Passed away at Algonquin Grace Hospice during afternoon tea on November 16, 2021, in her ninetieth year, with loving family by her side. Myrtle is predeceased by her devoted husband of 65 years, Harold Jenkins, her beloved son, Andre Jenkins, and her eleven siblings. Myrtle got her start in 1932 on the White family farm at Roxborough. As testament to her mother May’s influential fortitude and resourcefulness, all twelve children lived well into adulthood and went on to create thriving families of their own. In many ways, Myrtle was May’s legacy—having harnessed her awesome creativity over the course of her life to make the best conditions from little. She had a work ethic that was unmatched, having learned how to endure and even grow from expending sustained, intense effort. She took her first job in the kitchen of a logging camp when she was thirteen and never looked back. As a married woman and young mother on Fraserburg Road, she blazed a trail in her community by taking on paid employment outside the home to secure and expand the family’s financial position before it was common for families to have two incomes. She is responsible for having taught our Grampa the hard-won lesson of saving now to enjoy later. Harold brought the fun and, just as essentially, Myrtle ensured everyone survived the fun; that was the essence of their singular dynamic.
Mum is survived by her doting daughter Wilda (Randy) Doyle, her caring son Greg (Ingrid) Jenkins, and her daughter-in-law, Betty Jenkins (Gilbert). In the spring of their lives, sibling rivalry may have ruled the day, but the kids pulled together in their senior years to support their parents once winter arrived. Mum’s discipline, commitment to daily routines, and steadfast organization in running a bustling household have prepared Wilda and Greg to fill the void she leaves at the helm of our family, though there can be no adequate preparation for the enormity of losing her. In letting her rest, we cling to the sensory for comfort: the singular blend of smells (woodsmoke, chainsaw grease, coffee, bleached laundry, and soup cooking) that defines our memory of coming through the door of Mum and Dad’s redbrick home, where we were always welcome and held.
Gramma J. was the grandmother all children deserve; she loved us and we knew it. In turn, Stacy, David, Lyle, Kurtis, Kate, Kitrina, Candice, and Sam keep alive her competence, grit, warmth, and sense of style. She leaves behind five great grandchildren—Zac, Ethan, Declan, Sean, and Trixie—who are growing up to be strong and centered in their lives because of the lasting foundation she made for our whole family. Aunt Myrtle was special to countless nieces and nephews across Canada; thanks go especially to her nieces and daughter for their dedicated care and companionship throughout her senior years. Gramma had enviable talent for working with textiles: she was a skilled seamstress, knitter, and crocheter—having knitted and darned a million socks that we all still wear to face the coldest, wettest days in front of us. In her prime, she kept gorgeous flower beds—including the roses at the front door—and a large vegetable garden that flourished in the summer and kept us fed all year. Gramma loved dressing and accessorizing. She was a thoroughbred clotheshorse who leaves the girls with a theatre company’s share of treasures. Gramma valued learning and was especially proud of Kate for earning her PhD in education.
In keeping with Myrtle’s wishes, there will be no funeral service. A family gathering preceding interment will be held in spring 2022. For those who wish, and in lieu of flowers, donations to Algonquin Grace Hospice in memory of Myrtle, who was treated with the utmost dignity and compassion by all of the staff there. We are indebted to them for their role in her end-of-life care.