Shirley Louise (Tomes) Howard - October 28, 1930 – May 10, 2020
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Shirley Howard, in her 90th year, died peacefully at home in Bayfield Manor residence at 3am (the Hour of Mercy in Catholic prayer tradition,) on Sunday, May 10th - Mother’s Day, within the one month period when her husband, 4 children, and several grand, and great grand, children were born. Following her husband, Jack Alexander Howard, (1926- 1985) Shirley passed into the nearer presence of God in the company of three of her children who were graciously allowed to sit with her, one at a time, during this time of social distancing, as she labored through her final week of life. Shirley is survived by 7 great grandchildren, 6 grandchildren and her own four children – Susan (Doug) Gander of Westport, Beverly (Jushua) Illauq of Kemptville, Charles Howard of West Palm Beach, Florida, and Father Will Howard of Westport.
As the eldest daughter of May and Jim Tomes, Shirley along with her sister, Eileen (Sol) Robbins of Trenton, grew up in Toronto during the depression where Shirley became a bright young secretary and a dedicated Girl Guide leader. At the age of 19, she met Jack at a YMCA dance, and they were married 6 months later. Although Mom married an up and coming civil engineer, 10 years and four children later, Shirley became a minister’s wife when Jack returned to university to study theology at Wycliffe College and be ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada. They ministered together in the parishes of Cookstown, Hastings, and Marmora in Ontario, Drummondville, Quebec and Temple Pastures Mission in Gatineau. After Jack’s sudden death in 1985, Shirley set out on a new career as an executive secretary for Wycliffe Bible Translators, which provided a global aspect to her life.
Upon retiring in 1999, Shirley continued always to be actively and ecumenically involved in church and community activities and relationships. Settling first in Picton she then moved to Westport in 2007, where her community involvement included writing a weekly seniors column. There she was recognized with two awards, Senior of the Year in 2016 and Volunteer of the Year in 2017. Later that year Shirley downsized to an apartment in Bayfield Manor seniors residence, Kemptville, where she continued to be known for her community spirit.
Shirley will be missed by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and by all of the many, many people she kept in touch with regularly by phone, email and snail mail, as well as her many friends and acquaintances collected over the years during a faithful life well lived.
Special thanks for all the exceptional and kind care she has received over the past three years, and especially over the last month, from Dr. Greg Leonard and all the staff at Bayfield Manor, the Champlain LHIN palliative care team, and the Kingston Cancer Clinic.
We are all so thankful that Shirley is at last able to ‘walk free’! A funeral Mass and celebration of life will be announced and held when our churches are again open, and travel permitted. Donations in Shirley’s memory can be made to Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Canadian Cancer Society, or Bayfield Manor.