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Obituary

ELAINE EYRES (published on October 26, 2011)



ELAINE EYRES (nee LILLIAN ELAINE WRIGHT) September 20, 1922 - October 22, 2011 With sadness, the family of Elaine Eyres of Winnipeg announces her passing on October 22, 2011. Elaine was born in Ottawa, Ontario and moved with her family to Richmond Hill, where the family settled. When her mother contracted TB in the mid-1930s, Elaine, who was the oldest daughter of the family, was withdrawn from school at 13 years of age to run the family household; she grew up quickly becoming the mother of the family, which consisted of her father, an older brother, and five younger brothers and sisters. With the family short of money, Elaine took certain liberties with the truth about her age - at 15, she was too young to work - and obtained a position in Simpson Sears, Toronto, where her personality and poise earned her a coveted position with the company Messengers, a highly selective department whose members delivered important correspondence to various of the store's senior managers and departments. When Elaine was discovered to be under-age, a compassionate and clever senior manager cut a policy corner or two and so enabled her to stay on; this was a kindness Elaine acknowledged for the rest of her life. The decision also gave Elaine the opportunity to model for Simpson's. During the Second World War, Elaine joined the war effort and went to work at Victory Aircraft Limited in Malton, Ontario. There, she was employed as a riveter on the tail gun-turret of the company's Lancaster bombers. More than one flyer owes his life to Elaine's contribution to the war effort. Shortly after the war, she met her future husband, Christopher Eyres, a career army officer in the Lord Strathcona's Horse (RC). They married shortly thereafter, and so began Elaine's new life as the wife of an army officer. Her husband's 30-year career took the family to postings across Ontario and the prairies including Ottawa, Camps Shilo, Borden, and Petawawa, as well as Calgary, Winnipeg, and Regina. In the early 1960s, Chris was posted to the middle east as a UN observer; this afforded Elaine the opportunity of a lifetime to travel and to visit comfortably in Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. They returned to Canada in leisurely fashion and spent time in the UK, France, Italy, and Greece. On her husband's retirement in 1966, the family moved to Winnipeg where Elaine lived for the remainder of her life. Never one to be idle, Elaine found part-time employment in the bridal shops of Eaton's and later in the Hudson's Bay in downtown Winnipeg. She enjoyed the working experience and the contact with the prospective brides. Elaine was always acutely conscious of her limited education, even though foregoing it had sustained the family through the depression. So, for years, she would enroll in academic upgrading courses, only to have to withdraw as the family was posted. In the late 1960s/early 1970s, however, she wrote and passed the High School Equivalency Exams thereby earning a high school diploma. With that success, she began to receive letters from the Universities of Manitoba and of Winnipeg, encouraging her to try her hand at post-secondary education. Eventually she enrolled in a first year English course at the University of Winnipeg and, much to her delight, succeeded. Although that marked the end of her upgrading, for the rest of her life, she was immensely proud of her university education. And so were we, who loved her. It was the triumph of a lifetime! Elaine loved music of all genres, from Broadway to folk to classical. With a beautiful soprano voice, she was a soloist for a number of her church choirs, and sang for a number of seasons with the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir and the Sweet Adelines. Elaine's granddaughter, Jane, also aroused in Elaine an interest in theatre. Elaine was honoured to find herself listed as a supporter in the credits of Jane's Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Troop. Following her husband's death in 2008, Elaine moved to retirement living in Riverwood Square in Fort Garry. During her brief three-year stay at Riverwood, she was an active member of its vibrant seniors' community, and thoroughly enjoyed the companionship of residents and staff alike. Elaine was predeceased by her husband, Christopher Eyres, her parents, Muriel (Sims) and Harold Edgerton Wright, her sister, Lois Wideman, and brothers, Harold, Jim, Jack, and Glen Wright, and her brother-in-law, Carl Beynon. She is survived by her dear sister Rosemary Beynon (Tavistock, Ontario), her daughter, Christina Shapiro and son-in-law, Jim Shapiro, her much loving and much loved granddaughter, Jane Eyres Walker and her partner, Ivan Henwood (all of Winnipeg), as well as her son Stephen Eyres and daughter-in-law, Dolores Saulter (of Qualicum Beach, BC). She was a dearly loved aunt to her many nieces and nephews. A funeral service for Elaine will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, October 28, 2011 at Riverwood Square which is located at 1778 Pembina Highway in Winnipeg. Parking for Riverwood is off Adamar Road on the immediate south side of Riverwood Square. A private interment will take place later. The family requests that no flowers be sent: your thoughts and prayers are sufficient. Funeral Home and Crematorium 774-7474 Condolences: www.bardal.ca


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