Jean Potter (Philip)
(1913 - 2012)

Jean Potter (Philip)

Saskatchewan, Canada
November 14, 1913

Alberta, Canada
May 22, 2012

Jean Potter passed away Tuesday morning May 22, 2012 at the age of 98. She died peacefully, as she had lived. She left behind five grandchildren (Tor, Freya, Gabe, Liam and Jessica), two children, David and Gerry, Gerry’s wife, Anne, and a sister, Margaret, in Kelowna, as well as many nieces and nephews across the country. She was the second of six children, spent her early years on a farm near Nokomis in Saskatchewan, her early teen years in Saskatoon, and later periods in Nokomis and Kelowna, During WW2 she moved to Ottawa; she married John Potter, also from Nokomis, in 1945. She spent much time in her final years in Edmonton.

Jean had Alzheimer’s these last 10 years, so we lost her slowly over a long period. She had been a lively and progressive lady, who worked most of her life, and was a working mum when it was not common. But she never complained, except when she misquoted Shakespeare: "My joints are out of sorts, O cursed spite!" She was generous and kind to all, loved the outdoors, to travel or hear about it, and had a superb, often dry and quirky sense of humour.

Jean was an active driver until she was about 95, and was a formidable tennis player into her late 70's. When we were kids, she took us skiing regularly at Camp Fortune for many years, packing lunches for all.

Jean was never wealthy, but maintained a prairie woman’s sense of hospitality; as children, if we were playing with friends in the house or outside it at dinner times, all friends were inevitably invited to share our family meal. She loved to camp, and our childhood summers nearly always included a cross-Canada camping trip from Ottawa, all of us jammed into a Ford with a tent in the trunk, off to visit the relatives in Saskatchewan or Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Jean would lead us in a game of I Spy or Geography as Tony the Dog-- or on one occasion, Brewster, our pet rooster-- jammed his head out the window, ears—or feathers-- flapping in the breeze. To her final days, in spite of the dementia, she could make a joke, laugh at one, or quote poetry: “ I bid you goodnight until tomorrow…” We'll miss her much.

Jean’s interment took place at the Nokomis Cemetery in Central Saskatchewan on Saturday, June 16, 2012. There was a short graveside service, conducted by Janice Edwards, which included “To everything there is a season” from Ecclesiastes, several poems, a group invocation and a silent meditation or prayer. Roses were placed on the grave by several of the attendees.

Here is a portion of the service written by Janice, with a small assist from Gerry, and recited by Janice:

“There is a part of Jean with you in the memories you hold; in the love you shared; in the good times you had together. Sights, sounds or smells will trigger your memories of her.
This kind, gracious, generous, lively, independent woman with a good sense of humour who loved travel, the outdoors, reading, poetry and her family will come to mind when you:
Hear the far-off trill of cranes flying over, the rhythmic racket-ping of a tennis game or the snap-and-slip of cards being shuffled, drive along a prairie road and feel the warm wind in your hair, smell the cinammon sweetness of a fresh-baked apple pie, read a poem that she loved to quote, hear someone laugh “just like Jean”, smell the perfume she wore or the soap she used, sit by a crackling campfire on a summer evening….”

After the interment ceremony, a lunch was served at the Nokomis Legion. Many members, young and old, of the extended Potter and Philip families living in the west, as well as old friends from the Nokomis area, attended. A short slide show, celebrating Jean ‘s life, was presented. Gerry and David gave short eulogies and Uncle Marv Potter recalled some memories of Jean and her family for the gathering. Afterwards the group shared many stories and memories and a couple of photo albums were passed around. Several donations were made to the Alzheimers Society of Canada.

Thanks to Jessica and Liam Potter for the slide show assembly, and to Gabe Potter for the screening equipment, to Janet, Doug and Reg Potter and Doreen Riach for helping set up the lunch, to Janice Edwards for the lovely service, and to the local Legion members for preparing the lunch. Thanks also to those who came to the events, either in body or in spirit, and to those who have called or left messages. May you all walk in beauty.

--David, Gerry,( and families)

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Guest Book (8 entries)
I'll cherish the memories of her smiles and warmth that she showed us kids during her visits to Saskatoon.
Cameron Irvine
June 11th, 2012
So sorry to hear of Jean's passing. Our sincere condolences to David, Jerry and family. Jean was a wonderful aunt in my books and we always enjoyed visiting when she an John came west for visits. I will always have the memory of being with her, John, my mom and dad at the Saskatoon exhibition grandstand show when she won the house. What excitement and shock that was. Many other memories of days in Ottawa exist. We were very fortunate to have Jean in our lives.
Bruce Irvine (nephew)
June 9th, 2012
I remember visiting you in Edmonton and she would ask if she could help with dishes, etc. even into her nineties. I know you will miss her but think of all the fond memories. Love to you all.
Laura Albert (Gerry's sister-in-law)
June 9th, 2012
Of all the things she gave me , her optimism was the best gift . She taught me to see the "sunny side" of all things. Even in death , I know she would not be unhappy with her lot. I put her through Hell as a child , but she could always come back with a smile and a cheerful word. I will miss her greatly.
David Potter (son)
June 8th, 2012
Hi Gerry and Dave. So sorry to hear about your mom. We were neighbors for close to 20 years.
Jean attended a few of our boxing day parties and was one of the nice neighbors we had. All the best to you and your families. Glenys, Darrell, Mike and Lindsay.w
Glenys Coffin (Neighbor)
June 8th, 2012
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"Jean represented the modern woman to me. While my mother worked at home Jean held a full time job and also managed to quietly provide meals, keep house, raise sons and pursue writing. I was in awe. I now know how hard that was to accomplish!"
Gay Hauser
May 29th, 2012


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