Olive was born over 101 years ago in 1921 in Berwick-on-Tweed to BBC Engineer Geoffrey Gore and his Librarian wife Lillian. To her family and to those who knew her she was a very unique character and a fierce, red-haired force of nature.

Mom passed in her sleep at Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead on September 23, predeceased 2 years earlier by her husband of 75 years, Norman.

From London to Prince Albert to Moose Jaw and finally to Victoria, our Mom leaves behind a large and growing family. She is survived by her sons Nigel (Darlene) and Roger (Jane) and is predeceased by her beloved daughter Heather and daughter-in-law Laurence. She leaves behind nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren, with one more on the way. All of her offspring are left with Olive’s legacy of determination, self-reliance and optimism. Olive lived her life to the fullest as can best be described by her good friend Fay Russell – who wrote the following in the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) newsletter.

Olive Bailey, Canadian Federation of University Women Past President 1987-89.  Olive was President when the national AGM was held in Victoria in 1987.

CFUW brings treasured memories to mind, particularly of friends that have been there with us and are now sadly gone. It was my pleasure to become a friend of Olive Bailey, a past president, and Bletchley code breaker, sworn to secrecy by the British Official Secrets Act.

How did she keep it from her dear husband, Norman, for so long?

You had to know Olive’s incredible joie de vivre and exuberance to have understood how challenging that must have been for her. She had amazing stories to tell me as we drove to meetings. She knew the character from the mystery, “Agent Zig Zag” and shared her reminisces with our book club. He was a double agent and fascinating to Olive and others.

Olive recounted her missions during the war when she had to retrieve parts from downed planes, how she found a mole in an airplane factory where they were making Halifax Bombers and how she answered the Bletchley recruiting ad by finishing the Times crossword in under 10 minutes. Her degree in Mathematics from London University likely sealed the deal.

She loved travel with a passion and she regaled us with wonderful tales of her adventures.

Once she held her meeting at her cottage on Gabriola Island, another time she talked about Russia and had cupcakes swirling the icing a la Red Square. She swore she didn’t cook yet she hosted divine dinners and we all gobbled up Norman’s famous shrimp sandwiches.

How do women get away with this trick?

On a more serious note, Olive was very claustrophobic as a result of being trapped underground during an air raid. Her friend had given her a pin with her name on it. As she rushed to escape, her pin caught on something so she had to stop to retrieve it. That was the moment she was delayed and that delay saved her life.

I won’t forget Olives’ 100th birthday when her daughter-in-law, Darlene, and myself asked our fellow CFUW members to come to wish her well, but because of Covid we had to be outside the Broadmead Lodge and she was dressed up inside. We used our phones to communicate with her.

As more of us might also meet Olive’s age of 101, let us remember her example and cherish our CFUW activities and friendships. Her advice was to keep going to CFUW!

Our blessings and gratitude go to Olive, for sharing your amazing life.

Olive was the recipient of the Bletchley Service Medal and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Carry On Mom!

Mom has been well looked after for the past five years by the nurses and staff at Broadmead Lodge – especially under the care of Maureen, Kim, Tina, Parveen and of course Tracy.

No service or flowers by request, but donations in Mom’s memory to the Veteran’s Memorial Lodge at Broadmead or Nigel House or CFUW would be very welcome.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens
at www.mccallgardens.com

  • Rachel French de Mejia

    Our condolences to the Bailey family. We are so sorry for your loss. I met Olive when I was 19 and was working for her husband Norman as an MOA. It was clear from the start that she was indeed a force to be reckoned with. I managed to stay in touch with Norman and Olive over the years after moving away to Vancouver to become a nurse and raise my family. Norman and Olive attended my wedding and Olive was right in there with all my new Colombian in-laws, commiserating with my mother in law about having children marry and move over seas. Even though I don’t think Olive spoke Spanish, somehow they managed to connect. We had many lovely visits after that to the cottage on Gabriola where Olive regaled us with her war time adventures and other stories. Our only regret is that after moving back to Victoria Covid prevented us visiting Norman and Olive, but we knew they were well taken care of. Olive will be missed – she was one of a kind. Warmest regards Rachel French de Mejia and Carlos Mejia

  • Mindy L'Hirondelle

    Had the good fortune of meeting both Olive and Norman on Gabriola. My gosh they were wonderful memory making visits we shared.
    Feeling so very blessed we got to know these two amazing people.
    Deepest sympathies to the family.
    Mindy & John L’Hirondelle

  • Malcolm Orr

    Since I first set up practice as a newly minted ophthalmologist next door to Norm’s office in 1985, I and my wife Mary remember many happy memories with both Olive and Norm. Their humour charm and civility was always to be admired. Our admiration for Olive only grew after she revealed her war time exploits. A life well lived. We pass on our sincere condolences to Nigel and family and especially Roger and his family. We met Roger even before Norm and Olive while Roger was training at VGH. Sincerely Malcolm Orr and Mary Lindsay.

  • Brenda Theresa Canitz

    Amazing woman with lots of zest for life. She never lost that sparkle in her eye and she showed us all you can have a lot of fun in life and still make major contributions to a better world. She will be missed.

  • Bruce Homer

    Known as Mrs Bailey in my youth, and after about 30 years as Olive, she was strong, kind and independent with a forthright manner and an honest approach to every situation, stating her point of view clearly, often ending with a laugh and a smile. Peace be with her as she reunites with Norman and Heather. I can hear the laughter.

  • Bruce Homer

    Known as Mrs Bailey in my youth, and after about 30 years as Olive, she was strong, kind and independent with a forthright manner and an honest approach to every situation, stating her point of view clearly, often ending with a mischievous grin. Peace be with her as she reunites with Norman and Heather. I can hear the laughter.

  • Cathy Victor

    It was a joy and an honour to have met and known Olive for at least a little while. She was always a delight to visit with and I treasured her stories. I served as chaplain for a number of years at Broadmead Care and that is how I was so blessed to have known her even for just a while.
    May all her family and those who loved her be comforted with peace.

  • Elisabeth Oughtred

    What an amazing person she was! I feel privileged to have met her and her incredible son, Roger Bailey, a dear old friend! She has left a legacy hard to follow! God bless her for all she has done!

  • Emily

    What an honour it was to have met Olive! I will tell my two daughters about her because her life story shows incredible examples of strength, love, courage, determination and loyalty and that is quite something for just one person! Sending you all our love Rog and family, Chris, Emily, Evie and Jessica xx

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