Isobel Irene Erwin
Isobel left us peacefully on August 10, surrounded by family and the sound of Lake Muskoka’s lapping waves. She died as she lived—with dignity, courage, humor, beauty, and grace.
Up to her final days at age 95, she maintained her perennially cheerful disposition, sweet nature, unquenchable optimism and a childlike wonder of the world around her—be it a favorite poem by Robert Frost, the hovering of a hummingbird, the strains of a bagpipe, or a captivating sunset. Her creativity found expression through all she did—in her paintings, in a bowl of porridge she’d adorn with a raisin smiley face, or in a worn-out work boot she’d transform into a whimsical planter.
Isobel possessed an energy that put teenagers to shame. She rose at dawn and was last to bed; up to a month before her passing she was still pumping iron every morning.
Her life was guided by her heart, which was ruled by kindness, love, and a deep desire to bring comfort and joy to others. She abhorred meanness and gossip, and only lost her patience if interrupted while watching “Jeopardy”.
Predeceased by her husband of 65 years, Robert “Jim” Erwin, and her beloved son Blake (Lucy), Isobel is survived by her children: Lorna (Stephen), Stephen (Natasha), Douglas (Jodi), and David (Tara). Isobel is also the cherished “Nana” to six grandchildren: Nicholas, Zoë, Caitlin (Andrew), Kelly, Paul, and Sarah. She will also be missed by her sister-in-law, Jean, and her husband Vern Rice, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The daughter of Scottish immigrants James and Wilhamina Copland (nee Kelly) who settled in Toronto, Isobel met Jim, RNC, after he returned home from the war. He was the love of her life. Five baby-boom children followed, as the Erwin household became a neighbourhood mecca for kids’ activities. She had a rich spiritual life and was an active member of Toronto’s Westmoreland United Church and St. Paul’s United in Bancroft.
Isobel had many enduring friendships throughout her life, including her dear friend of more than 50 years, Helga Weick. Beginning in the 1980s, she and Jim found a welcoming and supportive community on Baptiste Lake, near Bancroft. Our mom spent much of her final year making new friends while living independently at New Horizons retirement home in Toronto, just a stone’s throw from the house she was born in. She was truly one of a kind and touched the hearts of all she befriended.
The family would like to thank Dr. Abe Hirsz in Toronto whose attentiveness to our father and mother’s needs over many years touched us deeply. Dr. Mark Wheatcroft of St. Michaels Hospital offered critically important advice and comfort regarding our mother’s care. The skills and compassion of Dr. Karen Martin and the palliative care team in Bracebridge allowed us to keep Isobel at home.
A celebration of Isobel’s life will be held at a later date. Messages of condolences can be made through www.reynoldsfuneral.com. Donations in Isobel’s honour can be made to South Muskoka Memorial Hospital https:\\www.healthmuskoka.ca