Monday, April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024

BUSH, Dorothy Violet

February 24, 1930 – February 9, 2024

Dorothy passed away at the Lady Minto Hospital’s Extended Care Unit just before her 94th birthday. She was born in Kénogami, Quebec, to parents Edmund Helleur and Elizabeth Gibaut, both emigrants of Jersey, Channel Islands. The youngest of four children and the family’s surprise baby, she was known to all as “Daddy’s Dot”. With few children in Kénogami her own age, Dorothy spent much of her early years trailing after her older sisters Marjorie and Eileen and brother Donald. As a very adventurous child, she was always looking to see what was over the next hill, a personality trait that carried her well through her escapades with her daughters in Brownies and Guides, and frequent cross-country camping and horse-back riding adventures.

A graduate of The Montreal General Hospital School of Nursing in 1951, Dorothy returned to Kénogami to begin her career. While working there, she met her husband-to-be, Oakley Bush (a mining engineer), when he came to the hospital looking for covert information on a patient involved in a motorcycle accident with his own horse, Calabar. They were married in Jacksonville, Florida in November of 1953. 

Oakley brought Calabar into their marriage and while their family grew, so too did their menagerie. For most of their early married life, they lived on a small acreage in St. Bruno, Quebec, a village on Montreal’s South Shore. While her husband travelled for his sales position with Alcan Aluminum, Dorothy managed the home, four children, a large garden, three to four horses, dozens of chickens, ducks, turkeys, and the ever-present dogs and cats. When the children reached school age, Dorothy upgraded her nursing degree through Sir George Williams University’s night classes and returned to work as a school nurse. After the family moved to Alexandria, Ontario in 1976, she joined the staff of the Alexandria Community Nursing Home. 

When Oakley died in 2005, Dorothy’s travel adventures brought her to Salt Spring Island where her sister Marjorie had settled. The island’s trails, country lanes, hills and vales, beaches and seascapes provided the perfect soft place for Dot’s free spirit to ultimately settle.

Dorothy loved to sing and sing she did! She was an active member of the Mount Bruno United Church and later, of the Church-on-the-Hill in Alexandria. She played active roles in their UCWs and, of course, sang in their choirs. Dorothy found her place of community in Salt Spring Island United Church and its choir, and joined the senior choir, The Lost Chords, as well. She retired her music folders on her 90th birthday at a church tea in her honour but her Soprano voice continued to be heard throughout the halls of the ECU.

Dorothy is predeceased by her husband Oakley and eldest daughter Heather. She will be greatly missed by her children Holly (J. Tinie van Schoor, deceased), Wendy (Doug Brown) and Glenn (Caroline Calmes), and lovingly remembered by her grandchildren Colin van Schoor (Kailyn Burke), Nicole Calmes Bush and great-grandchildren Wyatt, Maya and Finn van Schoor.

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