Marion Grant Skillen
Following a brief illness, Marion Grant (Anderson) Skillen died in Fredericton on October 2, 2018 in her 91st year. Born in Newcastle New Brunswick, on May 25, 1928 and raised in Burnt Church, she was the daughter of the late James Gordon and Maud (Simpson) Anderson.
Marion is predeceased by her husband, Norman Albert Skillen, who died in 1989, her daughter, Kathryn Ann, who died at the age of 5 in 1965, her sister, Lois McKenzie, (2012) and her brother-in-law, Lorne Wishart (1983). She is survived by her son, Bob Skillen, her daughter-in-law, Gisele LeBlanc, and their three children, Anne-Marie Kathryn (Tim Crowell), John Robert and David Edward Norman (Chantele Joordens). She is also survived by her great granddaughters Ella Marie and Brooklyn Anne Crowell as well as her sisters, Margery Wishart and Elizabeth Shaffelburg (Bob), and her brother-in-law, Elmer McKenzie and their families. She also leaves to mourn her sister-in-law Norma Skillen (Bothwell), her Simpson cousins, Skillen nephews and nieces and her extended family, the LeBlanc family, from Oromocto and Fredericton.
Mom was blessed to have been born into the Anderson clan of Burnt Church. Nestled on the shores of Miramichi Bay, Burnt Church is in many ways an idyllic, almost magical village. At least that is how mom described it and how those of us in the next generation have experienced it from our early years to present day.
Mom enjoyed her early years in Burnt Church with aunts and uncles, first, second and even third cousins living close by. She attended the village’s one-room school house but had to leave home to attend Harkins High School in Newcastle. It was then on to UNB for a brief stint before completing a BSc in Home Economics at Mount Allison University in 1951. During her university days, for two summers, mom worked at the Seaside House in Metis Beach, Quebec.
Mom’s first teaching job was in Richmond, Quebec. That is where she met Norman, who became the love of her life. After returning to NB and Saint John High School for a year of reflection, Marion married Norman on September 11, 1954 in Burnt Church. Their married life took them to Cowansville, Que where they raised their family.
Courage and strong character are the words that describe Marion. Losing Kathryn in 1965 and then facing down Norman’s two strokes in the early 1970s and dealing with a severe case of Essential Tremor tested mom’s resolve, but true to her stoic Anderson roots, she "stood sure".
There are many people to thank for the love and support they have shown to Marion over recent days and weeks including her friends at Shannex Parkland along with its staff, her doctor and friend Tom Barry, the nursing staff on 3rd Floor East (DECH), Dr. Goodfellow and the incredibly caring staff at Hospice Fredericton.
A ceremony to honour mom’s life will be held at Memorial Hall on the UNB Fredericton campus at 2:00 pm on Sunday, November 4. A private burial will take place in Burnt Church and Cowansville at another time. Arrangements are being handled by McAdam Funeral Home. Donations may be made to the Skillen-LeBlanc Family Scholarship at UNB, Hospice Fredericton or a charity of the donor’s choice.
"I am a strong woman. Everything that’s hit me in life I’ve dealt with on my own. I’ve cried myself to sleep. Picked myself back up and wiped my own tears. I have grown from things meant to break me. I get stronger by the day and I have God to thank for that."