ABDURAHMAN, Muriel Ross
April 29, 1938, Lochmaben, Scotland
December 22, 2013, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Muriel wished us all to celebrate her life, and not to mourn her passing. Muriel lives on in the people she worked with, the communities she shaped and the families she raised.
As wife, mother, aunt and grandmother, Muriel was a force. From her upbringing on Whitelaird Farm in Lochmaben, Scotland to her final public service on the Strathcona County Library Board, she was always capable and hardworking; committed to making a valuable contribution. In all she did, her abundant energy, conviction and vision were to be counted.
Muriel grew up on the family dairy farm. She left home at the age of sixteen to train as a nurse in Dumfries then moved to Glasgow at 18 to practice. It was in Glasgow she met and eloped with Dr. Abdul Abdurahman. Running off to Guyana, South America in 1957, the young bride and husband started their family with the birth of their first daughter, Amanda. They stayed in Guyana for four years, while Abdul served the British Foreign Office by delivering medical services across the rough and tumble tropical country.
The young family returned to the United Kingdom in 1961, to live in Mosely, England, where they completed their brood with three more children, Ross, Lucinda, and Vanessa. Unsettled in the UK, Muriel, Abdul and the children immigrated to Breton, Alberta, Canada in the fall of 1968. Breton at the time was a small village that felt like it was at the end of the Earth, but in this small town lifelong friends were met. In 1971 the Abdurahman family uprooted once again, settling in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, where they would stay for 25 years. With Abdul practicing medicine, and their young family growing up, Muriel ventured into public life, fulfilling her desire to be a prominent member of, and servant to, the community she and the family now called home. After setting the foundations for her children, the still young Muriel studied Canadian Studies at the new Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton. On completing her studies, she entered Municipal service; first as a policy activist, then as Councillor for one term, and finally Mayor of Fort Saskatchewan for six years. During her tenure, Fort Saskatchewan was incorporated as a city; public safety measures air quality monitoring, which remains active to this day, was mandated and, with construction of the new Ross Railway Bridge (co-named after Muriel), the railway passing through the centre of town was rerouted.
Resigning from municipal politics in 1986, Muriel maintained her role as an active member of the community, and broadened it to the provincial level. She sat on a variety of public boards that included the Peter Lougheed Commission on Health Care and was a long-term member and Chairperson of the Alberta Hospital Association. Returning to politics she was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, as MLA for the Cloverbar constituency. In this role she served her constituents from 1993 until 1997. After leaving provincial politics Muriel continued her public service by sitting on the Alberta Press Council and, when she and Abdul relocated to Sherwood Park, by sitting on the County of Strathcona Youth Justice Committee. Until very recently Muriel was an active member of the Strathcona Library Board which was fundamental in the completion of the new Municipal Library.
While her years in public life were consuming, Muriel's priority was always to provide love and guidance to her children; enabling each to pursue successful professional careers and raise their own families both locally and overseas. Muriel and Abdul travelled extensively. Some of their fondest memories were made through discovering the world together with family and friends.
Muriel is survived by her sister Catherine Forbes in Ecclefechan, Scotland, and younger brother Alistair Ross in Tasmania, Australia. Sadly her brother Andrew Ross, twin to Alistair, passed away in 2011.
While we will all miss Muriel; our wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, she did not want us to mourn her, but rather celebrate the fulfilling journey she had and honour her by living our own lives to the fullest. Let's continue her legacy the best that we can through our own deeds and adventures.
As was her desire, a Celebration of Muriel's life will be held in the spring, when nature is green and full of new life.
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Published in The Edmonton Journal on Dec. 30, 2013