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"NOA" 2003 Obituary


NOAKES o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-02-28 published
By Eric NOAKES Friday, February 28, 2003 - Page A18
Tennis player, gardener, crafter, Girl Guide leader, sister, mother. Born June 2, 1915, in London, England. Died January 3, in Ottawa, of natural causes, aged 87.
Elsie KRUGE was a child with brilliant blue eyes and a ready smile, born to Arthur KRUGE, a stage electrician, and Nellie Grimshaw. She was raised in Barnes, a suburb of London. When Elsie was 14, her mother died. In spite of the loss of Nellie, Elsie's life was joyful, highlighted by socializing with Friends and playing tennis. Nellie instilled in Elsie and her sister Joan her terrific sense of humour. Elsie would often embarrass her sister when they were commuting to London together by breaking into hoots of laughter at a book she was reading. She was a noted tennis player, winning local tournaments and defeating her cousin Eric regularly -- to his dismay.
Elsie's life was happy, but marked by tragedy. Her first husband, Wally HALIDAY, an army sergeant in the Second World War, was the victim of a shooting accident in 1941. During the war, there was little time for mourning. Elsie continued to work for Britain's General Nursing Council and met Garnet WOOD, a Canadian serviceman who was convalescing from a combat wound. A wartime romance ensued, culminating in marriage in 1946 in Kemptville, Ontario, and a move to Ottawa where Garnet worked for the defence department.
Adjusting to life in Canada was a challenge for Elsie. Ottawa was distant from family and Friends and, in 1946, was a small, straight-laced city with few of the amenities of London. However, because of her optimistic outlook and her sociable nature, Elsie was soon engaged in activities in Ottawa's Carlingwood area.
After the birth of her two children, Susan and Robert, Elsie became heavily involved in Guiding and was keenly engaged in helping her children get a good education. Garnet was plagued with health difficulties and as a result, Elsie had to raise the children on her own. She was very proud to see Susan become a PhD in literature and Robert working as a stage-lighting technician, continuing the family tradition. Elsie always extended a welcome to Friends of her children and relatives, especially if they were new to Canada. She was a founding member of the "Craft Girls, " a group of ladies who regularly gather to make crafts and partake in potluck lunches. In addition to this, Elsie demonstrated her green thumb by producing prolific gardens of flowers and vegetables.
Garnet died at age 55. Tragedy struck again in Elsie's life when her daughter Susan, who had become a renowned scholar of science fiction and professor of literature at Simon Fraser University, died from a brain aneurysm at 33. Several years later, Elsie's beloved niece, Jill, also died.
In spite of these heartbreaks, Elsie was able to soldier on, hosting the Craft Girls for crafting sessions, going to Ottawa's Byward Market for lunch and supplies and maintaining a regular correspondence with sister Joan. When Elsie was in her 80s and slowed down by rheumatism and osteoporosis, she overcame this by using a walker to work in the garden.
Two years ago, Elsie had to relocate to a nursing home. Typically, at the time, she was more concerned with the health of family members rather than herself. This move for her was a temporary measure, and her stated intention, once she was able, was to return home. She kept active by crocheting afghans for Friends of her son, keeping a small garden on her windowsill, reading and receiving visits from family and Friends with her ever-present smile and her plants as company. Lately, visitors noticed she was subject to extreme fatigue. She passed away in January, to see again missed loved ones.
Eric NOAKES is Elsie's cousin. He wrote this with help from her sister, Joan.

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