Life Story for
Marilyn Ann Whatley, UE
With inexpressible sadness Marilyn Ann Whatley of Acton, passed away peacefully at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital February 17, 2017 with her family at her side. Marilyn is survived by her husband of 53 years, Gordon, sons Kyle (Mary Anne), Chris (Irene) grandchildren Connor, Taylor, Carter, Eric and Shawna and great grandchild Naiyha, sister Kathy (Mike). Predeceased by her parents Rev. Arthur Welburn Jones and Jessie Jones (Marshall), Marilyn’s daughter Elizabeth Ann and brother Doug.
Marilyn lived for her family. She loved finding small gifts all year and Christmas was her favorite time to share her “finds”. Her sons could do no wrong and she was very proud of their achievements and success in life. She could hardly wait to see her grandchildren on each visit and just loved their adventures and growing pains. The birth of a great granddaughter was a momentous occasion as she finally had a “daughter”, beyond her daughters in law, to spoil.
During her early career in education she taught in Grimsby but spent much of her teaching time in the North York Board of Education, teaching Primary and Junior grades. She loved teaching and recently was showing me letters her past students wrote her thanking her for her attention and help. Marilyn loved her gardens and plants and got her “exercise” tending to their wellbeing.
Marilyn always took an active part in raising her sons to the extent that she was “Akela” to the Limehouse Cub Pack, led the Parents Committee for the Queens York Rangers Cadet Corps and worked for many years helping run the Ontario Rifle Association Annual Matches. (Marksmanship with a rifle and pistol came naturally to her and she was very proud of her sons shooting at the Annual NRA Bisley UK Matches.) Marilyn was a founding Life Member of the Ontario Chapter of the MG T Register and a member of the New England MG T Register with her MG TD. Marilyn’s goal was to visit every state and province in her MG. (just missed)
Many auto enthusiasts will remember her as the CEO (BOSS) of Octagon Auto Supply and the Armchair Motorist as she encouraged them with their automotive adventures, reading and repairs. Dealing with customers at shows, events and meetings in Canada and USA she acquired many friends with her patient listening skills and positive comments. Marilyn thrilled in driving her MG at racetracks like Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Mosport and driving across the USA to California and eventually Pike’s Peak and to the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Her many MG friends will miss her sense of humor and adventure and her vast knowledge. Her complete mystery library of Agatha Christie and Sue Grafton gave her immense enjoyment.
Marilyn’s passion, beyond her family, was her genealogic family. Over the last 50 years she has strived to “bring to life” her ancestors so that they would not just be a name on a stone or in a list. Initially, she had all sorts of family rumors so she set out to investigate what was fact from fiction. What a trip she has taken us all on! Several continents later we have over 5000 personal records that have come to life with background stories and associations to make their lives tangible and in some cases downright exciting. She is a United Empire Loyalist via her Merritt, Wetmore and Galloway lineage and a Daughter of the Revolution via her Ferris ancestors. These are very exciting families and some go back to the Norman Invasion in 1066 in the UK. Marilyn would light up when she was nearing a solution to a complicated lineage as her “three proofs” sometimes took years to establish.
If I may paraphrase a passage that made me think of Marilyn: Amidst our sorrow and grief that we all feel, and in spite of all the tears that we shed, I give to you that Marilyn is not at all dead, but very truly alive in all of us. We have no obligation to grieve, but only to stand for the things she stood for, to carry on her person and her ideals in ourselves and in our work, to teach others what she taught us. If we do that, we will have her with us always, and so will many others who never met her.
Special thanks to Dr. Jenny Heathcote, Hepatologist at Toronto Western Hospital, for identifying Primary Biliary Cirrhosis in 2000 and giving us 17 years of time to empty our “Bucket List”. The doctors at Toronto General Hospital, Dr. Stephanie Brister, Dr. Barry Rubin and Dr. Paula Harvey, and Dr. Joseph Coselli, of St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston, Texas for the miracles they performed with her aortic surgeries and follow up care since 2010. Keeping all this together, in recent years, has been a monumental task for Dr. Elliot Halparin and Dr. Craig Browning of Georgetown. And finally, to the staff, nurses and doctors at Oakville Trafalgar Hospital ICU. Thank you for those precious years!
A private family service was held today. A celebration of her life will be held in the spring. Timely notice of the event will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice or the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
On-line condolences may be made at www.mackinnonfuneralhome.com
MacKinnon Family Funeral Home
(519) 853-0350 or 1-877-421-9860 (toll free)