Obituary of Marion Elizabeth Rose
On the evening of February 16th, 2021, our world lost Marion Elizabeth Rose. Born September 12th, 1941, she was a storyteller, a fashionista, an ice cream aficionado, and a Celtic music lover. She was a devoted daughter, a loving wife, a fiercely protective momma bear, and a ridiculously protective grand-momma bear and Lady. She was an adventurous and vivacious friend to many. Marion grew up on a beautiful cattle farm in Martintown, Ontario, with her dear brothers, Alex and Hughie. Her parents, Agnes (nee McLennan) and Archie Robertson, ingrained in their children an uncanny work ethic and taught them to be proud of honest effort at the end of a long day. Marion’s mother was known far and wide as a fantastic cook and baker – Marion was not. What her mother did pass down to Marion was a love of fashion and bold statement pieces. They loved planning shopping trips where they would wake before the sun, board the train in Cornwall and head to Montreal for the day. She loved those excursions with her mother. They would eat lunch in restaurants, walk along the cobble streets of Old Montreal, and return home with new coats for the season from Timothy Eaton’s or Ogilvy’s (now Holt Renfrew) and special outfits that would be proudly worn during service at St. Andrew’s United Church in Martintown. Marion’s favourite stories of growing up often included an Elvis concert in Ottawa that she attended with her best friend, Kathleen and her brother. She also cherished the drive-in movie nights, the sleepovers and the countless visits with her cousins, Sylvia, Ned, Anne, Sharon and Kenny. Soon after graduating from the University of Ottawa and starting her career, Marion fell in love and married Howard Rose. Being from Newfoundland, Howard introduced an energetic new world to Marion. She was always in awe of his creativity and his ability to “fix or build anything.” But most beloved were his sons — Jim, David and Howard Jr.— whom she adored, “the boys” forever stealing a part of her heart. Being hardworking, empathic and caring, it’s no wonder that Marion was drawn to nursing. Though she began her career at the Cornwall General Hospital, her true calling was serving the community and she went on to thrive as a public health nurse at the Eastern Ontario Health unit. Marion enjoyed working in the unit’s various clinics, developing different public health education programs; she especially enjoyed home visits where she got to do what she loved most – talk, tell stories and foster relationships. Being a perfectionist in all aspects of care carried over to other parts of her life. Often, her young daughters, Carolyn and Cindy (Cynthia), were recruited to volunteer in training sessions, just to make sure that Marion “still had it.” The girls were also often her practice audience for the various dances that she would choreograph or lip-sync to Salt-N-Pepa songs “to break the ice” before any of her sex education talks in schools. Marion loved to laugh, dress up in crazy costumes and tell jokes (usually inappropriate). In the 32 years she spent at the health unit, those experiences helped create some of her most treasured and fun-filled friendships. Above all else, being a mum to Carolyn and Cindy was the job that Marion loved most. She loved early morning snuggles, playing board games, reading stories before bed, and talking about her family’s history. If a cousin was twice- or even three times-removed and had a hard to pronounce Scottish name… well, those were her favourite stories to share. Like her parents, Marion believed in hard work and child labour, long before it was frowned upon. There was never a garden that couldn’t use a bit more weeding or a wheelbarrow that couldn’t be filled again with a few more stones. Like her mother, Marion also loved bringing her girls to Montreal to shop and spend the day with “just the girls.” She truly loved watching Carolyn and Cindy perform in dance recitals, in plays and in musicals, but she especially loved cheering them on from the sidelines during athletic competitions. During one memorable high school championship half-time show, Marion and her friend, Jeanette, dressed up as chickens to entertain the crowd with impromptu dance routines and free throws. There was nothing that Marion would not do to embarrass her children – and they loved her so much for it. Marion was also very proud to be Grandma Rose (also known as Momo) to Ella, Will, Emily, Cole and Parker. She kept photos of all her grandchildren close by at all times and was so proud of all their accomplishments. She also had a very special place in her heart for her step-grandchildren, Dave Jr., Jessica, Candace, Lindsey, Raquel, Chelsea and Kayla. Her only nieces, Kim and Heather, brought her much joy and support. And although Marion didn’t love her cats more than her children, grandchildren or nieces, all her “fur babies” were such sources of comfort to her. Yes, she would often mistakenly call Cindy “Smokie” or “Mouser,” but it wasn’t a competition for attention. Not really. After Marion was sadly widowed, she met a kindred spirit in Paul Scott, who soon became an important companion and partner to her. They enjoyed walking, movies, dinners with friends, road trips and visiting family. After her retirement, Marion and Paul moved to Milton to be closer to her daughters and grandchildren. Paul provided incredible care and love to Marion during these years. Marion did not put her stamp of approval on just anyone who came into her children’s lives, so those who made the cut truly claimed a part of her heart. Those sentiments were especially true of her children’s spouses whom she loved: Bill, Mark, Dawn, Mary and Patty. Knowing that her children had found beautiful partners to share their lives with meant the world to Marion. No story about Marion could be complete without words like “strength,” “resiliency” and “determination.” And when it came to Marion’s physical health, all of those qualities allowed her to persevere time and time again. Marion was a cancer survivor. She withstood not one, but two double- hip replacements. And she endured a 14-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease that slowly and ravenously ate away at her mobility. With the disease steadily progressing, Marion became a resident of Allendale Long Term Care Home in 2016. As a lifelong nurse and caregiver, she enjoyed offering her opinions and her advice on the quality of care that she received. There were moments when Marion believed that she was working there, and if a new care worker came to help her, she would sigh, “Oh no, I don’t have time to train another one.” One day she said to Carolyn: “I am so tired; I think I should retire.” She had many caregivers whom she adored, many who went above and beyond to ensure that she was well cared for and happy. But she missed her home, her cat and her freedom. It was not always easy, but she grew to appreciate her Allendale family. In the end, it was a Covid-19 outbreak on Marion’s floor, just days before her second vaccination that brings us to this point. By the time she tested positive, Marion’s body was not strong enough to battle the aggressive virus. By the grace of God and the unending support of the Allendale care staff, Carolyn, Cindy and Paul were allowed to be by Marion’s side in those final days. They stayed with Marion around the clock, in makeshift beds, ensuring that she was comfortable, not in pain and never alone. They shared favourite memories of her as a mom, as a friend and as a partner. Marion only opened her eyes a few times, but they were convinced she felt their presence and their love. There were lots of tears, of course, but also moments of laughter and, at all times, heartfelt gratitude that they were able to surround her with love until the very end. Finally, it is time for this sweet angel to rest. With Howard’s strong arms around her - and all Marion’s fur-babies happily at her feet - she will forever watch over us. We will strive to continue her legacy of strength, her generosity of service and the fierce way in which she loved and protected everyone in her life. Marion, Momma, Mommy, Auntie Marion, Momo, Grandma Rose, Lady - you will be forever missed and forever adored. Donations to either Canadian Frontline Healthcare workers (https://www.frontlinefund.ca/#donation-form) or Parkinson’s Research (www.parkinson.ca) would be a meaningful tribute. to Marion Elizabeth Rose’s memory.