June 25, 1936 – August 15, 2022
In loving memory ~
Our dear mum, Ellen June (Granny Junebug) Simard (nee Gardner), died peacefully in her armchair, cradled in the love of her family, on August 15, 2022, in Nelson, BC. Mum is free again, riding wild horses, climbing trees, and driving her camero in the loving company of her belated son Kelly Charles Simard, mum Winnifred (Winnie) Beatrice Gardner (nee Ferguson), and dad Hubert (Bert) Gifford Gardner. Mum was born in 1936 in Rossland, BC, where she lived with her parents and brothers, Wayne Gardner and Douglas Gardner, until 1943, when Bert went to fight in World War II.
The young family moved to Nakusp so they could be close to the Gardner clan in Sleepy Hollow and the Ferguson tribe in Edgewood during the war. Mum especially loved her life in Edgewood, playing with her brothers in the haypiles, delivering flour on horseback to the neighbours, and helping her Grampa Charles farm the land.
She was the Queen of the Arrow Lakes when she was 15, swam solo across the Columbia River from Nakusp to Saddleback Mountain before the big flood, and was the head lifeguard in her teenage years at the Nakusp Beach. When mum graduated from Nakusp Secondary School in 1954, she and her best friend Rae LaRue moved to Nelson to attend Notre Dame University College for Grade 13. She eventually earned her teaching certificate at the University of Victoria, and Bachelors of Education and Masters of Education (ABT) at the University of British Columbia. Mum met our dad, Peter Ernest Charles Simard in Nakusp in 1958 (div. 1975), taught most elementary grades, especially in Kamloops, BC, and was very proud to be a Learning Consultant in the Kamloops School District for much of her career.
Mum had a powerful influence on her three kids, encouraging us to pursue our educations, find joyful work, and contribute to the good of society. She also made it possible for us to ski at Tod Mountain every weekend during highschool, back in the days when money was scarce as hen’s teeth, temperatures were colder than a witch’s tit, and the snow was hard as nails. You could always find mum with a big gang of kids zooming down the Headwall and Cariboo, catching the first and last chairs of the day. Mum was also a crew member of the all-female team, the Why Knots, who floated to a humorous victory in the Overlander Raft Race.
Mum went on to learn to windsurf when she was in her 50’s, and she swore her waterstart was key to surfing the waves in Mexico and the lakes of Nitinat and the Nicola. She skied with her friends and family at Whitewater Ski Hill until her early 80’s. Mum is predeceased by her son Kelly Charles Simard (died November 4, 1995) (Tiffany), brother Douglas Gardner (Nola), and parents Winnie and Bert.
She is survived by her two daughters of Nelson, Robyn Elizabeth Simard (Bill Heath) and Suzanne Winette Simard (Don Sachs, div.), as well as her five grandchildren, Oliver Raven James Heath, Kelly Rose Elizabeth Heath, Matthew Kelly Simard, Hannah Rebekah Sachs and Nava Sophia Sachs, and her kitty, Lou. She is also survived by her brother Wayne Gardner (Red Lake), nephews Craig, Guy and Jay Gardner (Nakusp), Quinn and Devon Gardner (Kamloops), cousins Barbara Abbey and Joe Williams (Nakusp), Donny and Kathleen Kirk (Nakusp), Joe Gardner (Douglas Lake), Don and Jim Gardner, and many others.
We are very grateful to mum’s family, friends, neighbours, and doctors for helping her pass into infinity.
In lieu of flowers, we suggest donations be made to Rosemont Elementary School, 1605 Crease Ave., Nelson, BC, V1L 2R2, where, after her retirement, mum would often help kids learn to read. Mum, we love you, we are very proud of you, and we will see you on the other side.
Ellen June Simard with her three children, left to right, Kelly, Robyn and Suzanne
TREES, BY JOYCE KILMER.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
To leave a personal message of condolence please see Thompson Funeral Service website: https://www.thompsonfs.ca/obituary/ellen-simard/