D. JEANNE MANCHEE

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D. JEANNE MANCHEE "Taffy Manchee didn't pass on, pass away, or pass out. She just died." On January 10, 2014, D. Jeanne Manchee, nee Tate, aka Taffy, died peacefully at her beloved Spinneybeck Farm at 11:50 a.m. Two mourning doves greeted her on the lawn outside her window. Jeanne was predeceased by her husband of 58 years Charles P. Manchee. She will be dearly missed by her children, Michael (Carrie), Philip (Penny), Stephen (Jodie), Susie (Marie), Janie (Joe), and her grandchildren, Neil (Heather), Ryan, Marc (Katie), Jess (Costa), Kyle (Sarah), Hailey, Jaime (Tim), Stuart (Cath), her great-grandson Harrison, and her incomparable caregiver of three years, Dale Stephens... as well as her in-laws, step-children Hannah, Chris (Aviva), Silas (Aynsley) and step- great-grandchildren Blake, Ethan, Addison, Sabian and Aurelia, many nieces and nephews, and a multitude of Labradors, the latest being Mowgli. Taffy had a zest for life filled with love and adventure and adored a good joke or story as much as a good book. In recent years when asked how she was doing she'd reply "Well I'm not skiing this year," and brandish her cane as way of explanation. One of her favourite conversation openers was "Did you have a happy childhood?" She knew she could tell a lot about a person by their response, both spoken and unspoken. Mom had a knack for "seeing" people, helping them realize their potential and what they had to offer the world. She made them better people, encouraging them to follow their dreams and to seize opportunities. She could be strict too and would lay down the law when it felt appropriate. Manners were important, social graces a must, good grammar indispensable. One more at the table was never a problem when any of us arrived with an unexpected friend. Hers was a happy childhood growing up in North Toronto with her parents, Bill and Dot Tate, and her cherished older brother Bob. She made lifelong friends with her schoolmates at Havergal College and, at age 18, was one of the first to sign up with the RCAF Women's Division during World War II. Like many people of her generation it was a life defining time and she served her country proudly both overseas and in Gander, Newfoundland and on both coasts. But it was in Halifax on an unexpected blind date that she met Charlie (her half blind date) and after an evening of sipping cokes and dancing, whispered in his ear, "They'll all be blondes." They married in 1947 after Taffy had attended a diploma program in physiotherapy at University of Toronto. She always said dad married her for a backrub and all he got were 5 children! In Toronto she busied herself with the Junior League and a growing family but in 1955 when Charlie's career moved north to Newmarket, so too did the family. They landed at Spinneybeck Farm and never looked back. By 1961 there were five children and a new business venture called Spinneybeck Enterprises. While Charlie travelled extensively it was up to Taffy to hold down the fort, serving up her famous souper casserole in the leaner times and prime rib roasts as the business flourished. Whether corralling escaped cattle, chasing Labradors, or shooting a rabid skunk coming toward the house, Taffy fended for her family. Mom was also active in her local community, canvassing for many years for the Cancer Society in her infamous car the Black Mariah, and utilizing her physiotherapy skills at C.A.R.D., Community Association Riding for the Disabled. As Spinneybeck grew, its success allowed Charlie and Taff to travel for work and play, extending their circle of friends across continents. While they enjoyed seeing many parts of the world they had their favourite haunts, returning annually to Gstaad to ski with good friends, to Hopetown in the Bahamas to sail, and summers in Muskoka. As age crept up she would warn friends "10 minutes for health... we don't need an organ recital." Then sign off conversations with the latest joke she'd heard because you "had to leave 'em laughing." She didn't need fanfare and she was steadfastly generous with many causes, helping numerous friends and family over the years. She offered up WAM when she recognized a little Walking Around Money was just the thing needed to brighten a gloomy day. Mom's philanthropy was one of a quiet nature and could be summed up in our nightly dinner grace. "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful, and ever mindful of the needs of others. Amen." Taffy Manchee - La Contessa, formidable Scrabble player, skinny dipper, leadfoot driver, ardent skier, philanthropist, tea drinker, joke teller, story teller, reader, world traveler, bird watcher, Labrador lover, mentor, friend. Mom was all of these and so much more. A Service of Celebration will be held in the chapel at Mt. Pleasant Visitation Centre, 375 Mt. Pleasant Road, Toronto on Thursday, January 16th at 2 p.m. with a reception to follow. This spring, when the lilacs are in bloom at Spinneybeck we will have a gathering of family and friends. Please stay in touch for further details. If desired, donations may be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 1400 - 522 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2R5, or charity of choice, in lieu of flowers. Condolences and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com
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Published in the Toronto Star on Jan. 13, 2014
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