Margaret “Fern” (Huntley) Bishop, 1934-2021. Saturday May 5, 1934, brought the warmth of bursting sunshine with a gentle breeze pushing the buzzing bees as the birds sang magical songs during the birth of a daughter: Margaret “Fern” Huntley; born to DeLancey and Charlotte (Lottie) Huntley (Carson) at their homestead in East Halls Harbour. It’s breathtaking to listen to her brother Donald talk about her birthday. Saturday’s Child works hard for a living. In the late evening of December 10, 2021, after a life well-lived, Fern slipped away from our world, in her 88th year.
Fern was a daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, aunt to many, a devoted wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, the most amazing mother, a welcoming mother-in-law, a wonderful grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a trusted friend. She was all this and so much more.
Fern was born into a very large family, whom she loved and respected each and every one. She loved and cherished her parents and was proud to be a “Huntley girl”. She lived by the deep values and beliefs she grew up with. Fern was very much like her mother; caring, thoughtful, and always there for family. She valued kindness and grace above all. She married Robert “Bob” Bishop June 18, 1953; and was delighted to welcome Bob’s family with respect and appreciation. She loved when all the family visited. Her full attention would be with them, making sure it was a great visit, and the more the merrier! She loved to cook and made many a meal in her wood cookstove and she always made extra just in case a straggler arrived. Her kitchen was warm and inviting: baked beans on Saturdays, freshly churned butter, homemade bread every week (often twice), and pickles and krauts in their seasons. Bob always teased that he got the best Huntley girl because she made the best bread, and she would always leave a loaf in to burn the crust a bit just for him. She always made time to sit for a chat and a cup of tea, and she was a whirlwind force when running the home, always making sure there were three full meals a day.
In 1966, Fern and Bob bought The Look Off. Fern became an entrepreneur and business woman, cooking for the public, operating the canteen and gift shop, booking campers and directing tourists, and scooping an untold number of ice-creams. Her strong organizational skills and love of people made everyone welcome and many returned time and time again, especially for her awesome fish and chips. She loved The Look Off and meeting travelers from around the world and sharing their stories, collecting many friendships along the way. Their business thrived and often she would call on her sister, Sharon, to help in the busy season. Sharon would bring Shelley and Leeann, and Archie would come after work. Fern thought the world of them all. Fern was always caring for others so when she learned of three young boys who needed a home where they could remain together: Frank, John and Earl Keddy came to live with them for a time. And despite her busy life, she somehow made the time to take in and care for Bob’s mother Addie, her uncle, Dick Carson; her own mother; and a family friend, Mr. Tucker in their final years. She never would see the old people have to go to a care home. She was resilient, compassionate and confident in these abilities, and even nursed her husband back to health and giving them 10 more happy years after his first stroke.
In September 1974, both at age 40, Fern and Bob had a surprise new baby and in the same month bought a large shore-side property in Long Beach. In ’77, they sold The Look-Off and built their new house in Long Beach, where they would live the next 30-plus years. It was a quieter life, and Fern later described feeling isolated at times, but the weekends always brought friends and family and loud card games: Auction 45. They lived largely from the land, keeping animals and a big garden for food, and setting a herring net on the beach for fish. Later, they would host the county dog pound for 10 years and Fern’s big heart took on the big chore of caring and finding homes for the hundreds of abandoned dogs in that time. She loved all animals, and all animals loved her.
We share our memories of Fern, a magnificent woman who gave us all her very best. She was born with great strength, high drive, and ambition to serve and make sure no one went without. She was often called “Fernie” at Shannex in Greenwich, where she was cared for in her final years living with dementia. We wish to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Targett, her nurses and care workers; we know she made you laugh and blessed you with her songs. We thank her daughter Marilyn Rand for the challenging role of serving as her personal directive of health decisions and her granddaughter Jana, her most faithful and attentive visitor in her last decade.
Fern is survived by daughters, Marilyn (Marshall Rand); Darlene (Dale Millett); sons, Brian (Susan Feener); Alden (Colleen George); DeLancey (Kathleen Duffey); foster sons, Frank (Keddy) Young and John Keddy; daughters-in-law, Elinor (Rogers) Bishop; Sheila (Kinsmen) Bishop; Marina Myra; ten grandchildren, Lorrie; Melany and Aaron Rand; Devin and Dallas Millett; Jana and Justin Bishop; Claudia Bishop; Maeve and Cohen Bishop; ten great-grandchildren; sisters, Sheila (Donald Faulkner) and Connie Burton; brothers, Donald Huntley and Philip Huntley (Marjorie Arenburg); sisters-in-law, Thelma (Simpson) Huntley; Vivian (Lockhart) Bishop; and many many nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her parents; her mother-in-law, Addie (Walker) Bishop; father-in-law, James (Leo) Bishop; her husband of 55-years, Robert “Bob” Bishop; foster son, Earl Keddy; sisters, Minnie (Henry Patterson); Joyce (Norman Deal); Gertrude (Gordon Sim); Sara (Cecil Mitton); Mary (Malcolm Parker); Linda (Cyril Kennickell); Lottie Huntley; Sharon (Archie Buchannan); brothers, Eric Huntley; Fletcher (Helena Hudgins) Huntley; and Carleton Huntley; sisters-in-law, Francis Bishop and Freda (Lambert Taylor); brothers-in-law, George Bishop; Garnet (Ina) Bishop; Donald Bishop; Earl (Doris) Bishop; and Jack Burton; and two great-granddaughters in infancy, Kiersten and Kariann.
There will be no visitation as we honor Fern wishes. A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, December 17, 2021 at 1:00 pm outside at the Elm Grove Cemetery, Steammill. COVID protocol will be followed (distancing beween groups). Service will be held on ZOOM, click here for details. Family Flowers only. Memorial donations may be made to Hope for Wildlife, The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia, Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia, or a charity of one’s choice. Arrangements have been entrusted to Serenity Funeral Home, 34 Coldbrook Village Park Dr., Coldbrook, NS, B4R 1B9 (902-679-2822).