Lea Raven, 83 of Weston, Kings Co. passed away on August 27, 2017 in the Halifax Infirmary.
She is survived by her loving husband Don; daughter Meg; son Paul; sister Stella; brothers Bill and John, grandson Sascha, and numerous nieces and nephews. Lea was predeceased by her parents and sister Wyn.
Lea was born and received her schooling in Toronto. Following graduation, she began a career in nursing at St. Joseph's Hospital in Toronto, graduating in 1955 as an R.N. She then moved to Montreal in order to train to be a stewardess with TCA (now Air Canada), which at the time required a nursing credential. A free spirit, but also a born caregiver, Lea embarked on an exciting career with the airlines, interspersed with nursing work at the Montreal General Hospital and Clinique General in Geneva, Switzerland. Forced to retire from flying when she married Don in 1964 (but not, she would brag, before she imported all the liquor for their wedding), Lea returned to nursing until 1965 when she and Don had a daughter, and she was again forced to leave a job she loved. Two years later the family welcomed their son to the family.
In 1970 the family decided to leave Montreal and lived briefly in Melvern Square, Annapolis Co. NS before settling in Kentville. This first exposure to the Annapolis Valley began a life-long love affair with Nova Scotia, country life, close neighbours and community. Her gardens and many pets added to her enjoyment of life in the valley. Lea was fiercely independent and adventurous, often driving to Montreal or Toronto on her own, but was also totally family-oriented. She loved the excitement of family gatherings and friends visiting, but someone dropping in unexpectedly for coffee brought her as much pleasure as elaborate dinner parties. Christmas was one of her favourite times of year and she loved decorating and wrapping (and shopping for) gifts. In her late forties, she hosted a cookie exchange party in early December several years running and it was always a great success.
After four years in Kentville, the family spent nine years in Moncton, NB before Lea and Don were able to get back to the Valley, to the place she loved and called home for the last 34 years. As her children grew older Lea returned to part-time work at the Kentville Miller Sanatorium and BFM Hospital, and the Moncton General Hospital. She had a short career in real-estate (which she gave up, she said, after learning she'd put her daughter on hold when she called to report a broken arm). While she was incredibly professional on the job, and proud of her work, family always came first for Lea.
After returning to the Valley in 1983 Lea began a second nursing career at the Berwick Hospital and then at Grand View Manor, where she worked as a shift supervisor for over 12 years. She loved her colleagues and the residents; she continued to wear her white nursing jacket and shoes, and RN pin until she retired in 1999. Also during this time Lea was a member of The Weston Women's Institute and the Board of Directors of The Beehive Adult Service Centre in Aylesford.
A free-spirit doesn't fully describe Lea. In her 20s she was the driver on a road trip from Geneva to Greece. A city girl, she embraced the move from Montreal to rural Nova Scotia, and found the place where she was meant to be. An avid walker, she decided to train to walk the Confederation Bridge when it opened in 1997. In 1996 Lea visited her son in BC and slept in his station wagon and went whale watching in a zodiac near Tofino. Shortly after this she visited him in Japan and had the travel experience of a lifetime with a traveling companion from the valley. Lea made numerous trips to Montreal and Ottawa to help her daughter move, never once being able to back-up the trailer she towed. She enjoyed life on the move and on the open road behind a steering wheel and most certainly had a traveling bone and perhaps even a bit of gypsy blood in her. She had a restless spirit and nature and made the most of any opportunity to take a trip somewhere.
Lea loved her family very much. This included the many dogs and cats that were a big part of her life and provided so much joy for her. She could be fierce when standing up for something she believed in, or when defending a friend. She had a big heart and was the first person to welcome a new neighbour or organize a gathering. She never turned down an opportunity to celebrate an occasion. During the last 8-10 years of her life, as Lea's rheumatoid arthritis continued to progress, her health diminished but this never dampened her spirit or her interest in life. She always welcomed family and friends with open arms. Always ready for the next adventure, it is with this in mind that we remember her. She earned great merit in her life through her many sacrifices and in her service to others, and through a willingness to share her time and her resources in caring for her family, friends and neighbours. She leaves a legacy of giving and sharing and enriching the lives of other people with whom she worked and for whom she cared. Lea has begun her next big adventure, and our love for her and memory of her will remain strong.
Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, September 10, 2017 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Berwick Funeral Chapel. Family Flowers only. At Lea’s request, there will be no funeral. Memorial donations may be made to Grand View Manor, Berwick or the VON of Kings County. Arrangements have been entrusted to Serenity Funeral Home, Berwick Funeral Chapel, 192 Commercial Street Berwick (902-538-9900).