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"CAC" 2003 Obituary


CACCIA o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-04-21 published
By Deborah CRAWFORD Monday, April 21, 2003 - Page A14
Mother, neighbour, secretary. Born April 28, 1919, in Toronto. Died December 30, 2002, of natural causes, in Toronto, aged 83.
Isabel (PATERSON) STRICKLAND was a wonderful person and all who knew her realized what a very special lady she was.
Isabel was born in Toronto and raised in Swansea with her older brother, Tommy. Her father passed away when she was very young, leaving her mother to raise and support the family. Isabel, at a very young age, had to learn how to cook, sew, and keep house. She worked after school and on Saturdays as a housemaid for several different families, as well as caring for their children.
Isabel married the love of her life on May 2, 1942: Leonard STRICKLAND of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Sadly, their marriage was cut short by tragedy: he was reported missing in action on February 6, 1944. His plane's last known position was somewhere over Scotland, and was never found. At the young age of 25, Isabel found herself a widow, never to remarry.
Isabel, being a strong, determined lady ahead of her time, would carry on and make a wonderful life for herself. In December, 1944, she bought her own house on Toronto's Dufferin Street. She lived in this house with her mother, but had to rent out the top floor in order to make the mortgage payments. Over the years she had several boarders come and go; some remained truly good Friends. Her mother, Annie, passed away in her home on January 29, 1947, after Isabel had cared for her through a long illness.
Isabel continued to work hard and rent out rooms in her home. She had many jobs over the years: working for Thomas Edison Co., Bell Canada, Executone Ltd., and even working in a butcher store.
In 1949, a young family with three small children moved in next door to her. She became a very close friend to this family, helping them out by providing clothing and food on many occasions. By the summer of 1955, the family had three more children and was in turmoil. The mother had left the family, leaving the father with six children to care for. Isabel agreed to care for one of the children -- me -- on a temporary basis. Unfortunately, because of the complete break-up of the family, I was not able to return to my parents. Eventually, Isabel became my legal guardian and raised me just as though I were her very own daughter. I lived with Isabel for 20 years, and she was a loving, caring, supportive mother to me.
At the age of 59, Isabel took on a full-time job in her community working for Member of Parliament Charles CACCIA, as his constituency secretary for the Davenport riding. This job was well-suited to Isabel as it consisted of helping people with their problems. She had to learn many aspects of many social issues such as immigration, welfare, and the old-age pension. In October of this past year, Isabel was awarded The Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for her outstanding contribution and service in the riding of Davenport.
Isabel took on this job with great conviction and with the utmost patience, and worked for Mr. CACCIA for 16 years, retiring at the age of 75. One year after she retired, she became quite ill and had to give up her home. She bought an apartment in Etobicoke and lived there for approximately four years until her health continued to fail. She spent the last three years in a nursing home until she passed away.
One would think that being a widow at such a young age and never remarrying, would perhaps lead to a lonely life, but not in Isabel's case. Isabel had a wonderful sense of humour and loved to tell stories (and she had many to tell). People used to say to her, "You should write a book," but this was not to be. Instead, she fulfilled her life by helping so many others, giving us the most precious thing of all: her time.
Deborah is Isabel's daughter.

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