, an avid supporter of the NDP, and a member of the Retired Teachers Association. She was a true humanitarian, always willing to sacrifice to enhance the lives of others.
Mom is survived by her six children, Norman, Brian, Judy Deringer, Stanley, Alan and Eileen Wood, her 19 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Her unconditional love of family, her interest in preserving history and bettering the future for all, and her zest for life was inspiration to us all. We will miss her greatly and are consoled by the fact that she lived life to the fullest, fiercely independent to the end.
We will be having a memorial service and tea for Mom this coming Saturday, August 13, 2pm, at the Elks Hall, 3690 30th Street NE, Salmon Arm.
We will also have a tea at the Groundbirch hall sometime in late September. We will let you know more details as we finalize them.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Okanagan Historical Society, Salmon Arm Branch, c/o Rosemarie Wilson, 468 Tappen Valley Road, Tappen BC, V0E 2X3
Online condolences may be sent through Mary’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com