August 11, 1936 – March 23, 2020
Heaven gained an angel – but she earned her wings a long time ago.
Noreen Jessie Williams (McLeod) was born in Calgary on August 11, 1936 to Donald McLeod and Margaret (Peggy) McLeod (Schwieger). She passed away on March 23, 2020 at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. She was 83. Noreen had been struggling with COPD, heart disease, and went into hospital after a hip fracture from a fall. She ultimately succumbed to viral pneumonia.
Noreen was raised in Calgary and attended Holy Cross Hospital Nursing Program, receiving her LPN designation in 1955. It was there she met her lifelong friend Marilyn Mair and they remained friends ever since. In 1955 Noreen married Lloyd Charles Harper and in 1956 their first son Charles was born.
Dad was in the military and the young Harper family moved around quite a bit, including Kingston, ON where their daughter Linda was born in 1960, and Oromocto, NB where their second son Michael was born in 1968. Mom and Dad split up soon after and Noreen took her three children and settled in Summerland BC, where she worked as a nurse at the Summerland hospital and bought a home to raise her family. Noreen retired as a nurse in 1977 and began a 20+ year career in the post office working in Summerland, Chase and as the Postmaster in Kaleden for many years. She retired in 2000 and moved back to Summerland, where she stayed until her move to Vernon in 2018.
Noreen had a strong work ethic and a drive to get involved and give back to her community. She volunteered her time in many organizations including Soroptimists of Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Postmasters & Assistants Association, Retired Postmasters’ Heritage Club, Kaleden Quilting Group, Summerland Pleasure Painters, Kettle Valley Railway Society and Summerland Fall Fair. Faith was important to her and she gave her time to various churches over the years.
Over the years, mom enjoyed many hobbies including quilting with her friends in Kaleden, painting, reading, puzzles, cooking, collecting bells, playing the piano, watching movies, and she played a mean game of Skip-bo. Above all she adored her family, her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Predeceased by her mother, Margaret (Peggy) Howe (Schwieger), stepfather, Samuel Howe, her father, Donald McLeod, and her twins Patricia Anne and Mary.
Survived by her brother, Rev. Dr. Frank McLeod (Bobby), and her loving children: Rev. Charles (Chuck) Harper (Cindy), Linda Cornett-Ching (John), and Michael (Mick) Harper (Shauna); her grandchildren Charles, Joshua (Amy), Lisa (Michael), Wesley (Sweet-Li), Shawn, Nathaniel (Amanda), Jessica, and Mackenzie and Reese. Her great grandchildren: Ava, Jonathan, Sarah, Lily, Brynn, Bennett, Winter, Scarlett, Skye, and Norah. She will also be missed by half-siblings (McLeod), step-siblings (Howe), cousins, nieces and nephews (Schwieger, McLeod).
Noreen is fondly remembered by many friends (who called her ‘Rene’), co-workers and people in her community. She met many people over the course of her life and never a bad word was spoken about her. She was easy to like and liked most people she met. She was exceptionally kind. She never missed sending cards on birthdays or special occasions, something her grandchildren and great grandchildren always appreciated.
She was a dedicated mother and grandmother, a loyal friend, a great example and role model to everyone around her; dedicated to anything she set her mind to. Through life’s struggles she exemplified courage, unfailing kindness, and a silly sense of humour. She never failed to see the bright side of life and always saw the good in everyone around her.
She was strong until the end, never gave up, and when given the news there was nothing that could be done for her, exclaimed, ‘but I’m going back to Scotland when I’m 100!’
Thank you to the incredibly compassionate nursing staff at Vernon Jubilee Hospital, who demonstrated exceptional care and kindness with mom in her final days and hours, and empathy with our family as we said our final goodbyes. This was all during the stress and pressure of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, and their extra care was not lost on us. Not all heroes wear capes, some of them wear scrubs. Our mom was once a nurse too.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date in Summerland. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kettle Valley Railway Society or the North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy in her honour.
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