Aunt Audrey

Heading out to St Jacobs today to attend the 2pm funeral of my Great-Aunt Audrey Coutts (Bennett), who passed away on May 8th at the age of 76 after a long battle with cancer. Grandpa tells me he thinks she was number nine of sixteen…of which my grandmother was the eldest.  After all these years I still shake my head at my great-grandparents reproduction skills.  That’s not just a family…it’s both sides of a baseball team with umpires to spare. (As I like to say, Saskatchewan during the depression…what else was there to do?) 

I remember that I only ever referred to her as Aunt Audrey, as the idea to her or any of her sisters that they could possibly be old enough to hold the title “Great-Aunt” was a horrifying concept. She wasn’t even thirty years old at the time of my birth, after all.  

The Bennett family. Ernie and Bessie and all the kids.
The Bennett family. Ernie and Bessie and all the kids. I have circled Audrey in the picture.

Audrey used to babysit my mother and aunt when she was fifteen or sixteen years old, replacing her sister Velma in the role.  She married Charles (Chuck) Southwood in Aurora sometime shortly afterwards and had daughters Lorna, Helen and Karen with him.  Audrey and Chuck were a common fixture in the family gatherings of my youth, and I have video converted from old 8mm film of the times that Chuck would bring his snowmobiles to the farm.  Tragically, Chuck passed away during a fishing trip in 1979.  Audrey would eventually get remarried to Mac Coutts, whom she met at a church service.  This caused her circle of family to increase to include Mac’s kids Bill, Nancy and John.  She lived in Cambridge with him for many years.

Audrey had nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

My condolences go out to the entire family, as we all have wonderful memories of this great woman.

As expressions of sympathy donations to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the Lung Association or the charity of one’s choice are greatly appreciated.

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