February 27, 1944 - March 18, 2019
Surrounded by those who loved him, Ian Wilson, aged 75, slipped away peacefully on March 18th, 2019 after a final brief battle with cancer. There will be a celebration of Ian’s life on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. in Julian of Norwich Anglican Church (7 Rossland Avenue). In lieu of flowers, donations to The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation are kindly requested.
Born in Lancaster, England, on February 27th, 1944, Ian spent his happiest childhood moments wandering the hills and valleys of the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District. The foundations of Ian’s integrity, kindness and gentle heart were nurtured by his warm and loving mother, Winnifred. With her encouragement and support, he completed a demanding 5 year apprenticeship in cabinet making. In 1964, he married his childhood sweetheart, Nancy Metcalfe and settled in the Sedbergh area, starting a family and building a successful business as cabinet maker.
Immigrating to Canada in the early 1970’s, Ian and Nancy and their two young children, Tracey and Neil, embarked on a new life in Ottawa. Ian’s craftsmanship and talent as a cabinet maker was greatly appreciated by his clients. Ian took great pride in his work and endeavored to bring his customers’ vision to reality. His wonderful work survives in many Ottawa homes and in Julian of Norwich Anglican Church. Ian was active in the community, and was extraordinary in his compassion and support for those in need. He volunteered extensively on cancer wards at the General, Civic and Elizabeth Bruyere Hospitals. He was a committed volunteer at Julian’s Nearly New Shop, and an avid curler with St. Richard’s and City View Curling Clubs.
A source of comfort and inner peace, Ian’s gardens also won the admiration of neighbours and garden enthusiasts alike. His rockery and flower beds won two awards, and his water garden was featured, in 2017, in the Ottawa Citizen. His lovely pond provided a sheltered home for gleaming fish, and cooling baths to nuthatches, cardinals, chickadees, finches and the occasionally unexpected heron. A place of solace and a reflection of the hills, dales and streams of his childhood, his gardens helped him work through the challenge of cancer, which had so profoundly touched his family. Ian also found comfort in his sojourns to his British childhood home. Surrounded by his dear childhood friends, Audrey and Brian, and Anne, his trips were filled with long walks, shared memories and warm laughter over childhood hijinks (a favourite story was of making dynamite and accidently blowing up a stone bridge), and quiet talks about their evolving lives. He spent quiet hours reminiscing with Nancy’s family, Irene, Eva and Walter, their sons Adam and Martin, and with his brother and sister in law, Mike and Jane, and their children, George, James and Sarah.
Ian had a profound impact on his family and friends at home. He was a tireless Grandad to Ava, always at the ready to ensure she met commitments at school, church, and social activities. He was a safe harbour and unfailing support to his daughter, Tracey, and a gentle hand on his son’s shoulder, providing love and guidance to Neil and his wife, Angie. Ian thoroughly enjoyed family adventures while camping and on trips to sunny climes. One pleasant walk in the woods resulted in a stand-off with a massive bull moose, followed by a cautious retreat. During a rain soaked weekend, Ian made several attempts at a campfire; and resorted to copious amounts of lighter fluid which resulted in 10 foot high flames and several flying logs. While snorkeling in the sunny south, Ian unexpectedly found himself doing “facetime” with a barracuda, an experience which was quickly dwarfed by landing a magnificent blue marlin. He unashamedly depended on Tracy to effectively keep his apartment in working order, to the extent this was possible (he was notorious for his “filing” system). Ian had also been a kind and caring stepfather to Heather and Brian, providing a willing ear and kindly shoulder when needed.
Ian was a loving and thoughtful brother to his sister Pamela, accompanying her to appointments, regularly taking her for lunch at Tim’s, and maintaining their never ending rivalry over who had the better scratch card (Pamela normally won, to Ian’s chagrin). Ian was a great uncle to David (Cheryl Brooks), Pauline Sawyer (Russ Perkins), Graham (Michele), their sons and daughters, and Mark Parker (Shelley). Always a delight at their family gatherings, his Christmas trifle had become a tradition. There were regular “guys’ nights out”, with supper and the mandatory gruesome movie.
Sharing peaceful walks, sunny days beneath the wisteria, and pleasant winter nights before the fire with his partner, Margaret Olmstead, Ian was a deeply loved member of her family (Holly and Mauro Mazzuca, Lindsay and Michael Potter). Cherished by Margaret’s grandchildren, his lovely sense of humour was always present. During visits to his gardens, Ian would remind the little girls that, no, the pond was not for swimming and, the first time he picked up wee Aaron, laughingly asked if the lad had lead in his boots.
He was a dear and thoughtful friend and neighbour to many on his little corner of Malone Crescent and beyond. Nurturing other’s gardens, meeting friends for lunch, celebrating birthdays at the casino and sharing friendly suppers, Ian’s warmth was appreciated by all. Whether with family or friends, Ian was always ready with a kindly smile, a willing ear, a hearty laugh, or a warm and lovely hug.
Ian is predeceased by his dear wife, Nancy, his beloved mother, Winnifred, and brother in law, Kaare. He will be missed immensely by his family and friends.
Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there; I did not die.
(Mary Elizabeth Fry)
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