We once asked our mother what she would like us to include in her obituary and she smiled and said “Mildred Richardson has died, you may now all live in peace.” Mildred passed away on September 24, 2021.
Born somewhere between 1925 and 1940, our mother’s age was always a source of conjecture and speculation. She fiercely protected this secret from everyone including our father. On one occasion, her unsuspecting daughter-in-law picked up her Health Card which had fallen from her purse, and audibly gasped when she saw my mother’s year of birth. Mildred quietly told her that she would kill her with her bare hands if she revealed the date to anyone. We always appreciated how Mildred personalized her threats.
Mildred and “Daddy Roy” were married on September 1, 1956. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Dartmouth where they built their dream home on Wildwood Boulevard, which was a tremendous source of pride. It was here that they raised their two children, a dog, a couple of cats, and even a Shetland Pony. They loved to entertain and play host to family, friends, and neighbors and celebrated many milestones including their 60th wedding anniversary in 2016.
It would be an understatement to say Mildred was feisty. “I don’t provoke but I will retaliate” was what she told her grandchildren. We’re not sure if the provocation part was entirely true. Today she would probably be described as a disrupter; fighting city hall or battling to stay in her home, she was a Tour du Force renowned for her boundless energy and single mindedness.
To this day we still get anxious walking through the doors of a department store. We just came to assume that the first thing you do upon entering a store was to demand to see the manager. There was always an airing of grievances with the expectation of an apology or some form of recompense. We have this recurring image of Mildred arriving at St Peter’s gate demanding to see the Manager.
Mildred was the original Tiger Mom whose unconditional love for her children, and later her grandchildren, is legendary. She especially enjoyed time alone with her grandchildren when she could spoil them with treats and sweets that their misguided parents deemed unhealthy. The kids were sworn to secrecy, secrets that they carefully guard to this day.
Mildred served as the Executive Director of the Shubenacadie Canal Commission from 1986 to 1991. Upon her retirement, she embarked on a new chapter pursuing two of her lifelong passions - photography and travel. She travelled thousands of miles by car with “Daddy Roy” who loved to drive, they were a perfect match, distance was just a number. “Have van will travel”. Mildred and her dear friend Hilary organized trips for seniors travelling throughout the world. The owner of the local camera shop was able to retire early, thanks to the volume of pictures that were taken and developed after these trips.
Like many of her generation who grew up in the Depression, Mildred was loathe to throw anything away which led to an extensive stockpiling of anything and everything under the sun. Her kryptonite was the weekly sale fliers. “I got a Deal” was always the rationale used to justify the purchase of her fourth set of Christmas dishes, the other three having never been opened. Our other favorite was “It will be a collector’s item someday” as she proudly held up another stuffed bear from Value Village.
Many people associated Mildred with politics and more specifically with Rollie Thornhill whom she supported for many years. Mildred was a skilled and able political operative who was equally adept at coercing or cajoling people into supporting her candidate. She loved election campaigns and was always prepared to open her home for grassroots events.
Mildred was determined to remain in their beloved home which she did for four years after Roy had moved to a long-term care facility in 2016. We would like to acknowledge and thank their wonderful family, friends and neighbors who enabled her to stay there for as long as she did.
We would also like to thank the all the staff at the Admiral Long-term care facility who cared for Mom over the past year. The compassion and the care you showed were greatly appreciated.
Mildred was predeceased by her husband Roy and is survived by her children Roy (Debbie) Dartmouth, Kim (Seamus O'Dowd) Toronto and her three grandchildren Kate, Claire and Colin.
No service by request. If so desired, donations can be made in Mildred's memory to the Alzheimer's Society. Arrangements have been entrusted to Serenity Funeral Home, 34 Coldbrook Village Park Dr., Coldbrook, NS, B4R 1B9 (902-679-2822).
Online condolences, please visit: www.serenityfuneralhome.ca