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Eileen Margaret Hargreaves

March 26, 1923 - April 3, 2020

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Eileen Margaret Hargreaves (Knight)

March 26, 1923 to April 3, 2020

A Life Well and Truly Lived!

The story goes that she was born at home during the worst storm of the winter, with howling wind and snow up to the eaves – a fitting entry for a shy girl who would go on to become a strong woman.  Eileen was the dutiful daughter of Kendall and Margery Knight and little sister to the late Phyllis (late Bert) Armstrong.  It was from her mother that Eileen developed her love of clothes and jewelry, a love that she indulged which resulted in bulging closets throughout her life, right up until this spring.  

Eileen and Ozzie had seven children, including quadruplet girls. The challenges presented were met with very hard work and frazzled nerves, and, over the years, lots of sewing, baking and cooking.  Throughout this, the social Eileen maintained her connection to her church, Central United, through decades-long participation in her circle of the United Church Women.  She was also a life-long bridge player, maintaining those connections into her nineties.  In her middle years, Eileen golfed and curled, eventually giving up both but she still enjoyed watching curling on television.  She was hard-pressed in recent years between cheering for her hometown’s Brad Jacobs’ rink and that of Brad Gushue’s, the rink from her daughter, Joyce’s, adopted Newfoundland.  Whichever one, she loved to retell the shots and critique the performances.

Eileen entered the paid workforce upon her youngest child starting school.  This was a very unusual thing for a mother of her generation.  She first worked as a secretary to three Principals at the Sault Ste. Marie Board of Education.  With the extra income, she and Dad purchased a lot on Sand Bay (past Goulais) where eventually Dad built the family camp.  She said, even recently, that a lot of typing went into that camp.  We are so grateful.  It is true to its name, with a lovely sand beach that has witnessed innumerable bonfires over the decades and the generations of family. She was known to some of her grandchildren and great grandchildren as “Gramma at the Beach”.  Eileen continued to work, eventually full-time, for various provincial and federal government departments, including Lands & Forest, Northern & Indian Affairs (so named at the time), and Customs & Immigration.  There were many Friday nights when she arrived home from work to face packing up for a weekend at camp.  Mom was the organizer since Dad worked shift (and sometimes three jobs at once) for his entire career.  She also organized various world travel trips for herself and Dad. Some years after Dad’s death in 1994, she met Bill McCarthy who brought joyful companionship into her life and became her fiancé until his death in 2010.  

Eileen moved to Amica, Little Lake (Heatherdale) in Barrie as a founding member in 2016. She loved playing games, mostly cards, and became the unofficial social convenor at her retirement home, organizing groups of people to join her in “Garbage”, Sequence, Bridge or Euchre.  She also enjoyed Bingo.  She kept up with modern times, taking several courses to learn how to use her iPad, even doing a FaceTime session on her 97th birthday, the week prior to her death.  She loved getting funny or thought-provoking emails and shared those with her family and friends.  Mom was sharp in mind right up until her death, a blessing for her and her family.

Mom had planned to live forever, or at least until her 100th birthday.  We are sad that she didn’t make it, but grateful that she slipped from this life so gently, if shockingly, unexpectedly.  The last act her caregiver, Tammy, did was to apply Mom’s lipstick, saying “She never wanted to go anywhere without having lipstick on”.  Mom, you will be so missed, but I’m sure we will be trading memories for all the years to come.

Left to celebrate her life are her children Sandra Knight, Ken Hargreaves (Bonnie), Jennifer Hargreaves, Janice Mereweather, Joyce Pilgrim (Charles), Joan Szymberski, and Colleen Taylor (Bob), along with her grandchildren Ken Lew (Jasmine), Carra Smith (Graham), Stacy Crocker (Jeff), Nathan Tuttle (Tidar), Corrie Mereweather (Leigh), Ryan Mereweather (Sheryl), Lorne Pilgrim (Janina), Greg Pilgrim (Kayla), Robert Pilgrim (Misty), Caitlin Szymberski (Paul Thériault), Christopher Szymberski (Stephanie), Tanya Szymberski and Steve Taylor (Molly).  Eileen was predeceased by her beautiful granddaughter, Kelley Alderson, in March 2018.  Eileen also leaves a legacy of nineteen great-grandchildren with the first great-great grandchild due to arrive in September.

There are so many stories that go along with such a long life.  Eileen gave of herself to so many, but also lived her life her way.  Enjoy a game of cards or a joke and think of her if you knew her.  The family would like to thank the caregivers and staff of Amica Little Lake and the many good friends she made there who added so much to her life.

Cremation is being handled by Adams Funeral Home, Barrie.  A celebration of Eileen’s life and interment in Greenwood Cemetery, Sault Ste. Marie, will take place in the summer.  An announcement will be made at a later date.