After 94 full years of living, learning, and giving, Isabel McDonald Blackmore passed away quietly on May 20, 2021, comforted by her sons and daughters.
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Isabel was born in Deer Lake and predeceased by her parents Mary (Allen) and Luke McDonald, and her dear sister Kathie Bennett. She is survived by her husband of 72 years, Donald Joseph Blackmore, and children: Monica Kennedy, Anita McNeill (Joe), Helen Shea (Peter), Kevin (Philomena), Brian (Mary Rose), Denise Schwartzentruber (Steve), and Robert (Ruth); sister Faith Pinsent Grant (Charles), brother Patrick (Gillian), and special friend, Barbara Roberts. She also leaves 16 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, a large extended family, and “other son and daughter” Michel and Marilyn Bry, two of the “Cotton Street Mutual Support Group”.
Isabel’s early life was unconventional. The McDonald family moved often throughout Newfoundland, the Maritimes and Quebec, due to her father’s ongoing search for work during the Great Depression. Times were often difficult during those years, but Isabel’s memories were largely of adventure, and she retained a child-like wonder and appreciation all her life for those times.
In the 1930s, as a young French-speaking girl newly arrived in Grand Falls, NL from Quebec, Isabel met Don Blackmore, and seems to have made a lasting impression. They met again in Gander about 10 years later, when they were both seeking employment and adventure in the new aviation boomtown, and he was quick to ask for Isabel’s hand in marriage! Don and Isabel settled in Gander, where they began a family which grew to seven lively children.
Along with a busy home life, Isabel immersed herself in Gander’s burgeoning community and cultural life. She became a volunteer in a myriad of activities in the growing town. Among them were the Arts and Culture Centre Art Gallery, the Gander District Hospital Board, the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, the Girl Guides of Canada, the Catholic Women’s League, and St. Joseph’s Parish. With her beautiful alto voice she sang in various choirs, including Gander’s first Glee Club; and for a number of years she organized the annual St. Patrick’s Day concerts. She especially treasured the lifelong friendships she developed as a member of the Trefoil Guild. She earned her ham radio license and was an active member of the Society of Newfoundland Radio Amateurs. Her contributions to her community were recognized in 1999 when she was named Gander Senior of the Year.
Throughout her life, Isabel also pursued creative interests in the performing arts, writing, and painting. She was a commentator for CBC in Gander for ten years and a co-founder of Scribblers, ink. All her diverse creative gifts found expression in her recently published book called Silver Linings – Selected Stories, Paintings and Poetry.
Special gratitude is extended to Dr. Casey, Lillian Paul, and Dr. Paulus, as well as the truly special Palliative Care nursing staff at James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre.
Cremation has taken place. Visitation hours will be held at Stacey’s Funeral Home in Gander on Saturday, May 22, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. A celebration of her life will be held later this year.
In lieu of flowers, it was Isabel’s wish that contributions be donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation (www.stephenlewisfoundation.org). As well, Isabel held a very special place in her heart for the work of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Gander (www.ganderandareaspca.com).