Shortly after sunrise on Friday, May 6, 2016, Mom/Grandma/Grammy finally got her pilot’s wings, and flew off to her next adventure. Mom was born in 1923, in Southey, Saskatchewan, only child of John Maurice Calnek and Margaret Calnek (Falconer), who died two weeks after giving birth to her. After a couple of years, she went to live with her paternal grandparents in Granville Ferry, Nova Scotia, where she stayed until she was old enough to start school. She then returned to her dad in Saskatchewan, living in a variety of small communities, wherever he could find work as a teacher. Maurice remarried when Mom was 10, and she was extremely fond of her new mother Helen, admiring her quiet, gentle work ethic.
When she was 17, Mom attended “Normal School”, the teacher training college in Regina, while she waited to be old enough to join the RCAF (WD). The Second World War was on, and she wanted to be sent overseas. Much to her disappointment, by the time she was old enough to join, they had stopped sending women overseas, so she was stationed in B.C. instead, first in Victoria, then Vancouver, spending a memorable 21st birthday “on leave” at the Hotel Vancouver.
Following discharge at the end of the war, Mom returned to Saskatchewan and teaching, and it was while teaching in a small community called Hubbard that she met a young farmer named Harold Casswell. Mom and Dad were married July 31, 1948. They had 3 children, and Dad eventually took over the Post Office in Hubbard, while Mom continued to teach. Having followed her dad’s footsteps into teaching and the Air Force, it was only natural that when her parents moved to Victoria in the mid-60’s, that Nancy follow them west as well. In 1967, the whole family moved to Duncan, B.C., where she spent the rest of her life.
Mom taught at Quamichan Junior Secondary School for 16 yrs. until she took early retirement in 1983. Her retirement didn’t last long though, as in late 1984, she took over as Executive Director of what is now the Clements Centre Society, until finally retiring for good in Mar. 1989, at the age of 65. She was a tireless volunteer in the community, serving on the Board of what is now the Clements Centre Society from the late 60’s until the mid 80’s, and as a Board member of the Duncan Housing Society from 1995-2005. She joined the Valley Seniors Organization shortly after it formed in 1999, where she served as Secretary until May 2010, and as part-time receptionist, kitchen helper, shuffleboard co-ordinator and bus trip hostess, until finally “retiring from active duty” in 2012. She was a Life Member of both the Clements Centre Society and the VSO. Mom was an active member of the St. John’s ACW group, and a keen Golden Age 5-pin bowler.
Mom loved to read, do puzzles, knit and crochet, garden, play cards and games, watch sports on t.v. especially hockey, curling and golf, various game shows, cooking, and home and garden shows. She loved her trips to the casino, and enjoyed going out to eat. She made the best apple pie and lasagna ever! Most of all, she loved spending time with her family.
Mom was pre-deceased by her parents, her husband Harold (1974) and daughter Marilyn Hankins(2006). She is survived by her son Al (Kim) Casswell and daughter Sheila (Tim) Coogan, grandchildren Pat (Melissa) Hankins, Matthew (Carrie) Bartlett, Jason (Pam) Bartlett, Dan Coogan, Finn Coogan and Brynna Coogan, and great-grandchildren Ariana, Brooklyn, Nathan, Kristen, Katie, Allie, Austin and Sofia.
Our family would like to thank Drs. Ismail, Hamilton-Irving and Chad, all the wonderful nurses at CDH, Barb Coleman and Rev. Clara Plamondon of St. John’s Anglican Church, Duncan, for making Mom’s last couple of weeks as comfortable and peaceful as possible.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at 2 p.m. at St. John’s Anglican Church, Duncan, B.C.
Condolences may be shared online at www.firstmemorialfuneral.com