Welcome to a memorial to THE Louise: a sister to 12 siblings, a friend to anyone who got to know her, and a mother to two adopted children. Did you know Louise? Would you like to say something about your memories of her? Your recollections would be warmingly welcomed. Click here to leave your message.
What follows is a timeline of Louise’s life. From her birth on the family’s homestead near Prince George, BC, to her golden years in Penticton, BC, this is an attempt to present a collage of Louise’s life through photographs.
Her’s was not an easy life. Louise worked hard, played hard, and suffered from a lifetime of debilitating back pain. But she managed to pour her heart and soul into her relationships: being a mother, caregiver, co-worker and friend.
Louise passed away July 8, 2015 and is missed every day.
Louise’s Early Years
Louise was born in 1929 near Prince George where her father and mother homesteaded. Together they raised 13 children until tragically both parents died within a short time of one another. The children, ranging from toddlers to teenagers, were separated and parcelled out to foster homes around the province. Louise was only 6 years old when she was orphaned. She and two of her sisters, Hazel and Alice, were fostered in Mission BC by an older couple, the Burninghams, where they remained until their late teens.
Photo: Louise’s father with horse and wagon dated around 1933
Louise’s Childhood and Teen Years
Following the death of her parents, Louise and two of her sisters, Alice and Hazel, were fostered out to the Burninghams of Mission, BC, where they lived for until old enough to leave home. Louise describes life at the Burninghams as one of hard work and little praise, a disciplinarian household where the girls provided the manual labour for the aging couple.
Photo: Alice, Louise and Hazel as children living in foster-care in Mission, BC
Louise As A Young Adult
When she was old enough to plot her own course in life, Louise left Mission, BC, for the big city, Vancouver, where she reconnected with some of her siblings, and eventually landed a sweet job in the lab at the BC Sugar Refinery.
Photo: Louise as a young woman in Vancouver, BC
Louise Gets Married
Louise was introduced to her husband, Bill, through her brothers who worked in the forestry industry. They married in 1957 and moved to the little clearing in the woods of Vancouver Island known as Woss Camp. Bill was a hard working logger but he was also a drinker and their relationship became strained ealy on within the confines of logging camp life.
Photo: Louise and Bill in the Vancouver Island logging enclave of Woss Camp in 1959
Louise Adopts Her First Child, William
Louise was unable to have her own kids and following her third miscarriage, she adopted the first of her two infant children, William.
Photo: Louise with adopted infant son William at Woss Camp, Vancouver Island, BC
Louise Adopts Cynthia
Louise adopted her infant daughter Cynthia 18 months after William, and the two children formed the backbone of Louise’s life until her death in July of 2015 where Cyndy held Louise’s hand as she drew her final breath.
Photo: Cyndy as a toddler
Life In Camp
From the POV of a wee toddler, life was pretty sweet in Woss Camp, Vancouver Island. Beyond the white picket fence, the stumps and clearing was the forest. Louise tells the story of always having to keep an eye out for cougars and bears as William played in the yard.
Photo: Louise’s son William as a toddler at Woss Camp, Vancouver Island
Life On The Beach
Louise and Bill and the two small children, William and Cynthia, lived for at least two more years in Woss Camp, Vancouver Island before buying a home one block from the beach in White Rock, BC in 1962. Bill continued his profession as a logger flying in and out of distant logging camps, away from home for weeks at a time. This contributed to the strain their marriage which ended three years after moving to White Rock.
Photo: Louise and her two kids at home in White Rock in the early 60’s
Louise Becomes A Single Mom
Her marriage broken, Louise sold the house in White Rock and moved with her two kids to Vancouver. For the first few months, she stayed with friends just off Commercial Drive while working two jobs, waitressing and cleaning rooms, at the former Blackstone Hotel on Granville Street. Louise eventually found a place in the red brick building on the corner of Beach Avenue and Bute in the West End for a time eventually moving to a room in a house on Nelson where the photo on the right was taken.
Photo: Louise with her kids, Billy and Cyndy in Vancouver’s West End, 1967
Louise’s Uncertain Years
There were about 4 years in the 1960’s this author would describe as Louise’s Uncertain Years, for lack of a better term. Here is a young woman without a profession, making an unplanned go of it in the big city with two kids in front of her and a failed marriage behind her. At the advice of a friend, the kids were hesitantly placed in a boarding school where they’d come home on the weekends. Boarding school provided consistent care but it was tough on the kids being away from mom at such a young age. Louise moved several times around Vancouver during this period, met her future common-law husband Jim Duffy, and by 1970 could envision a future for her and the kids.
