Ella Ethel Chamberlain October 17, 1912 – August 10, 2009. After a long active life, Ella Chamberlain, a longtime Penticton & Summerland resident, died peacefully in her sleep Monday, August 10, in West Vancouver surrounded by her children and their spouses: Sally and Gordon, Clayton and Suzanne, Selwyn and Cindy. A small town country girl at heart, she loved to garden, sew, knit, read, and travel. She was a creative, free spirit who could be seen around Summerland wearing outrageous hats, making unusual crafts, waving a Canadian flag from her scooter, volunteering at Recope, exercising and always walking in preparation for the Seniors Games.
She was born and raised in the Peace River, the eldest daughter of George and Edith Freer, who were amongst the early homesteaders in the Fort St. John area. She is predeceased by her five brothers, Merle, Frank, Willard, Harold & Percy and survived by her loving sister, Phyllis, a wonderful, very close lifelong friend. Ella left the Peace River for Cawston B.C. in 1944 with her husband, Harry Chamberlain, with whom she remained married for 50 years until his death in 1991. They raised their children in Cawston, Allenby and Penticton, where both were active in scouting, bridge and square dancing, before spending their last 40 years in Summerland. For many years, Harry and Ella were involved in Oddfellows and Rebekah. After Harry’s retirement, Ella realized her lifelong dream of travelling, RVing through North America and spending winters in Yuma, Arizona for many years before spending 3 months in New Zealand on a trip of a lifetime.
After Harry’s death, Ella moved to Parkdale Place where she continued travelling, either alone or with a group to England, France, Holland, Australia, the Galapagos Islands, Belize, James Bay, Alaska and all over B.C. When at home, she bowled, exercised, volunteered at Recope, made crafts, sewed, knitted and always read. She was very giving to those who were handicapped. She spent many evenings playing crib to provide entertainment for those less mobile.
Over the years, she spent most holidays with her children, enjoying her grandchildren: Suzanne, Reid, Anthony, Tanya, Erin, Ford, Will, and Colt. She was fortunate in her last years to spend time with her young step-grandchildren, Andrew, Carl , Jacqueline, Kelsey, Adam, Thomson, Molly and Ellen, for whom she was Grandma Ella.
During her last years, Ella became involved in the B.C. Seniors Games and began her new passion of learning how to be an athlete at age 83. She won gold and silver medals in 5 Seniors Games starting in 1996 with her last silver medal achieved when she was 91. The participation, recognition and friendship she enjoyed through the Seniors Games brought her joy, purpose, fitness and fellowship. She could often be heard to say: “As long as I’ve got my puffer, water, and my new pacemaker, I can cross the finish line.”
Ella was always a free-thinking woman who found friends all over the world but it was the many Summerland friends and acquaintances who made her daily life so much better. In particular, the family would like to thank: John Nicholson and Myrtle Acton and all those from the Seniors Games, Drs. Brooks, Harold and their very dedicated staff, the staff at the Medicine Centre Pharmacy, Recope, Penticton Hospital, CIBC, the various merchants and restaurant owners, and, especially Alice and Curtis Clark who brought love and support to her life at Parkdale Place. The family would like to say “thank you” to each of you who made a difference in small and large ways in our mother’s life. A Celebration of Life and Tea was held Sunday, August 16 at 2:00 pm in the lounge at Parkdale Lodge, Summerland.