May 15, 1922 – August 25, 2020
Peacefully after a long full life, Ev passed away Tuesday 25, August. She will be lovingly remembered by her family: Bill (Cathy), Jen (Shaun McKee and Anna), Ali (Tyler Gauthier), Becky (Corey Lauzé and Liam); Nan (Eric Hutchison), Cam (Launi Davis, Wyn and Willa), Caitlin (Rodrigo Venegas-Castro); Jane (Bill Medd), Natalie (Tyler Lestrat and Everly and Fraya), Patrick (Kirsten Coy and Calvin), and Maggie. She is also survived by her brother Howard Cox and family (Toronto) and sister-in-law Diane Litchfield and family (Huntsville, Ontario). She was predeceased by her beloved husband Bob (Robert Douglas Litchfield) in 2014.
Ev was born in Scotia Junction, Ontario and raised in nearby Huntsville, Muskoka. Her father was a carpenter, hunter, trapper and guide in the nearby Algonquin Park; her mother was a homemaker and business woman who ran tourist accommodations. Their home was shared with her maternal grandparents and backyard chickens, cows and pigs. She left school in the difficult years of the 1930s to help support the family as a telephone operator. Following this she trained as a stenographer in Toronto and worked in a law office and for Trans-Canada Airlines. In 1946, she and Bob married and moved north to the Abitibi Paper Company town of Smooth Rock Falls. By 1954 they had three children and enjoyed an active and warm social life with extensive community and church involvement. Ev began her lifelong association with the United Church Women and, with a friend, ran a children’s library from the community centre.
In 1963, they moved to Pine Falls, Manitoba where Ev made new friends, continued her UCW involvement and began 40 years of the 2,100 kilometer summer drives back to her family and Muskoka. Regretting that her schooling had been cut short during the depression, Ev completed her high school diploma by correspondence and went on to complete several university courses. This education led her to many years of teaching at Sagkeeng First Nation, both at the North and South Shore schools. These teaching years, with her warm bond with her students and fellow staff members remained, after her immediate family life, were the most meaningful and memorable. She always enjoyed reconnecting with her students and colleagues well into her later years. She was given a humanitarian award by her colleagues when she retired.
Her lifelong involvement with the United Church and the UCW was central to Ev. Her activities ranged from sandwich making for funerals to reading challenging theology. For both Ev and Bob, their involvement with the United Church formed the ground for their shared political commitment to democratic values and socially-aware, humanitarian values. Ev’s deepest life foundation was her commitment to her family. Her many weekly letters home to her mother were balanced by her work to create a home for her own family. On top of her daily family meal preparations, housekeeping and childcare, she fostered her creative side through reading, attending Manitoba Theatre Centre, decorating her homes, painting and crafting (the microwave never looked the same after she blew up the pine cones) and keeping her gardens filled with bright flowers. As her children had families of their own, they were welcomed back for weekends and holidays to her home on the Winnipeg River and frequent family feasts. Nana was always a caring and an energetic presence to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. From over-flowing bubble baths to homemade desserts, dress-up clothes and disregarded bedtimes, weekends at Nana’s were fun times.
Ev loved history and genealogy and this interest was enhanced by her travels with Bob in later life. They camped in their tiny Boler trailer along the Alaska highway to retrace Bob’s surveying work during the war. They toured Europe extensively, including her ancestral Orkney Islands, and visited Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Ev once spoke of wondering how “little Evie Cox” managed to travelled to these destinations.
We heard frequently from all the care givers, nurses, therapists and doctors in her home, the Pine Falls Hospital, and Sunnywood Care Home how interested, and interesting, our Mum was. In return, we have to express our profound gratitude for all of those who cared for Evelyn as she moved towards her final 98th year. Your warm and essential work over many years is greatly valued.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to UNICEF or to a charity of your choice.
While acknowledging Ev (and Bob’s) involvement with and commitment to the Pine Falls United Church, the town, and surrounding communities, the family has chosen to have a private memorial service for Ev due to pandemic conditions. Given this isolating situation, notes of remembrance to obituary sites will be very gratefully accepted.Print This Obituary & Condolences