Photo: Louise placed her kids in a boarding school during the uncertain years
Louise Meets Duffy
Louise was an attractive woman and men would enter the scene regularly. Faced with the responsibility of a woman and two kids, most would flee, but one guy, Jim Duffy, stuck around. Duffy meant security and eventually loaned Louise the money she needed for a house for her kids. He moved in, Louise worked off the money by assisting in running his wholesale store 1/2 block west of Hastings and Main, and the kids, fresh from 4 years in a boarding school (with weekend home privileges) had a new home where they’d see mom every day!
Photo: Louise, Duffy, Billy and Cyndy early on
Life At The Store
Louise’s common-law husband Duffy, through his store just west of Hastings and Main, Dumac Distributors, was a wholesaler of imported asian goods: watches, knife sets, clock radios, sunglasses, cheap jewellery, novetly items, pretty much anything that uneducated but charming salesmen could carry in bags or in the back of cars to hawk in bars or at Husky stations along the road. Louise worked long hours 6 days per week at the store while the latch-key kids spent Saturdays dodging drunks and low income seniors on the sidewalk along Hastings, just west of Main.
Photo: Louise, Duffy and some of the regular customers at DuMac Distributors
Louise In Midlife
Louise and Duffy split up when the kids were in high school. She owned her house by 1975 and wanted more than a lifetime of working for Duffy who by this time loved his race horses more than he did Louise. During her late forties and into her fifties, Louise travelled occasionally with her sister and girlfriends while supporting herself and the kids through jobs at Nalley’s and Kraft Foods. For the kids, not having to share mom was great. But the exclusivity did not last as Louise opened her heart to men offering no more promise than a bouquet of flowers. She had a string of romances, some trivial, some serious, culminating with a second, short-lived marriage in 1980.
Photo: Louise in Hawaii
Louise Reconnects With Her Siblings
Louise had re-established connections with the majority of her siblings over the years since their separation in childhood. But in the early 1970’s she reconnected with lost sister Marg, and then brother Jeff, siblings who, upon the death of Louise’s parents, were fostered out so far away that they became lost to their other siblings. Louise became particularly close to Marg, left paraplegic from an automobile accident years earlier. Marg was the life of the party and Louise was a close second. The final sibling to reconnect with the Hayward family was brother Alan in the 1980’s.
Photo: Louise’s younger sister Marg who’d been reconnected to the family later in life
Louise’s Sisters & Brothers
Louise had four sisters – Vi, Ruth, Hazel, and Alice – with whom she maintained lifelong connections despite being placed in different foster homes early on when her parents died. Louise’s fifth sister, Marg was reconnected with the family in her forties and her and Louise made up for lost time. Louise kept in regular touch with ther brothers Art, Stan, Chuck, Wes and Gordon through her life, while brothers Alan and Jeff entered her life in adulthood.
Photo: Louise and four of her sisters: Ruth, Vi, Hazel and Alice
Louise’s Best Friend
Louise was the sort of person who others liked to be around and she had many friends from the different areas of her life. Her best friend outside of her sisters Alice, Vi, Ruth and Marg was Margie Goldhar. Margie, introduced to Louise through Duffy in 1971, was well-to-do and lived in a $50,000 house on Capital Hill in Burnaby. The kids loved the gregarious Margie whose friendship and generosity enriched Louise’s life. They, along with a couple other girlfriends on occasion, took frequent holidays to warm climates.
Photo: Louise and Margie on vacation in Hawaii in 1973
Louise In Later Years
After marrying and divorcing and with her kids grown up and on their own, Louise sold her house in Vancouver, rented for awhile and moved to Regina by the mid 1980’s in pursuit of love and change. Harsh winters, health problems and a longing to be near her kids, lead Louise to relocate ultimately to Penticton by the mid 90’s where she lived her final twenty years.
Photo: Louise on her trike in Penticton BC in 2005
Louise’s Final Years
Life in Penticton was ideal. Louise’s daughter Cyndy was close in Kelowna and her son William was a few hours away on the coast. Visiting Louise and lodging at her spacious two-bedroom apartment with long balconies and southern exposure was always a joy for her grown kids and grandchildren. Louise’s final years were met with the same day-to-day enthusiasm she had since childhood. Her eyes never ceased to sparkle. She made friends easily. Eventually, Louise gave up her apartment in favour of a local assisted living facility where she remained until a year before her passing in 2015.
Photo: Louise in April of 2015 at age 85
A Note To Louise’s Friends
Louise’s health deteriorated quickly in 2014 and by October she had been relocated from assisted living (where she received wonderful care for seven years) to residential care (read: drugged and immobilized aged folks in queue to die) where she simply lost the will to live very, very quickly. Her daughter Cyndy, a life-long professional care-giver, was at her side, holding her hand as Louise passed on. She may have lost touch with many of her friends in the physical world as her capacity diminished but Louise held each and every one of you close to her heart and in her thoughts up to her final breaths. On Louise’s behalf, thank you for making her life rich and meaningful.
Photo: Louise and friends hot-tubbing in 1990