Obituary of Helen Jean McKerracher
Helen Jean McKerracher (nee Carey) of Peterborough, Ontario died peacefully on the evening of December 6, while sitting beside Keith, her husband of 66 years, while watching the TV news. Born on a farm near Ridgetown, Ontario on December 14, 1929 she went to the high school there after attending a one room school house across from the farm. Excelling in both academics and sport she was embarrassed at a school assembly after winning the 100-yard dash in a meet of southern Ontario schools when the Principal called her “the fastest woman in our area”. Helen met Keith in Ridgetown, Ontario in 1946, and they married in 1953 following their graduation from Western University. Helen went on to the College of Education in Toronto, earning her High School Teaching Certificate. After teaching Home Economics for a few years, she became a full-time mother, raising four daughters: Nancy (John Casserly), of Warsaw ON and Englewood FL, Dr. Lisa (Pierre Caouette), of Boston MA, Sandi (Andrew Taylor), of Charlottesville VA, and Krista (Michael McCabe) of Ft Myers FL. Helen was the daughter of John MacLaren Carey, and Mamie Campbell Carey, and she was predeceased by sisters Marion Fleming and Margaret Moffatt and brothers Ross and Colin Carey. When her children were far enough along in school she started two businesses which both succeeded because of her leadership and boundless energy. Helen could never see too much of her daughters or her grandchildren, Taya, Tim and Hope Casserly, Julian and Emily Tsang, Matthew and Cameron Taylor and her step-grandchildren Alexandra and Christiane McCabe. She loved them all passionately and unreservedly. Sadly, she never saw her twin great granddaughters, Thea and Cerys Taylor, born in July in Chicago. Prior to moving to a retirement home in Peterborough, Helen and Keith lived for 24 years on a farm with the airstrip where they landed their small plane. It was just a kilometer from Stoney Lake, Ontario where they had maintained the family cottage “Match Point” for 45 years. Helen loved that cottage, hosting the wildly popular Davis Island Cup tennis party every year. She was an active member of St. Peter’s on the Rock on Stoney Lake and St. John the Baptist in Lakefield. They made many enduring friendships on Stoney Lake. At Western, Helen was a member of Pi Beta Phi, and remained actively in contact with members living in Toronto. For over 65 years they have gotten together for lunch several times a year, naming themselves The Bridge Club, even though they didn’t finish the third rubber in the first ten years. Helen joined Keith on volunteer projects with the Canadian Executive Service Organization where she extended Canadian goodwill by teaching English as a Second Language. She accompanied him on projects in Peru, Bolivia, St. Lucia, Russia and the Philippines. It was in the Philippines where Helen took art lessons, and it was discovered that she was a talented artist. Keith, her children and grandchildren cherish the many paintings she did for them. Not many people can say they never made an enemy during their entire life, but Helen was one of that rare breed. She was a kind and loving mother and wife, a dear friend to many, and a compassionate, empathetic volunteer. She will be missed by all who knew her. What was to be the celebration of her 90th birthday on Saturday, December 14 has been changed into a celebration of her life, to be held in the Fireside Lounge at Princess Gardens, 100 Charlotte Street in Peterborough, Ontario. It will run from 1:00-3:00 PM, with memories being shared at 2:00 PM. For those wishing to do something in Helen’s memory, donations can be made to the Peterborough Regional Health Centre Foundation. Expressions of sympathy and donations may be made by contacting the THE HENDREN FUNERAL HOMES, LAKEFIELD CHAPEL, 66 Queen Street, at www.hendrenfuneralhome.com or by calling 705-652-3355.
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