Obituary of Phyllis Gertrude Holmes
It is with deep sorrow that we announce that Phyllis Gertrude (Wightman) Holmes, 96, died at home on Sunday, February 26, 2023. Born in Wingham, Ontario, she was the daughter of the late Janie Viola (Campbell) and James Chester Wightman. She was a graduate of Victoria Hospital School of Nursing, London, and she received a Certificate in Public Health Nursing from The University of Western Ontario. She was posted with the Victorian Order of Nurses to Nova Scotia, which became her beloved home for more than seventy years.
Phyllis was a nurse at heart. When she took a break from active nursing to raise her children, she continued her lifelong passion for health care. She served on a number of health boards, including The Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia. She was humbled to have an award in her name created by the Valley Chapter, which was presented annually to a recipient for their outstanding contribution. She played an integral role in the establishment of Well Woman Clinics at Hants Community Hospital, and she was a member of Hantsport Hospital Auxiliary. She was a devoted participant in the volunteer program at Blanchard Fraser Memorial and Valley Regional Hospitals. On a couple of occasions, she served as nurse at school spring camps. She participated in the Terry Fox Run (or a portion thereof) for thirty-three years, her last run taking place just days before her ninety-fourth birthday. She lovingly supported several generations of her family through serious illness and end of life care. She had a gift for making people feel safe and comfortable.
Phyllis was an active community member, and she was honoured to represent Hantsport as Volunteer of the Year. She was a member of Avon United Church (formerly St. James United), where she sang in the choir for many years, and she was a life member of the United Church Women. Through the years, she volunteered with the Hantsport Memorial Community Centre, and she was touched to receive an honorary life membership from the Hantsport and Area Historical Society.
Phyllis loved to write, which led her to enrol in creative writing classes at Acadia University in later years. She was a faithful correspondent, always in longhand, and she exchanged letters with family, friends and former classmates until she was no longer able. Never one to procrastinate, Phyllis was quick to send a thank-you note or to reach out to those experiencing a difficult time.
Phyllis was an avid gardener. This spring will be particularly poignant when her spectacular peonies and irises appear, almost magically, in her perennial beds.
Always an advocate of “not blowing your own horn”, Phyllis would, no doubt, cringe at all that has been written here. She was a remarkable, resilient woman, who cared deeply for others. She was our rock, our cheerleader, our compass, and we will continue to be inspired by her wisdom and her example.
Phyllis is survived by son, Robert; daughter, Jennifer; grandchildren, David Bleakney, Ian Bleakney (Marie-Claire Onyschuk), Cathleen Bleakney (Michael Clarke); brother, Donald (Jenny) Wightman and their children; her ever-watchful canine companion, Sleeman; several cousins; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Besides her parents, Phyllis was predeceased by her husband, C. Courtney “Bud” Holmes; daughter, Jane Holmes; son-in-law, Austin Bleakney.
The family wishes to express heartfelt appreciation to Dawn Lowe NP and her team, Mary-Ann and Kayleigh, for their care and invaluable home visits; to the VON; to Continuing Care; to Josh at DeMont’s; to extended family, friends and neighbours for their many acts of kindness; to Patty Fraser for her compassionate home care; and to Heather Horne for her wisdom, her keen eye and her loving support of “Miss Phyllis.”
A celebration of Phyllis’ life will be held at Avon United Church, Hantsport, on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 2 p.m., Rev. Paula Gale officiating (masks encouraged). A private interment will take place at Riverbank Cemetery, Hantsport. Arrangements have been entrusted to DeMont Family Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 419 Albert St., Windsor (902-798-8317). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Avon United Church, Hantsport.
“Little by little, as we grieve for lost loved ones, we begin to remember not just that they died, but that they lived.”
Celebration of Life
In Loving Memory
1926 - 2023
419 Albert St., PO Box 981