Louisa McIntyre Vanin (nee Bonar) was born on April 5, 1928 in Creebridge, Scotland. She was one of six children born to John and Sarah Bonar. Louisa grew up with her family in Greenock, Scotland. After her schooling, Louisa went to work at McKay’s Tea Room which was during WWII. During this time, she met a young fellow from Canada who was in the Canadian Navy…..he was stationed at HMCS Naval Base Niobe in Greenock. This was the love of her life – Stuart. After a few years and at the tender age of 18, Louisa sailed across the Atlantic Ocean landing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She then boarded the CN train headed west to Saskatoon where Stuart was patiently waiting for his bride to be. This was quite an adventure for the “Wee Lass” from Scotland. Stuart and Louisa were married on June 25, 1947.
Although she missed her family back home, Louisa adjusted to the Canadian way of life and as time went on she made several good friends many of whom fondly gave her the nickname “Scotty”. The newlyweds settled into married life and bought their first house in Saskatoon. Louisa was a hard working woman who enjoyed the title “Domestic Engineer”. She loved the big black cook stove inside and polished it regularly…. although she was not so fond of the two-hole outhouse outside – especially during those cold prairie winter nights!
In April of 1948, Ronald was born and so Louisa entered into another new adventure – that of motherhood. She and Stuart had three more children in the years to follow – Bonnie, Debbie and Sheila.
The family had grown and the next step was to build a larger house and so they did – in Montgomery Place in Saskatoon. Half an acre for yard and garden meant Mom spent countless hours during the summer months tending to the garden or canning, pickling or freezing vegetables and she with the kids picked lots of raspberries that were supplied to the Co-op until the day she just about stepped right on top of a porcupine who made himself a home in the raspberry patch. That scared her off the raspberries!
Mom had a passion for knitting and she made oodles of sweaters, hats, mittens, scarves, socks, doll clothes and Cowichan Sweaters for the entire family and went on to knit Afghans for all of her grandkids. Later in life, she turned her passion for knitting into rug hooking and created many beautiful rugs. Mom spent many evenings playing Kaiser, Poker or Rummoli together with family and friends. She also loved to watch Dad curl and was his biggest fan.
Mom loved the taste of northern Saskatchewan’s famous Walleye caught by her clan while fishing at Candle Lake. Nothing could beat the taste of fresh Walleye floured and fried in lots of butter! She also enjoyed making up a storm of fresh Perogies and would make them by the 100s for Dad, us kids and Dad’s hunting buddies. Everyone looked forward to those!
Mom had a thing for the clothes line and finally Dad had made her a double fifty foot line to hang the clothes on…it was not hard to fill it up with a family of six but Mom somehow enjoyed the whole process and loved to see the clothes blow in the prairie wind.
When Dad and Mom moved to Quesnel in 1974, this would be another adventure to look back on. Here, Mom earned the name “Grandma Lou” as she was busy taking care of some special little tykes for a few years. Quesnel was where Mom found and fell in love with Thrift Store Shopping and when she could, she would spend hours looking for a deal. It was always an experience Thrift Store Shopping with Mom! She also donated much of what she bought back but nonetheless she enjoyed herself immensely while doing it. This all helped her to add to her collection of jewelry which she had in all shapes, sizes and colors – to this very day.
In 1986 Dad & Mom retired to Victoria, BC. Here, a new addition to the family was a precious little Shi Tzu named Taishi and she went everywhere Mom went. Mom loved being back by the ocean again and loved her “little house” tucked in amongst the big Cedar and Fir trees in their yard. Victoria had diverse cuisine, great climate and several exceptional thrift store opportunities! In 2005, Mom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer and underwent a partial lobectomy. She overcame a huge setback and in the summer of 2006, Dad & Mom moved back to Quesnel where they were closer to some of their family. Although she was sad to leave Victoria behind, Quesnel was like coming home.
While living in Quesnel, Mom enjoyed her new yard – the trees and flowers, the assortment of wild birds that visited the feeders, and watching the deer from her kitchen window. She loved that her grandkids came and hung out and she looked forward to helping in Sheila’s garden – especially to shell the peas. She fell in love with her new little companion – a Bichon puppy named Maggie. Where Mom went, Maggie went, even after Maggie ate Uncle George’s false teeth!
In June of 2007, our family all gathered together in Quesnel to celebrate Mom & Dad’s 60th Wedding Anniversary. She really enjoyed seeing everyone. She went on to enjoy her surprise 80th birthday party and as recently as this past November, she made the trip down to Victoria to visit family even though the Cancer had returned. Dad took very good care of her each and every day.
Mom was pretty feisty but could take it as well as she dished it out. She had a pretty good sense of humour and had a wonderful laugh. She loved her lipstick and it never failed that after a kiss from Mom there was always a loving reminder that she always had her lipstick on. Mom passed away peacefully on January 1st, 2009 at GR Baker Memorial Hospital with her family by her side. We will all miss those precious kisses from you Mom but you will be forever in our hearts.
Louisa is lovingly remembered by her husband of 62 years, Stuart Vanin, of Quesnel, her son Ron (Lynn) Vanin of Kampala, Uganda; daughter Bonnie (Willie) Yaworsky of Brandon, Manitoba; daughter Debbie (Howard) Vogelsang of Saskatoon, Sask and daughter Sheila (Douglas) Crick of Quesnel. She will also be missed by her 9 grandchildren: Jesse Vanin; Charlene, Rozlyn (Herb) & Bryce Yaworsky; Edwin (Angie) & Derek (Kari) Vogelsang; Cody, Caitlin & Cole Crick; and her 3 great-grandchildren: Kelsea, Brooklyn & Hunter. Also left to mourn are Louisa’s sister Jean Quinn of Greenock, Scotland and her brother Bill Bonar of Scotland along with many nieces and nephews on both sides of the Atlantic.