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"SEH" 2003 Obituary


SEHL o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-11-04 published
Thelma Eaton Hutchison WILKINSON
By Laurie SEHL Tuesday, November 4, 2003 - Page A24
Mother, sister, teacher. Born February 2, 1913, in Arthur, Ontario Died August 1, in Brampton, Ontario, of old age, aged 90.
Thelma Laurene EATON, the second child of Hugh and Jean EATON, was sister to Clifford and Irene. At the age of 10, Thelma wrote her entrance exams to high school. She was held back a year because of her age and was delayed another year when she became quite ill with whooping cough. She started high school when she was During her years at Arthur High, Thelma was heavily involved in the community. She was the church pianist and was involved in staging several community plays. Thelma applied to and was accepted at Toronto Normal School and she graduated at the age of 17. She returned to her elementary school, Metz School, where she taught many younger than she who had been in the same one-room school. In the subsequent 39 years, Thelma taught students in many Ontario towns.
"Thelma was a dedicated teacher -- she cared for and had concerns for all of her pupils and in turn they cared for and were inspired by her," says stepdaughter Ruth CRUMP of Windsor, Ontario "She was an excellent teacher of our academics but still made time to umpire a ball game, organize the yearly gala Christmas concert or whatever else it took to keep about 40 pupils in eight grades busy and on their paths to becoming productive citizens."
Thelma met Gordon HUTCHINSON/HUTCHISON, who also was from the Arthur area, and they dated for about seven years. The marriage was delayed while they both helped support their families during the Depression years. They finally tied the knot on November 18, 1939. Thelma had two children, Donna Jean (now WANLESS) and Wayne Alexander.
The years from 1969 to 1975 were difficult for Thelma and the strength of her character shone through. She quit her teaching career to care for ailing husband Gordon (who died in August, 1971), her father who died in June of that same year and a brother who became critically ill with diabetes.
Over the years, one of Thelma's passions beyond her family and teaching was the Federated Women's Institute of Ontario. From 1959 until she was no longer able, Thelma was heavily involved with the Institute. She served her branch, district, area and province as president, vice-president and in various other executive positions. One of her favourite projects was attracting and arranging the appearance of guest speaker Pauline McGIBBON, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, at a special Institute event. Thelma was honoured by her branch in 1984 by becoming a life member of the Federated Women's Institutes of Ontario. Thelma also became a life member of the Associated Country Women of the World.
On October 11, 1975, Thelma married Edgerton WILKINSON from Milton, Ontario, who had been a long-time family friend; he, too, had lost his spouse. Together they enjoyed 20 years and with their blended families, shared five children, 18 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren. Thelma lived with Ed until his death in 1996, after which she moved to Southbrook Retirement Community for most of her final years.
"Thelma was always fun and always welcomed us," says Ruth CRUMP. "She loved to be active -- either entertaining or being entertained. She was a true conversationalist and could tell great stories and jokes. She never turned down an offer for a game of bridge or euchre. Most of all, she loved her family and many Friends. The times she laughed, gave advice or just listened echo in the memories of those lives (she) touched -- and, in being so remembered, her legacy will live on."
Laurie SEHL is Thelma's granddaughter.

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