HADWEN, Shirley Vivyan (nee Brown)
Died peacefully at age 87, in the home of her son Matthew Hadwen and daughter-in- law Simone, where she had received devoted and loving care for the last ten years.
Predeceased by her beloved husband John. They were married for 52 years.
Much loved and proud mother of her four sons and daughters-in-law: Timothy and Alison, Peter and Marilyn, Matthew and Simone, Anthony and Wendy. Delighted with 14 grandchildren: Jacob and David; Olivia, Nicola and Jonathan; Elizabeth, Jeremiah, Carissa, Thomas, Paul, Samuel and Mary; Amanda and Alexander. Great-grandmother of Sophie, Adrian, Norah, Elaina, Julia and newly-born Esther. Predeceased by and close to her parents George and Vera Brown; and siblings Roger (Janet), Sylvia (Jack) and Ken. Dear sister-in-law of Ruth and beloved by the extended family.
Born April 20, 1929 in Toronto. Third child of four to George and Vera Brown. George was a professor of history at the University of Toronto. Her childhood on Heath Street was a happy one–streetcar rides to school, journeys to the cottage, her first use of lipstick, her father's attention to her math education. Spending each summer at the cottage on Lake of Bays was a major feature of her childhood and adolescence. It is at the cottage that Mom developed her graceful swimming stroke and smooth canoeing technique. Picnics, evening canoe excursions, plays, cottage work and meeting the lake steamer when it docked were the natural course of events. She developed a love of the piano, and was proud of her ARCT from the Royal Conservatory permitting her to teach music. We marvelled at her delicate touch at Christmas carol parties.
The daughter of a Methodist (United Church) family, she attended Victoria College her parents' alma mater. She played volleyball and studied anthropology. After University she taught in England, and then Ottawa to work in the Civil Service Commission and immersed herself in a very active social scene. Friendships with many have continued to the present day.
Then a certain gentleman named John, a bridge-playing friend of her brother Ken and a Foreign Service officer appeared. At the cottage, after arriving with roses, he awoke Shirley early one morning and proposed in a canoe. The wedding happened within a week at Timothy Eaton Memorial Church in Toronto. John flew off to Vietnam and Shirley returned to the Civil Service Commission–back to reality. However, in short order they departed for New York and the United Nations. These were heady days (Pearson obtaining the Nobel Peace prize). The opportunities to carve a new world order appeared limitless, and they loved the cultural and entertainment mecca that was New York in the 50s. Their apartment on Madison Avenue was even in the same building as Marilyn Monroe's therapist!
It is in New York that Shirley began the next phase of her life as a mother. Timothy was born there. Upon returning to Ottawa, a year and a half later she gave birth to identical twins Peter and Matthew, a complete surprise to the doctors and her! A year and a half later Anthony arrived. Shirley now had four boys separated in age by about three years.
Then began many years of enjoyable and important international travel and shared responsibility for representing Canada in Norway, Malaysia, Burma and Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal. Following a period in Ottawa to have the boys finish high school and embark on their university careers, she and John went to India. It was there that she wrote her famous letters to her sons chronicling her experience and journeys around India. After John retired she worked for CIDA hosting foreign delegations.
Recently, she enjoyed picnics in the park and visiting Ken and Ruth Brown for tea after church. She blessed everyone with her warm, welcoming and gracious presence, as she listened and always gave her non-judgmental and encouraging support. Throughout all of her amazing life journey she never left sight of her four boys and their families. For that we are so grateful. Goodbye our dearest mother. We trust that all memories and her life are safe with God and that she is dancing up above cheek to cheek with John.
A Funeral will be held in Ottawa at MacKay United Church at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 31, 2017 with a Reception afterward in the church hall.
Hulse, Playfair & McGarryhpmcgarry.ca