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1920 Gladys 2023

Gladys Winona De Vries

April 14, 1920 — April 30, 2023

Gladys de Vries passed away on Sunday, April 30, 2023 at the age of 103 years.

She leaves behind her three children, Rosanne de Vries, of Haileybury, Ontario, David (Marlene) deVries, of Seaforth, Ontario, and Paul (Gerry) de Vries, of Calgary, Alberta; seven grandchildren, James H.F. (Nancy Proulx) Rean, Lisa de Vries, Greg de Vries, Chris (Steph) de Vries, Kyle (Aylin Bilgin) de Vries, Danielle (Paul) Gardner, Samantha (Jake McInnis) de Vries; six great-grandchildren; one great-great grandchild; many nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren – all scattered across the country. Also surviving Gladys are her first cousins Iris Pilgrim McCoubrey, of Sudbury, Ontario, Angie Ballantyne, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Helen Lywood.

She is predeceased by Henry de Vries, her loving husband of 47 years, who passed away in 1994.

On April 14, 1920, Gladys Winona Davis was born in Cobalt, Ontario, to William Henry Davis and Sadie (née Pilgrim). At that time, there was no road into the area and access was either by railway or by boat up the Ottawa River into Lake Temiskaming and up the lake to Matabichuan and New Liskeard. The Ferguson Highway (now Highway 11) wasn’t built until the early-to-mid 1900’s.

Gladys was the second of five children: Dorothy, Gladys, Willow, Fern and Kenneth.  She grew up amongst her sisters and brother, many cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents, and other extended family.  At the age of two, her parents and three children escaped the Great Fire of 1922 that devastated so much of that part of Northern Ontario.

Gladys was raised in Haileybury, Ontario in a God-fearing home, in the Salvation Army, where around 1936-37, as a teenager, she first met Henry de Vries, a tall, handsome, young Salvationist officer stationed in New Liskeard and Haileybury. After his relocation, it would be almost eight years before she saw him again.  In 1939 Gladys attended the Salvation Army officer training facility in Toronto. The twelve-month course was cut short after nine months when World War II began, and the cadets graduated as Officers and were sent out to work.

From 1942 to 1944, Gladys trained and graduated as a Pediatric Nurse at the Salvation Army’s Catherine Booth Hospital in Montreal. Her specialty was Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Child Care. When she returned to Ontario, Gladys had to write the provincial exam and was licensed to work as a Registered Nursing Assistant or RNA.

Gladys met Henry again in Southwestern Ontario, and they were married the 29th of April, 1947. They lived and worked in several towns in Southern and Northern Ontario, where their three children were born: Rosanne in Hamilton, Ontario in 1948; David in Wingham, Ontario in 1949; and Paul in Timmins, Ontario in 1953.  In 1956, Gladys and Henry decided to leave the Salvation Army and return to Haileybury, Gladys’ hometown in Northern Ontario. They lived in the Tri-Towns area until 1964.  Eventually, Henry went into ministry with the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec. While he studied for three years at McMaster University in Hamilton, Gladys carried out his responsibilities at the little church in Haileybury, including preaching; and continued nursing at a local hospital.

After several moves and eventual retirement, Gladys and Henry settled in Stratford, to be close to their son David and his family.  Henry died in 1994.  Gladys returned to her hometown of Haileybury to be close to Rosanne, sharing a house with her sister Willow for several years.  After her 80th birthday in 2000, Gladys decided to move to Calgary to be close to Paul and his family, and has lived in Calgary ever since.

Gladys was a Proverbs 31 woman: she was industrious and worked hard for her family all her life. She was an accomplished seamstress, making clothing for her children and herself for many years; and shouldered much of the responsibility for raising and maintaining her family.  Gladys enjoyed needlework, knitting and crocheting, her knitting machine, various crafts, and jigsaw puzzles. She inherited her musical abilities from her parents and both sets of grandparents: Gladys played the piano, organ, accordion and autoharp. She sang with her mother, sisters and her daughter, and in choirs throughout much of her life. She enjoyed gardening and walking.

Gladys was a beautiful woman and a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and great-great grandmother. Her strong faith in Jesus Christ carried her through a lifetime of challenges.  Gladys was loved. And is so happy to be in the presence of her Lord and Saviour.

And her children rise up and call her blessed.

(Proverbs 31:28a)

Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

A Funeral Service will be held for Gladys at Pierson’s Funeral Service, 4121 – 17 Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta on Monday, May 8, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gladys Winona De Vries, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Monday, May 8, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

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