August 18, 2021
“The end of day is no less in God’s sight than the beginning…”
Maureen passed away peacefully at Dr. Andrew’s Pavillion, Summerland, on August 18, 2021, at 91 years of age. Born in Summerland to Irish parents Nat and Annie May, sister to big brother James and later little sister Jean.
The Gardener’s cottage at the Summerland Research Station, better known as the “Farm” became her home, and the acres of ornamental gardens, her playground. She attended MacDonald School in Summerland. With other students, she crossed the KVR trestle to catch the school bus waiting on the other side.
She excelled throughout her public schooling. After graduating she continued her education attending Grade 13 in Penticton. In 1949 her Irish eyes were smiling when she met and married her husband, Paul. During her husband’s lengthy illness, she went on to attend Normal School in Vancouver, achieving her teaching certificate in 1955.
Teaching, a lifelong career, spanned 38 years in the classroom, followed by 6 years of private tutoring. She loved to teach. Irish roots were evident in her love of music, her skill and quick wit as an orator, her love of performing arts, and her proficiency in writing. She delighted in her love of music and drama in many forms. These included choral, instrumental, Summerland’s Singers and Players, community productions, and as an alto in the church choir.
Never one to back off from a teaching challenge she taught herself piano. In later years, despite her blindness, she continued to share her love of music by teaching her great granddaughter to ‘tickle the ivories’.
Maureen relished witty word play and group knowledge games. She always had a quick quip handy for her team. She was a strong proponent of language arts and strived to give her students a strong background in reading and writing.
Maureen was often asked to speak publicly in a wide variety of venues. History was important to her, and she was one of the founding members of the Summerland Museum then located in the KVR train station. This desire to preserve and display the past often ended up as major classroom projects or school field trips to historical sites.
Maureen was enthusiastically supported and accompanied by Paul in her many extracurricular school activities. In her retirement the progression of macular degeneration to total blindness presented her with yet another life challenge. Her ability to identify voices surprised many visitors and many remarked on her capacity to negotiate her environment.
Maureen led a full life of love and devotion to family, friends, and community. She left a legacy of ‘giving while living’. Her faith remained constant, and she looked forward to ‘seeing clearly again’ those who had gone before her.
Her favorite Irish blessing follows: “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rain fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His Hand”.
Predeceased by her loving husband of 66 years, Paul, her parents, Nat and Annie May, brother Jim and sister Jean (Abernathy). Survived by her children; Connie (Ray), Ken (Dianne), Kirk (Joy), Kim and Linda. Grandchildren; Nick (Tracy), John (Jerilee), Jordan, Nicole (Kevin), Landon, Graham (Lacie), Marshall, Matthew, Kirlin, Maxine and Nathan.
Great grandchildren; Kaleb, Nicholas, Cadence, Arianna, Alistair, Konnor, Armicah, Derek, and Zenith. Sister-in-Law; Jean May and brother-in-law; Les Abernathy. Beloved cousin Pearl and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family acknowledges the tender and supportive care shown to Maureen by the staff at Dr. Andrew’s Pavillion ECU. Donations to the Summerland Ornamental Gardens Society in memory of Maureen Roberge would be appreciated. Summerlandgardens.org or Box 1363, Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0.
Condolences may be directed to the family through providencefuneralhomes.com or 250-494-7752
A private family celebration of life with Pastor Rick Gay officiating will take place at a later date.