GILLARD, Mary Isabelle (nee Williamson)
August 25, 1923 – Coronation, Ab.
August 25, 2018 – Okotoks, Ab.
It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of Mary
Gillard, beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother onAug. 25, 2018, her 95th birthday.
She is survived by four loving children Irving (Elaine), Stuart (Marilyn), Hugh (Rosemary) and Jean Quigley (Brian) and a brother Cecil Williamson (Elaine).
She is also survived by 10 grandchildren and 16 greatgrandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Mary was predeceased by her husband Hugh in 1993 as well as five younger brothers (Alex, Ron, Mac, David and Bill).
She grew up on a small farm near Coronation, Ab. with her parents Bessie and Alex Williamson and six younger brothers.
Mary attended Normal School at U of A, graduating with her teaching certificate in 1941. Her first teaching job was in the isolated northern community of Burnt River in the Peace River area of Alberta, in a one-room school for up to 35 students from Grades 1 – 9.
Except for a brief hiatus to have her children, she taught school throughout Alberta for 64 years. Following Burnt River, she became the lone teacher at the one-room school at Throne.
Later she taught in Veteran and Okotoks, where she ended her teaching career at age 82 having taught multiple generations of families. Every student was special to Mary and she was special to them.
She met Hugh at a box social (he bought the lunch box she had made for a fundraiser sale!) at the Throne School and they later married in 1944.
Mary and Hugh worked tirelessly building a successful ranch (the By The Way Ranch) near Throne where they raised registered Hereford cattle.
In addition to raising children and teaching full-time Mary was an equal partner on the ranch, contributing in all areas from haying and harvesting to raising cattle.
In 1964 they sold the ranch and retired to an acreage just outside Okotoks.
She was an avid curler, golfer, bridge player and trail rider. She and Hugh also shared a passion for horse racing including ownership of “trotters” and Mary served on the Stampede Racing Committee for many years.
Mary was honoured multiple times for her teaching and strong community support. Her awards included the Foothills Composite High School Silver Falcon Award (1991) for her “outstanding service to the community and youth”, the Okotoks Rotarian Integrity Award (1999) and the Foothills School Division Exceptional Teaching Award (2009).
Her energy, passion, and commitment to everything she did was endless. She touched countless people in her life and will be sorely missed by family, friends, and former students.
A Celebration of Life for Mary is planned for Fri. Oct. 12 at the Foothills Centennial Centre Okotoks at 2:30 p.m.
The family wishes to thank all the staff at the Silver Willow Lodge for their compassion and wonderful care of Mary.
Condolences may be forwarded through www.snodgrassfuneralhomes. com. If desired, memorial donations may be made directly to the Silver Willow Lodge DSL, Box 40, Nanton, Alberta T0L 1R0. Arrangements in care of Snodgrass Funeral Home Okotoks 403-938-3111.