In Loving Memory
Saturday, December 2nd
Kelvington United Church
108 years and 10 months ago on Jan. 23, 1909, baby Gladys Amelia was born to Reverend Frederick Charles and Georgina Frances (Pinsent) Rawlinson, a sister for Fred, Bert, and Ron. The family immigrated from London, England when Gladys was an infant. They came to Alberta and Saskatchewan where Rev. Fred began his Canadian ministry. One of his first points was at Quill Lake but, as was the custom of the day, ministers were moved often to new points. Mum has always been rather shy and the constant moves from town to town, and to new schools, must have been difficult for her. She became a teacher during the Depression years, ending her teaching career at Fundale School near Lacadena, Sask., where she had met Fred Lowndes. The two were married on January 22, 1934, in Moose Jaw in the home of brother Fred and Leithe Rawlinson with her father, Rev. Fred Rawlinson, officiating.
They honeymooned in B. C. with relatives and friends while checking out the prospects of a better life there, as southern Sask. was a dustbowl. They returned to the farm at Lacadena to try for another year. The crop that year was a disaster. Fred and Gladys looked to the north, found a farm in the Kelvington area, and trucked there in October of 1934. The long warm fall weather allowed them time to frame a three-room house in which to pitch their tent while they turned that frame into a cozy home. The livestock, along with machinery that had been accumulated, followed them north by train.
The Meadow Bank district was peopled by very inviting neighbors. There, Fred and Gladys started a family – first Glen Rawlinson, then Patricia Joan, and Leithe Francis. In 1949 they purchased a farm 2½ miles north on 49 highway in time to welcome Frederick John (Jack) into the family. The new farm had electricity, telephone, and in short order, sewer and water systems.
While in the Meadow Bank area, Gladys was involved with the church, playing the organ. Almost certainly mice found a cozy home in that old organ between services and Gladys hated mice. Never-the-less she faithfully played, leading a large congregation through the hymns. She played the piano for Duck Creek School concerts. She was active in the Ladies Aid hitching up the horse to the buggy and taking the babies and toddlers along to whose ever house was hosting the meeting. She fed the huge threshing crews, the wood sawing crews, baked bread, gardened and preserved the harvest as did all the hard-working women in those early days.
With the move to the farm on 49 highway, the horse and buggy was eventually replaced by a car, and the threshing and wood sawing crews were replaced by hired men for whom she had to cook, clean and do laundry. She continued her activities with community organizations and continued to be the organist at church services at Meadow Bank Hall, which was a true “church in the wildwood”.
Before and after their retirement from the farm, Gladys and Fred travelled in winters to Arizona, Texas/Mexico and Florida, where they were visited by Pat’s and Leithe’s families. After retirement, they also travelled throughout Canada, during which they tried to play golf in every province in Canada. They managed to travel to England a couple of times, and one of those times took Pat and Leithe with them. After they decided not to go to the U.S. in the winters anymore, they wintered on Vancouver Island at Parksville and Qualicum Beach, where they were visited by some of their children and grandchildren. When Fred felt he could no longer manage the drive out to B.C. for the winters, they remained at their home in Kelvington, which suited Gladys well because she had always wanted to be at home with the family at Christmas time. During this time at her home in Kelvington, Gladys often had the opportunity to provide child care for some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and fed members of the family who just happened to drop in at meal times.
Feeding everyone was important to Gladys. All her family talk about her skill at supplying just what we needed to sustain us for the day. Leithe said, “Mom had the loaves and fishes thing down pat”. We could walk into her kitchen at ten to noon, invite ourselves to dinner, and within the hour food appeared as if by magic for us to feast on. “There’s ice cream in the fridge for dessert if you want some,” she would say.
Gladys was not only generous with food but also had a generosity of spirit. She never spoke unkind words about anyone. She gave to community, friends and family. She was the centre of our family, recording important events – marriages, graduations, and especially births, which she recorded faithfully then marked each occasion with cards and money. She enjoyed seeing the family numbers grow and sat for many eventful functions and many four and five generation photos. She is survived by 4 children, 17 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren, and 14 great, great-grandchildren. She is revered by every one of us. How lucky we are to have had her in our lives for so long to show us the way to be the best that we can be. She was predeceased by her parents, brothers, brothers- and sisters-in-law, husband Fred in 1997, two great-grandchildren, Aaron and Trysha, and son-in-law Ivan Godhe.