To quote her favourite poem by Dylan Thomas, Agnes Lillian Nicholson Aberdeen did not go gentle into that good night. A fierce lover of life, she was an avid reader, artist, gardener, lover of nature, quilter, queen of puns, and will be deeply missed by her family and friends. Agnes was born in Oak River, MB on February 8, 1930 and died on February 18, 2021 at the age of 91 at Victoria Hospice. She was predeceased by her husband, William Aberdeen, her sister, Rita Fisher, and her parents, Adam and Inez Nicholson.
Agnes is survived by her sons, Ian Timshel (Pierrette), Bruce Aberdeen (Michelle), and David Aberdeen (Elizabeth); sisters Shirley Shnider and Roberta Nicholson; her grandchildren Meite Fardoe (David), Haley Mass (Brian), Bonnie Timshel, Stephanie Anderson (Trevor), Brianne Aberdeen, Julie Wise (Karsten), Manon Timshel, and Tomas Aberdeen; her great-grandchildren Sydney Mass, Zoey Mass, Felix Timshel, Luna Wise, and Eva Valencia and many nieces and nephews.
Agnes spent her early years in Oak River, MB (1930-1937) where she remembered watching the threshing crews stook grain on the family farm. She moved as a young girl to Birtle, MB in 1937 and to Dauphin, MB in 1948. Agnes studied piano in Edinburgh, Scotland from September 1947 to July 1948. She was proud of her Scots heritage and visited Scotland several times throughout her life.
Agnes graduated from the University of Brandon with a Bachelor of Arts in 1952 and a Bachelor of Pedagogy in 1955. She taught high school for two years in Swan River MB and taught English and French at the high school in Russell, MB until 1958. She returned to teaching at Sunny Cedars School in Coquitlam for students with special needs.
It was in Russell, MB that she met her future husband Bill, and subsequently gave birth to her three sons. Ever the adventurer, she moved with her young family to the West Coast in 1967, settling in Coquitlam before moving to Qualicum Beach in 1995.
Agnes loved to camp with her family and took full advantage of the natural wonders of the west coast. She and Bill took their VW Westfalia camping van on many adventures finding art, wildflowers, and friends along the way. Her grandchildren will fondly remember many picnics in the van at Rathtrevor and Eagle Crest beaches.
Watercolours would be a lifelong passion for Agnes. She was an avid collector of art but also an artist in her own right. For many years she was the Artist in the Corner on Wednesdays at the Old School House Arts Center in Qualicum Beach. A great personal highlight was having her work exhibited at the Salish Sea Market in Bowser.
As a natural extension of her love of reading, Agnes was a skilled writer. She was a dedicated correspondent with friends and wrote many short stories. Her magnum opus was a biography published in 1998 about the life of her father.
Agnes had a gift for the domestic arts. Her skills in the kitchen were greatly appreciated by Bill (particularly her buns) and all three boys learned to outdo their wives in the kitchen thanks to Agnes’s tutelage. She had beautiful flower gardens in all her homes and quickly made friends with like-minded gardening neighbours, swapping bulbs, cuttings, and laughter. Her family are the recipients of many beautiful and expertly crafted quilts, knitted sweaters and socks.
Perhaps her greatest gift was her ability to make and maintain friendships. Friends from her childhood, Brandon University, those from her years in Coquitlam and Qualicum Beach, as well as those made during her final years at Shannon Oaks, were present to celebrate her 90th birthday along with her family, one year ago. Her friends varied widely in age, occupation and interests, a testament to Agnes’s charm and wit.
With grateful hearts, the family would like to thank the incredible staff at Shannon Oaks, Royal Jubilee Hospital, and Victoria Hospice for their dedicated care of our beloved sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend.
Condolences may be offered to the family below.