Sheila Beverley (Graham) Martin was born in Scarborough, ON, on 11 Oct 1927 and died with peaceful dignity in Fredericton, NB, on 6 April 2019. She grew up on the Bluffs with two older siblings, guided by the gentle wisdom of her mother and keen mind of her father. She learned to gracefully navigate the cliffs, smoke punkwood on the beach, swim in Lake Ontario, nurse a feisty dog back from distemper and, with him, hone her social skills by mooching treats from neighbours. At age four, she entertained local farmhands by singing on a soapbox. She was a natural at domestic arts, but ballet classes and horseback riding made her heart sing.
She married Bill Martin in 1950 and became a wife and mother of immense affection and insight. They remained smitten with one other for the next 62 years until his death in 2012.
Sheila was gifted with an innate sense of optimism and humanity coupled with whimsical humour. "I sat down once to write my memoirs," she said, "but then the telephone rang." While reviewing an art history catalogue, she reached the chapter on Cubism and slammed the book shut, announcing "that is where the rot set in!"
She read voraciously, discussed ideas rationally, wielded a tennis racket well and studied Russian for its poetry. She also played music beautifully: her daughters still recall her elegant fingers cascading over piano keys in sunlight as she interpreted Scarlatti and Bach.
Sheila inspired others with her passionate love of nature and determination to "see the world through other's eyes." Given her compassion, fervent sense of justice and incisive intelligence, and had she been from a younger generation, she likely would have practised law. As it was, her powerful (and successful) citizen presentations before the National Energy Board spurred one government lawyer to ask "which law firm she worked with."
Sheila was predeceased by her sister Wendy (Graham) Innis and deeply loved by all who knew her well. She lives on in her daughters Gwen Martin (Victor Hendricken), Jenny Hughes (Rob); grandchildren Anne Hughes (Paul Clifford), Lucy Franey (Mark), Daven Hughes; great-grandchildren Gavin and Nicola Clifford, Juno and Azura Franey; brother Peter Graham; 'adopted' son Vidas Stukas; and ‘adopted’ daughters Wendy Dudley, Madonna Funnell and – especially – Emma Keats, whose extraordinary affection and commitment enabled Sheila to remain at home until the end.
Everlasting thanks to Irena Petrovic, Rose MacLean, Mary Cherrington, Evelyn Richards, Gerry Bance, and George and Annette Strunz for their steadfast support. Huge thanks to nurses Julie and Jayne (among others) of the Extra-Mural Program for their kind expertise. There will be no funeral, but for those who wish, remembrances may be made to Hospice Fredericton or Fredericton SPCA.