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"DAS" 2003 Obituary


DASHWOOD o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-30 published
Elizabeth Miriam Rose DASHWOOD
The DASHWOOD and SOUTHGATE families. Tuesday, December 30, 2003 - Page A20
Wife, mother, returning officer, organizer. Born January 12, 1929, in Toronto. Died April 6 in Toronto, of heart failure, aged 74.
Betty was a conservative person. Except about the date of her birth -- about that she was progressive, insisting it was 1930, when it was really 1929. There it conservatively remained; no one argued with Betty.
Betty SOUTHGATE spent her early years on Edgewood Crescent in Rosedale, but left Canada when her stockbroker father decided to return to England to try his fortune. Her finest times were spent at her mother's family farm, a place that, 60 years later, still seemed idyllic to her.
The war brought the SOUTHGATEs back to Canada on one of the last passenger ships to cross the Atlantic. Betty survived burning factories, bombers and submarines and shared sandwiches with bloodied soldiers rescued from Dunkirk to return to Rosedale. She was schooled at Branksome Hall and Trinity College, University of Toronto. She left Trinity with an honours B.A. and an engagement to John DASHWOOD. After Trinity came a job at the Canadian Cancer Society, a wedding in 1957 and then children, Geoffrey and Monica.
The swinging sixties came. Betty did not notice the changing times. But not to worry: church and schools still stood. Betty intended to make sure they continued.
After a brief sojourn in Scarborough, Ontario, Betty returned to Edgewood Crescent. There she remained the rest of her life. The house became an epicentre for a broad range of people and organizations. Edgewood housed potential immigrants, relatives and Friends, refugees from house fires and renovations, cats, dogs, and canoes. Betty put up with model-soldier exhibitions, a boa constrictor, drunken teenage parties, punk-rock bands, and, ultimately, rambunctious grandchildren.
The life of the house was often hectic, particularly politically. The DASHWOODs were divided: John was New Democratic Party; Betty worked tirelessly for the Tories. Every election, opposing campaign signs went up. The one thing on which they agreed was their strong dislike of Pierre TRUDEAU. Her staunch support paid off when David CROMBIE became a member of parliament and then a cabinet minister. Her political work led to her becoming returning officer for the diverse Rosedale riding. Betty relished, and excelled at, running an effective election. Several of her elections were hotly contested, but Betty survived with her dignity and integrity intact.
Compassion went with Betty's conservatism. She was involved with (to name several) St. Simon's Church, the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and St. Peter's food bank. For her beloved Trinity, she was a major organizer of the annual book sale, which has raised millions of dollars for the library. Trinity was so important to her that Betty put off medical treatment in her last year to organize the 50th reunion of her class.
Betty had a gift for Friendship. Twenty summers in Port Hope extended her already-broad circle. She had Branksome Friends, Trinity Friends, church Friends, tennis Friends, English Friends and Edgewood Friends. Her correspondence was huge. She sent and received a massive number of Christmas cards.
Her heart was large. Our own hearts ache when we consider her stoic insistence on her way of doing things. Betty drank, refused to stop smoking when she should have, and drove badly: That should be said, too. She held us all together, until she no longer could. She died in her sleep, her heart failed, her body beset by a cancer she defied until the end. She took food to a sick friend, in a snow storm, the day before she died.
Her church was full for her funeral. The church bell tolled her knell. Traditional. Just like Betty.

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