Marian Jean Whitfield (née Campbell) passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2023 at the age of 100 years and 95 days.
She leaves behind – and is mourned by – her children Peggy Bird (David) of Nova Scotia, Catherine O’Brien (Terry) of Kincardine, Stephen Cross (Bonnie) of Stratford and Barbara Cross-Tedesco (Ted) of Media, Pennsylvania.
Her grandchildren Chris Thomson, Michelle Oros, Chris Butters, Melanie O’Brien, Laura Woods and Peggy O’Brien were always in her thoughts. She had 11 great-grandchildren who filled her days with laughter and joy.
Marian was predeceased by her brother Jack Campbell, her son and daughter-in-law Michael and Irene Butters, and husbands Eric Butters, of the U.K., Gilbert Cross of Kincardine, and John Mitchell.
Born in Detroit, Michigan on Oct. 3, 1922, she went to public school there but lived in Kincardine, at the cottage behind the fairgrounds, in the summer. Her days were full of friends swimming at the beach and off the dock. When she was back in Detroit, Mom was lucky enough to attend numerous Detroit Tiger’s ball games and Red Wings hockey games because her Dad, who worked for the Detroit Times, got complimentary tickets.
Marian was proud of her Kincardine heritage and she made sure that we learned that: our great-great-grandfather was a path master and got a crown land grant downtown; his house at 786 Princes was one of the first brick houses in town; the parking lot behind the Royal Bank was her mother’s orchard; and Uncle Tony and his partner owned and operated the pavilion.
Mother earned a scholarship to Wayne State University at 16 years of age, but finished it 40 years and five children later at Waterloo University.
She married Eric Butters, an R.A.F. officer stationed at Port Albert. But sadly, in 1944, she travelled on Winston Churchill’s flying boat to the U.K so that he could meet his newborn son before dying. She stayed for six months through the Blitz during the Second World War, then returned to Kincardine.
Five years later she married Gilbert Cross, the local baker. Seven years passed and the family moved to Stratford so that Marian could attend Teacher’s College at the age of 40. She taught for 25 years in Stratford and then Listowel. Every second year she took courses to upgrade, but every other year we camped from one end of North America to the other.
In 1971, Marian married John Mitchell, who passed a mere three years later.
When Marian retired in 1987, she took a six-week wilderness camping and portaging course from Lakehead University. Then she traded her canoe and backpack for a suitcase and went to France for a month. Three months after that, she married William Whitfield and became a dairy farmer’s wife.
Mom travelled around the world and drove to Nova Scotia every summer, taking a different grandchild with her each year. When Bill passed away 20 years later, she moved back to Princes Street in Kincardine to be close to family. She was at Tiverton Park Manor for only one month, but loved the food and said they were all so kind.
She was a master quilter (winning prizes at all the fairs), a weaver, a voracious reader, a lifelong learner, a culinary teacher, a hospital volunteer and a euchre-playing world traveller. She always said “life is not a destination, but an adventurous journey where you meet the most interesting people.”
We, the family, would like to thank Dr. Roth, Kylie Pike, Suzanne Craven and Mona Brown from Rural Home Care for keeping her healthy these past 16 years, and Dr. Murray and the nursing staff for their kind and gentle care her last four days.
Inurnment will be held at Kincardine Cemetery in the summer, when we can all come home.
In her memory, donations can be made to the Kincardine Hospital Foundation.
Portrait and memorial available online at www.daveylinklaterfuneralhome.com.