ISHERWOOD email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-26 published
Doreen Ruth ISHERWOOD
By Colleen ISHERWOOD, Friday, December 26, 2003 - Page A32
Mother, sister, grandmother, poet, ceramist, traveller, dog lover. Born December 3, 1925, in Hamilton, Ontario. Died March 2 in Hamilton, of lung cancer, aged 77.
Doreen Ruth HILL was born the youngest of the three HILL sisters: Fern, Joyce and Doreen. She grew up in Hamilton, finished school and went to work at Westinghouse, where she met a young man named Maurice ISHERWOOD. Doreen and Maurice fell in love -- but the war intervened. Maurice went off to join the navy, and Doreen worked for the Red Cross. But they wanted to get married, and on October 21, 1944, they did just that.
Their wedding was crammed into a four-day period when Maurice was on leave from the war. And Doreen didn't get much warning! In fact, she had to borrow a wedding dress from a friend, in a hurry. Honeymoon? Well, that was a quick weekend in Montreal. The marriage didn't get off to a great start -- but it was a good marriage. It lasted for almost 59 years.
Do and Mo, as they became known, had three sons: Frank in 1948, Steve in 1952 and Mark in 1958. When I first started dating their son Steve in the 1970s, I must admit I found Doreen rather outspoken. She told us exactly what she thought, no holds barred -- how rusty our car was, how Steve's student digs had wall-to-wall dog hair, how threadbare Steve's cords were, and how university-educated kids like Steve and I were totally lacking in ordinary common sense! I won't comment on how accurate her comments were, but I will say this: Doreen only spoke her mind to the people she liked.
In the 1970s, Do and Mo had a fabulous social life, with Friends that partied and vacationed together all the time. They took cruises to exotic locations like Mexico, the Caribbean and Alaska one of their most memorable trips was to Hawaii in 1975. As the ISHERWOOD women looked through old photo albums to find photos for a collage to display at the funeral, we came across pictures of Doreen and her buddies in hula wear, modelling baby-doll pajamas, and posing with some very young, good-looking men who were not Mo or any of the other husbands! Back home, their gang had Englebert Humperdinck parties, bon-voyage parties, welcome-back parties, nifty-fifty parties -- any excuse would do. And for each occasion, Doreen would write a funny poem.
My kids always called Doreen "Freezie Grandma." That was because she would serve Mr. Freeze pops when we came to visit. Even years later, when the kids had outgrown Mr. Freeze pops, the name still stuck. Doreen and her granddaughters did ceramics together -- making garden elves, beer steins, ducks, angels, and more. Doreen also loved holding garage sales. She had one warning for her "saling" buddies. She'd say, "When I'm gone, don't you dare sell my good china for 10 cents a plate at some bloody garage sale!"
The last few years were tough ones for Doreen, as she struggled with cancer and other ailments. But throughout those years, she demonstrated that she was a strong and determined woman. When her eldest grand-daughter, Tara-Lyn, announced her engagement to Christopher CHORLEY in early 2001, Tara and Doreen set about making 150 ceramic candle holders -- one for each guest at the wedding. Doreen was already struggling with health problems at that time, and it seemed highly unlikely that she would ever last the year-and-a-half until the wedding.
But not only did she last, she also looked absolutely fantastic as she saw her oldest grandchild married in June, 2002. And for those who attended the wedding, the little candle-holders provide not only a memory of Tara-Lyn and Chris's celebration, but also of the special grandmother who helped make them.
Colleen is Doreen's daughter-in-law.
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