Anna Mabel (May) Sourisseau September 12, 1926-January 25, 2013 "A Legacy of Love"
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May passed away at home in the arms of her family: Georges, her loving and devoted husband of 58 years; daughter, Louise and husband Stefan Brunhoff; son, Georges and wife Susan Taubensee; son, Paul and wife Dina, grandchildren Holly, Natalie, Luke; daughter Elizabeth; (son, Marc: 1959-2005), grandsons Zach and Joe.
May was born in Saskatchewan into a large and boisterous Mennonite family. As a depression era kid, she knew the meaning of hard work. When her father, Jacob Doerkson had to give up his store, he and May's mother Elizabeth moved the family to Abbotsford. May left high school to help the family, working in a photo shop. She worked tinting black and white photos with watercolours and her artistic flair began to blossom.
She discovered her passion for nursing when an epidemic of measles swept through the Bible school she attended and she helped care for those affected. She graduated from Vancouver General Hospital's nursing school in 1951, finishing as the top Operating Room nurse, and later received many accolades for her work in teaching and administration at VGH. Several of her classmates became life long friends and one of them introduced her to the UBC Varsity Outdoors Club, where she met the love of her life, Georges. They forged a circle of friends that would endure for a lifetime. Passionate about the outdoors, they skied, hiked, camped, picnicked and even slept on a tarp under the stars on their honeymoon.
May left nursing for a time to raise her children. During those years she continued to develop her painting talent, creating beautiful works in oil and watercolour.
May and Georges started with little but their great love for one another. They willingly sacrificed for their children and together built a wonderful and full life. Mum was the queen of celebrations. No birthday, anniversary, graduation or holiday could pass without a family feast and one of her hand made cards. She and Dad reveled in the love and chaos of big family gatherings.
May's accepting, kind and gracious nature drew many people to her for comfort and support when facing difficulties, for wisdom when confused, for love in any circumstance. Not just her children, but nieces, nephews, sisters, colleagues, friends and neighbours would all look for May to be a tower of strength in times of need.
When word of May's diagnosis began to spread, friends and family called, sent messages of support and flocked to the house for in-person visits. May was overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and generosity and by how many people were desperate to see and comfort her.
Our hearts are empty with loss, but full with love.
A memorial mass will be held at Immaculate Conception Parish, 3778 W. 28th Avenue on Saturday, February 2 at 1100am. A reception will follow at Shaughnessy Golf Club.
In lieu of flowers, donations to BCCA for lung cancer research or Maharashtra Fellowship for Deaf (a mission teaching deaf children in India, begun by her sister Lil) would be appreciated.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Jan. 29, 2013