May 27, 1910 – February 25, 2014
at the age of 103 years
Celebration of Life: United Church, Salmon Arm, Sat. May 31, 2014 @ 1 pm
Mary Jean (nee Murdoch) Sinclair Watson passed away peacefully Feb.25, 2014 at Bastion Place, she was 103.
Jean, as she was called, was predeceased by George Sinclair in 1943 and Dave Watson in 1988. She is survived by son Donald Sinclair and daughter Isabel Sinclair, grandchildren Doug Sinclair, Kelsey (Sinclair) Norlin and Megan (Sinclair) Frances and six great-grandchildren.
Jean was born in Markdale, Ont. in 1910 to Emeline and Arthur Murdoch. Her father enjoyed all things Scottish and ordered kilts form Scotland for his children, later Don and Isabel would wear them as well. Mother loved music and was given a Steinway piano for her twelfth birthday, the piano would figure largely in her life. She also loved the pipes and we would have a piper, the masterful Jim Wright, at her birthdays form age 90 on.
Jean wanted to be a teacher but her father wanted her to be a nurse. She graduated from U.B.C. Nursing program with a class of seven women in 1933. While Jean was playing the piano at a U.B.C. dance George Sinclair, president of his engineering class, came over and introduced himself. Upon graduation Jean worked as a Public Health nurse in Vancouver. George and Jean were engaged for four years waiting for him to become employed. They were married Aug.10, 1938 at The Canadian Memorial Church in Vancouver. Family friend and founder George Fallis Sr. officiated at their marriage.
After marriage George and Jean moved to Wells, B.C. where George was employed as a mining engineer. Jean’s two children Don and Isabel were born there in 1941 and 1943. George was tragically killed in a mining accident on Aug.24, 1943.
Both Jean’s parents, had passed on before she was twenty, one of TB the other of cancer, so at this time Jean’s father-in-law Donald (Dan) Sinclair invited her and the children to come and live with him. He had homesteaded 320 acres on Lakeshore Rd. in 1894 which he cleared with Clydesdale horses. Dan was a member of the first Salmon Arm Council. Later Jean built her own home just below Dan’s house.
After moving to her new home she ran a kindergarten out of her basement for a number of years, later she worked as a nurse in Dr. Bennett’s office.
Jean was involved in many local groups, The United Church (she played the piano for the Sunday School), The Eastern Star, Rainbow Singers, Senior’s Club, and The Horticultural Society. She also attended the Symphony and Les Ellenor’s literature series at Okanagan College. She enjoyed bridge, whist and in later years, rummy.
She loved flowers and also giving them away (and giving things away in general), she often would go to the farmer’s market and fill her scooter basket up with flowers and drive up to Pioneer Lodge to give them to the residents. She enjoyed picking flowers around Bastion and nearby, usually with permission, and to give them away as well. She loved to take her friends for drives in her badly battered car. She was infamous for her lack of good driving habits but, although she once wiped out the ICBC office window or was it Wee Willie’s, or both, she never had a serious accident. Also, an indication of her durability was that after her third hip fracture her doctors told us she would likely not survive for more than six months (it would be another 9 years).
She was generous with her time and possessions and donated to local charities. When a South African family who had moved here lost their home in a fire she invited them to come and live at her house.
She met Dave Watson who shared an interest in horticulture and they were married in 1978. They had trips to the Caribbean, Hawaii and England to visit Isabel, Scotland, and Holland for the tulips. Dave passed in 1988 and Jean moved into an apartment and then later to assisted living in 2002.
After breaking her hip for a third time she moved in 2005 to Bastion Place where she was exceeding well cared for. The family is grateful that she could spend her last years there and wish to thank the Bastion staff and volunteers for their many kindnesses.
She was out-going and known for her smile and her memory.
She was also notorious for driving her scooter. A limerick written by her son for her 90th birthday goes like this:
Granny turns ninety today
Granny turns ninety today
And everyone’s happy to say
Her car’s off the road
But like Mr. Toad
When she hops on her scooter
Jean led a courageous and inquisitive life and will be missed.
A Celebration of Life will take place at The United Church, Sat. May 31, 2014 @1pm (she would have been 104 on May, 27).
I was just going through all the obituaries for Salmon Arm for the last year and saw your mom’s so just wanted to add my condolences although late. She was a great friend of mom’s and was always so interested in what my sister and I were doing. We too can remember being driven home with us and Clive Letham in the back seat of her car, howling with laughter at her driving. Then the year she broke her ankle I think it was, I got to come and do housework for her. She wasn’t too particular, just liked the company. That generation always looked on the positive side of life, despite what they all had been through. Don’t get many like those old girls anymore!
Hi Isabel and Don. I was just up at at Whistler and visited with Adri Damgard and she showed me your moms obituary. Caused us to have a lot of good memories thinking about her and how great she was with all us kids. Amongst all the memories was one of the time we arrived at your house after school and she had been making spaghetti sauce I think and the pressure cooker had exploded. The ceiling and kitchen were covered with red splotches and she put us all to work washing them down..no problem! She really was a fine old gal.
Thinking of you both at this time
Hello Don and Family ~
What a woman your mother was! I remember her so fondly, when I was a teenager and would be walking into “town” along Lakeshore Road. Numerous times she’d be at her mailbox where she would always greet us with a huge smile and much exuberance. Her enthusiasm for life was contagious and it seemed she always found joy in even the simple, small things.
You will all miss the happiness she brought to your lives.
Thinking of you all.
Chris and Lynn Nelson
Dear Isabel, Don and family
I just heard from Joan about your Moms passing and send my deepest sympathy. I always enjoyed Jean and never ever saw her in a down mood. She was such a character and I’m sure would have had a great laugh over her obit. Well done. One of my favorite memories is her playing the piano at church, singing merrily along and then holding the last note long after the hymn had finished. I too remember her driving as she would turn around and converse with someone in the back seat. Somehow she always stayed on the road. She will be missed.
Dear Isobel, Donnie and family,
Jill called me with this news today. What a grand gal your mother was, Isobel, and you are going to take right after her – live to be at least 103. I know her passing is going to leave a huge hole in your life because, as Joyce says, losing one’s mother is never easy.
Take care, sending warm thoughts your way…
Dear Isabel: Just read the lovely obituary about your mother. Thinking about you at this time. Love and prayers.
I am so sorry for your loss Isabel. It’s always hard to lose your mother. You have my sincerest sympathy.
Joyce Banks Lennard
My heRtfelts with the family today as they are losing a wonderful lady.
I stayed with her in 1969 1970 as I completed high school
She drove me to work at the A & W after school
I will always be great ful to her and her generosity
Sincerely linda ( marsh) laverty