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"TOP" 2003 Obituary


TOPERCZER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-09-09 published
Ernestine Millicent BLACKMAN- SMITH
By Mary Anne TOPERCZER Tuesday, September 9, 2003 - Page A24
Daughter, sister, wife, mother. Born November 30, 1912, in Toronto. Died February 10, in Brampton, Ontario, of congestive heart failure, aged 90.
Ernie was the third of eight children born to Rosalie and Ernest BLACKMAN who emigrated from England to Toronto in the early 1900s. Ernie's ambition in life was to marry and be a mother. At the age of 18, she set her sights on John Clare KRAWCZYK- SMITH and in 1932, at the age of 19, Ernie converted to Catholicism and they married. Their love affair lasted until John's death in Ernie always said that she was lucky -- not everyone takes to motherhood and homemaking but she did. Lucky for us that it was my mother's natural vocation. Ernie's life had meaning and purpose through meal preparation, housekeeping and the love and care of her children.
She gave birth to nine children within 21 years -- and this included two sets of twins!
She was organized and had a routine. Monday was wash day and for many years that meant a wringer washer and clothes on a line. Friday was the day for grocery shopping.
Sunday was Mass at 9 a.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. consisting of a roast, potatoes and homemade pie. The parish pastor was a regular guest at these dinners. The remainder of the week was filled with cooking, cleaning, baking, sewing and the supervision of her large family.
Her nurturing extended to her ailing sister and aging mother, as well as neighbours and the community at large through her work for the church and the missions. When we arrived home for lunch and returned from school each day, she greeted us with her warmth and we felt safe, loved and secure.
I can never recall that Ernie had an idle moment. She thrived on being needed and engaged in a meaningful task for someone.
When she needed a rest she put the kettle on, as she had learned from her mother the importance of a cup of tea. This break for tea each afternoon refreshed her and became the social framework for every visit with family and Friends throughout her life.
We were kept busy during the summer because of Ernie's job jar. We would blindly choose pieces of paper from that jar each morning and our selections determined the household tasks that would occupy us until lunch. We learned skills that prepared us for raising our own families.
Our summers were highlighted by two weeks at a cottage on Lake Simcoe where our days were magically filled with swimming, new Friends, seasonal fruit and parents who were relaxed and enjoying their offspring. Even though a rental cottage meant more work for Ernie, she was not deterred as she realized that the cottage experience would have long-term benefits for the family.
She found each one of her children special in their own way and we all had our own unique connection with her. There was a sense of stability in our family because of her. Ernie felt that there was no greater purpose in life than to be responsible for the lives of others.
After her husband's death, she lived in her home for three years with the assistance of her children and spent her final declining year in the home of one of her daughters.
Her funeral was attended by her family of more than 50 people her granddaughters served as pallbearers.
A son wrote her eulogy and a grand_son played the bagpipes -- a fitting tribute to a grand lady.
Mary Anne is Ernestine SMITH's daughter.

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