Remembering Etta Whitney Carleton Place

Remembering Etta Whitney Carleton Place
2010 The Citizen

Everybody need to be documented it and I saw this article this weekend and I had to make a copy of it for posterity.

By Cathy Whitney

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
15 Aug 2010, Sun  •  Page 15

Etta Whitney’s life was not an easy one, but she did not complain. Her life was not one of material riches, but one rich in the love and respect of family and friends. Mom was one of the most amazing people you’d ever meet, but you wouldn’t dare say that to her because she didn’t think she was amazing. Etta Terry was born in St. Eleanor’s, Prince Edward Island, and married Bob Whitney on May 11, 1944. They met while they were both in the armed forces and married in the Maritimes. Etta lived for 85 years, two months and 25 days. Cancer claimed her life, but nothing will ever claim her spirit.

Mom raised 13 children Judith, Howard, Dawn, David, Cyndela, Doug, Don, Raymond, Wendi, Laura, Tammy, Cathy and Shelly. She joins David and Raymond in heaven. Etta’s long life gave her 21 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. She was a mother, sister, grandma, great-grandma, aunt and friend to many. Her legacy is one of strength, grace, humour, compassion and generosity. I knew I could get through whatever came my way because Mom was at my side. No matter what came her way, she would come back continuing to kick butt and take names. Not that she’d necessarily remember the names, but she would take them anyway.

Strength should have been Mom’s middle name. Imagine moving to Carleton Place (where she would live in the same house for 39 years) with eight kids and no job. Daunting for most, but not for our Mom. Etta landed a job within days and worked the midnight shift at a nursing home for 11 years. This enabled her to be home to send us to school, sleep during the day and then make dinner for us every night. While working the midnight shift at home nursing home, Mom spent three years taking night classes to earn her Health Care Aide Diploma This in the face of having to leave school at age 14 and going to college 30 years later as a single parent of eight.

Despite it all, she achieved some of the highest marks in her classes. Mom’s grace was evident throughout her life. She never felt entitled to anything in particular, but was always grateful for kindness and help that came her way. Throughout my adult life, Mom was always so grateful for the pleasure of company. Nothing exotic, simply-going out to shop, get coffee and wander. It was a major delight for Mom to head to Prescott and see her sister Eleanor for a day of shopping, lunch out and laughter. Mom could see the humour in situations that so many could not. That’s not to say she made light of difficulties, but she had a good perspective on things that kept her grounded. She spent much of her life taking care of others and did so brilliantly. How she managed to care for all her children and work in nursing taking care of the elderly is a strong testament to that most admirable trait. Wherever there was a need, if Mom could help she would. I can’t imagine living on so little for so long, but still giving so readily. In a world where there are many who don’t think beyond themselves, or who have so much and could give, but don’t she was truly a standout. Knitting was a creative passion for Mom. The angels will have beautiful afghans. Cathy Whitney

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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