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Gladys Marie CoatesJanuary 16, 1913 ~ January 10, 2018 (age 104)
Gladys Marie Coates
* Notice of Service - A graveside service for Gladys Coates will be held on Saturday, August 25th, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at the Oakville Cemetery. A time of fellowship and lunch to follow at Omega Funeral Home.
Peacefully with her family by her side, Gladys Marie Coates (Valley) passed away on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 at the Portage & District General Hospital at the age of 104 years. Gladys was 6 days short of her 105th Birthday.
Gladys was predeceased by her father Edward in 1975, her bother Babe in 1977, her mother Maude in 1983, her husband Orville in 1986, grandson Jamie in 2003, her oldest son Brian in 2009 and her oldest daughter Marlene in 2016.
Mom will be forever missed, loved and remembered by her daughter Cindy (Robert), her grandchildren; Jackson, Jakota and Ryen; her son Bob (Sheila) and grandson Gregory, her daughter-in-law Karen and grandsons Jeffrey and Todd, her granddaughter Kelly (Layne) and great grandchildren Jacey, Kieran, Kennedy and Aiden. Along with Leonard and Judy Essay and their families.
Gladys Marie Valley was born on January 16th, 1913 and raised on a farm southwest of Oak Lake Beach Resort area. Her parents Maude (nee Houde) and Edmond Valley immigrated from the USA in 1912, to their homestead in southern MB. Their oldest son, August “Babe”, was born in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota in 1909. Gladys’ youngest sister Vivian Joy was born in Beresford, MB in 1922 which created this wonderful, adventurous and hardworking family.
Gladys saw a lot of change over her 104 years. From the Wright Brothers and the dawn of aviation to the jet era and beyond. From the horse and buggy to the Ford Model A, from the steam train era to the diesel. Enduring the collapse of wheat prices and high employment during the Great Depression and witnessing the men riding the rails in search of employment, with some even stopping in at the farm looking for work. The onset of The Women’s Suffrage Movement, just to name a few.
Gladys endured many hard years on the homestead farm and years later on our family farm in Newton Siding, MB, but it only made her stronger and more determined to live almost 105 years. She got her green thumb from her Mother, as a garden produced the bulk of their food. Her Dad farmed, trapped and guided American hunters. She said he was an excellent shot.
Growing up Mom spent most summers at Oak Lake Beach swimming and enjoying the sun she loved so much. She never owned a bicycle but just ran behind the other kids that did.
Our dad was transferred from the Bank of Montreal in Oakville to the Oak Lake branch. While working in Oak Lake he met Gladys Valley and in 1936 they were married. After a honeymoon in Winnipeg they returned to the Newton Siding / Salem District where they farmed for the next 48 years.
Mom was a very kind, caring, hardworking mother. As the wife of a farmer there was no shortage of work. During harvest time she cooked for a threshing gang of 14 men. Canning was another labor intensive job she enjoyed.
Besides keeping up with her own daily chores and raising her own children, Mom and Dad chose to adopt two children and in addition, fostered 26 other precious little souls over the years. There was a lot of laughter in that little farmhouse on the correction line.
Early on there were milk cows, chickens and a couple of good work horses (King and Queen) for pulling the stone boat. Over the years, three loyal yard dogs lived out their lives; Sport, Scamp and Patsy always let you know when you had company. Countless barn cats as well. Later, after the livestock were gone, a tennis court was a permanent fixture where the cows once grazed.
Mom kept up with two large gardens, taking great pride in her yard, including lavender lilac bushes and other assorted annuals and perennials. Mom even found time to do some homecare for an elderly Oakville woman.
I took her picking strawberries and potatoes for many years. Whenever she knew of a good Saskatoon Patch she would pick those as well. Sunday swims and picnics at Norquay Beach was a welcome break from the heat.
