Robson, Florence Irene — Born September 8, 1928 at Boissevain, first child of Robert John and Sarah Catherine (nee Brownlee) McCallum. Florence died following a very brief time at Souris Health Centre on June 22, 2017. She lived her life fully; she was always interested in people, she continued to learn, and she resided at her own home on the farm near Deleau, Manitoba.
Florence was predeceased by her parents, by her brothers-in-law Robert Galbraith, Dick Mason, and Bob Dahlby; sisters-in-law Gwen Mason and Eileen Dahlby; her son Brett Robson and her husband Clarke Robson.
Florence is survived by her sister Christina (Chrissie) Galbraith, her brother (Bob) Robert John Duncan McCallum (Maria), her son Ian (Lois) and granddaughters, Erica and Sonya Robson, and nieces and nephews.
Florence grew up in the 1930’s and 1940’s and being of Scottish heritage learned to be frugal. She learned to care for bees, poultry, to drive the team of horses on the grain wagon, and to garden, sew, cook and preserve food. She also enjoyed playing games, acting in skits, dancing, and going to Boissevain on Saturday nights. She grew up close to her McCallum cousins in the Croll district and the Brownlee cousins in the Beresford district.
She attended Primrose School just across the road from the McCallum farm and finished high school in Boissevain. She did babysitting for many families around Boissevain. She took short courses at Folk School and Leadership School which increased her skills and where she made many friends. A Camp Wannakumbac early participant and a camp councillor, she helped with skits and games. She participated with Young Cooperators in Manitoba where she met Clarke Robson of Deleau. They were married on October 17, 1953, and toured the U.S.A. on their honeymoon. They farmed with his parents Leslie V. and Edna Robson on Tizhome Polled Hereford farm. She raised two boys and provided for her family and others from her large and bountiful garden. She won the Hartney Horticulture trophy for farm garden and yard. What seemed like vast amounts of preserved vegetables, fruits, jellies and chicken meat were canned or frozen to be enjoyed in the off season. Heritage vegetable seeds, especially tomatoes and peppers, were shared with gardening friends. She lived with joy in watching her plants and garden grow, and in sharing the bounty.
She became part of the Deleau – Hartney community and was glad to know and to help friends and neighbours.
Many happy family occasions were held at Deleau and at Croll. Visits by her nieces and nephews increased her joy and visitors were always welcome. Florence liked to write letters and notes; this information helped link the family together. The 2016 McCallum Reunion and many other family get-togethers are highlights. She was so happy to live close to her two granddaughters who really like baking grandma’s bread and buns.
It was great sorrow to lose their son Brett Robson to cancer in 1976. Florence and Clarke worked with Ian and grew the farm.
Florence and Clarke, accompanied by John, Katie, Ian, and Brett, did an adventure road trip to California in 1961. The four of us took a three week Christmas road trip to Mazatlan Mexico in 1965. Trips were made to Expo 67, and most of the provinces. Florence and Clarke spent many winter seasons in Orange Grove RV park in Edinburg, Texas. Trips to Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, China, and Cuba broadened their knowledge of the world. Each of these tours usually resulted in new friends and great stories. Winters spent in Victoria BC were appreciated making new friends and visiting family.
She had reason in mind by supporting the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the New Democratic Party, helping to promote the value of people working together. She strongly believed that Co-operation and Co-ops do achieve a greater good for everyone. Examples of this are here today because of work done to build such services as local stores, credit unions, Pool Elevators; as well as health care, maternity leave, unemployment insurance, and Autopac. She believed our society still needs to work toward Pharmacare and Day Care. It is worth it to dream big and to work for those useful and possible dreams. She donated to a long list of Social Justice Organizations including Doctors Without Borders and Marquis Project.
She carried the following quote in her purse: “The world is equally shocked at hearing Christianity criticized and seeing it practiced.” D. Elton Trueblood.
As Joni Mitchell said –
We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden
A Celebration of Florence’s Life led by Unitarian Rev. Jane Bramadat (cousin) was held August 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm at Tizhome Polled Hereford farm near Deleau, Manitoba. Friends, neighbours, and family are welcome rain or shine – be prepared. Please bring lawn chairs.
Donations in memory of Florence may be made to Souris Health Centre c/o Prairie Mountain Health Box 10, Souris, Manitoba, R0K 2C0 or to Seniors Organized Services Hartney Box 428 Hartney, Manitoba, R0M 0X0.