As 2014 winds down to a close, I thought it worthwhile to reflect back on those connected to my family that we lost this year.
They are people who we were part of our family circle and who made a difference in our lives, however large or small. They are relatives that we won't forget, who will live on in our memories, and who will be in our thoughts as the New Year unfolds.
Gregory Phillip Francis Donovan
'Greg' was my son-in-law Phil's father. Born in Montreal, Quebec, Greg was die-hard Toronto Maple leafs fan. Perhaps unusual given the long rivalry between Toronto and Montreal, but true. His quiet demeanour could quickly be enlivened when a conversation turned to hockey. His love of his family, especially his two sons, Phil and Jason, as well as his grandchildren was always evident. Greg passed way on November 21, 2014 in Oshawa, Ontario.
Susan Ann (Kamula) Benedetto
Susan was my sister-in-law; the wife of my late wife's brother Anthony. Susan was a scientist who taught for many years in high schools in Cambridge and Kitchener, Ontario. She was also a devoted mother to her son Nicholas and daughter Catherine. Sadly, she was stricken by a still unidentified illness that rendered her immobile and hospitalized. She passed away on May 16, 2014 while enjoying a family weekend away at a cottage in Muskoka, Ontario.
Howard was the father of our son Chris' partner Matt. Born in England, Howard never lost his love for '60's music and the original vinyl recordings that he played non-stop. A true family man, Howard loved having family and friends with him at his Haliburton lakeside retreat. A skilled butcher, he passed away suddenly while at work on October 20, 2014.
John Gerald Foley
John, or 'Johnny' as he was known, was my first cousin, once removed. He was the son of Gerald Foley (born Lewis Fitzgerald Foley), after whom both John and I received our middle names. Johnny was a fun loving family man who passed away on December 1, 2014.
William David Armstrong
David was my wife Ellen's step-cousin. David lived, as he wanted, a full and independent life until the frailties of age took him from us on September 15, 2014 in the former city of North York (Toronto), Ontario.
This list would not be complete without finally mentioning ...
Ivy was our daughter Jenna's best friend and constant companion. Ivy was Jenna's birthday present in 2003. For more than eleven years, Ivy shared both happy and sad times with Jenna, providing the unconditional love that dog owners know so well. After enjoying a weekend of camping and running in the surf of Lake Erie, quite suddenly Ivy became very sick, passing away peacefully on August 28, 2014 in Guelph, Ontario, with Jenna by her side.
I truly hope that I haven't inadvertently forgotten anybody and I hope even more that I don't have a list to share at the end of 2015.