Road trips to Oak Lake, Virden and Regina were a frequent summer pilgrimage to visit her parents, or her daughter Marlene and later her sister Vivian. She always enjoyed her day trips to Winnipeg where she would shop at Polo Park. The day always ended with supper at Red Lobster which she affectionately referred to as “The Red Rooster”. A chicken entrée and a Singapore Sling and she was good to go. Good times!
She enjoyed a good social and dancing, was even known to have the odd rye and coke, beer and a cigarette or two. Many a fall supper was attended at the Oakville Community Hall and Curtis Ridge School among others. Early bingos were held at the old Salem School as well as dances. Later she would enjoy bingos at the Centennial Hall. Mom also quilted with the ladies of the Salem District in the Salem School. They entered the quilts for many years at the Portage Fair and Exhibition. She also enjoyed doing pottery in the winter months and many of her glazed creations are still proudly displayed at home.
For pottery classes she had to travel some distance and many a night came home in a squall, but she always made it. That still amazes me today? She drove her own car till she was 97 years old, but then she broke her hip, which sadly, ended her accident free, full merit driving history. Mom could even handle a 410 gauge shotgun, if the need arose, as one nearsighted Pileated Woodpecker mistook the gable end of our house for a tree.
Mom and Dad continued to reside on the farm at Newton Siding until 1984, when they moved into their new home in Portage la Prairie. Mom was always up for a game of cribbage or crokinole and many an evening had a group of enthusiastic ladies over for Rummy or Canasta.
Mom travelled with Dad and his sister Elsie to Banff, AB among other vacation spots. I personally drove her to Chilliwack and Vancouver BC and I can still see her white knuckling the dash and we snaked through the mountains. Later she travelled with her good friend Ella Doherty to various hot spots. One of Mom’s favorite trips was to Mexico, which she travelled with her good friend Ella Doherty. She was gone for a month and I can till remember how tanned she was when I picked her up at Winnipeg International Airport. She also wintered in Scottsdale, Arizona for several seasons.
Shopping in Grand Forks was another nice getaway. She travelled right up to her mid 80’s. Even when she moved to Portage she remained active. She continued to put our large washes on the clothes line, just as she did on the farm. Whether it was patrolling her garden or tending to her many annuals or perennials she absolutely loved being out in the sun! She liked to relax on her chaise lounge and enjoy her backyard at every opportunity.
She enjoyed many barbeques on the deck, even when I forgot to poke the baked potatoes and they blew up! We had potato salad that night. When she required a walker, even that didn’t stop Mom, as she would meander around her yard pulling the weed bar, watering her flowers and tomato plants, or visiting with her neighbours. She took some tumbles, but always seemed to recover unscathed.
Mom was extremely independent and always put a 110% effort into everything she did. One of her classic sayings was, “If You Rest You Rust!”. She might have something there? She was a terrific cook and took great pride in her baking. If the crust wasn’t “just right” we could eat it but certainly not company. Her jellied salads were the stuff of legend.
Mom always put everyone’s needs before her own. As I was one of her adopted children, I felt like I couldn’t have been placed in a better home. In saying that, there are no words, other than, “Thank you for Loving me and Love you Mom”. Till we meet again!
Thank you to the Salem District with special thanks to Shirley and Les Case for all their visits, cards, flowers and baked goods over the years! I don’t recall that you ever missed her birthday and you always visited her when she was in the Portage General Hospital.
Thank you to Dr. Finney for the home visits to Mom over the years. Also thank you to Dr. Sheila Felsch in the ER for her care and compassion, as well as nurses Andrea and Georgia. To the nurses and staff on both the medical and extended care wards, thank you each and everyone. We will never forget the love and kindness that everyone has bestowed upon us!
Thank you, The Coates Family.
In lieu of flowers, donation may be made to P.A.W.S., 150-9th St. SE, Portage la Prairie, MB, R1N 3T6 or charity of one’s choice.
Messages of condolence may be made online at www.omegafuneralhome.com.