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On February 21, 2021, at 100 years of age, Ellen Dick (nee Temple) passed away peacefully at the Wawanesa Health Centre. Ellen was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on January 20, 1921, the oldest of four children to Francis and Jean Temple.
Ellen grew up in the city and enjoyed playing and swimming with her sister Gracie and two brothers, Frank and Eddie. She took good care of her younger siblings, she was known to frequently sneak down to the docks to retrieve leftover fruit from the bottom of shipping barrels to share with them. Ellen worked at many jobs as bringing in an income was very crucial at this time. Money was scarce and food stamps were needed to provide for the family. Ellen worked in a clothing factory for a while but wanted to join the military. She was too young at that time, so she helped with the war effort by taking a welding course to work on welding invasion barges and filling bombs. This was the job she was very proud of.
She met the love of her life, Clifford Dick, who was serving his country during World War II in England in 1941. They were married on December 2, 1942 in Edinburgh.
Ellen came to Canada on the Mauritania, a ship that brought war brides & their children to Canada from England. Although in later years, “Grandma” preferred to refer to it as the Empress of Scotland, a much more famous ship in its day or maybe she just loved the name. Whatever the ship name, it docked at Pier 21 in Halifax in March of 1946 after the war had ended, with Ellen on board. She then took the train to Manitoba where Cliff had returned to earlier in October of 1945. It was then that Ellen began her life in a new country.
They spent a short period of time in Gilbert Plains but their home which was near and dear to them was Wawanesa. Together, they raised four children and enjoyed the aspects of small town living, getting involved in many community events. Her four kids have fond memories of coming home frequently after school to fresh baked bread or cinnamon buns.
With Cliff having his parents and sisters living close by, they had many meals and family gatherings together. Cliff worked as a carpenter, building several homes in the town and surrounding district. Ellen worked a short stint at the hotel restaurant and later held a job at the hospital in Wawanesa for many years as a nurse’s aid. She was also in charge of the sterilization of the surgical equipment.
After their children had grown and left home, Cliff & Ellen would travel to Alberta and BC to spent time with their grandchildren. They were known to bring out many items, some very large, that had to be strapped to the roof of their car. Where there was a will, there was a way...anything for the grandkids!
Cliff and Ellen enjoyed playing many a card game with their friends. They followed the harness racing circuit and Ellen loved the gambling and betting on her favourite horse. She enjoyed her curling in the winter months and later on in life, she and Cliff took up golfing at Glenboro. The score didn’t matter, it was getting out and enjoying the scenery and the outdoors that was most important. They also attended a few curling competitions, near and far, the most special one being their trip with friends to the World Curling in Glasgow, Scotland in 1985. As an active curler in the ladies league in Wawanesa for many years, she was affectionately known as “Scottie”.
Ellen liked nothing more than jumping on a bus with friends to the casino in Belcourt, ND. Those day trips were loads of fun to her. When the Sandhills Casino opened up in 2014, she was in her glory to be living so close. Several trips were made to the casino playing the slots! But Ellen’s most favourite activity was Bingo, which she enjoyed for many, many years with her faithful friend, Olive. The girls would travel to many a bingo hall and that was pure enjoyment. Ellen was well known and teased for her ongoing extreme good luck and she would never hesitate to tell you how often she won!
The Wawanesa Health Centre was her home for nine years. She was very happy and comfortable there. We often heard “if you have to be somewhere, this is the place to be” and “this room is just the perfect size for a small person like me.” Ellen was well cared for and enjoyed the staff immensely. It was definitely her “all inclusive” as she would often tell us “the meals are wonderful and they even do my laundry!”
Ellen always maintained an upbeat personality, she was positive and looked on the bright side of life. She had a great sense of humour and loved to share funny stories or jokes with the staff and other residents. She was most proud of her family and I’m sure the staff, friends and neighbours heard many a story about her kids and grandkids.
Being Scottish, “Grandma” was very frugal and always looking for a bargain. On an outing to Montana’s Restaurant she noticed a sign on the wall that read, Free Wifi, and she was adamant that the family order some of that!
Ellen was predeceased by her husband, Cliff in 1991. She is survived by her four children, Brian (Penny), Jeannie (Joe), Trish (Daryl), and Ken (Linda); eight grandchildren, Tanya (Brett), Rochelle (Derek), Marnie (Sam), Jason (Helen), Breanna (David), Braden, Loraya and Tarm as well as great grandchildren Ashlynn, Damon & Camrynn, Logan & Cayden, Dominic & Meah, and six month old Gaige who had several window visits with Great Grandma during COVID-19.
“Wee Ellen” was always very grateful for her good health and she enjoyed a long and wonderful life.
A family graveside service will be held on Friday, February 26th at the Wawanesa Cemetery.
For those wishing to view the service, the webcast is available at www.willmorchapel.com. Jamieson’s Funeral Services of Glenboro in care of arrangements.
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