Project Description

​Symes: Hilda Marion
Dec. 31, 1920 – Sept. 18, 2018

Hilda was born December 31, 1920, at home on the homestead farm of her parents, Florence and William Coe. She was the third child in the Coe family and joined her sisters Kathleen and Dorothy. In the six following years, she was joined by two more sisters, Nora and Margaret and a brother Herbert (Bill). The family lived in a small home in which Hilda shared a bedroom with her four sisters. It was within this home that the values which Mum lived by all her life were taught and nurtured: the importance of family and often the self-sacrifice involved, the necessity of hard work, honesty, generosity, kindness, and having the ability to find joy and contentment in the simple activities of life.

She took her first schooling by correspondence because there was no room in the nearest one-room school, McConnell. In 1929, she began classes in the newly opened Coe School. She was able to walk with her siblings through the coulee the two miles to the school. Hilda completed classes up to Grade 11 at Coe. Following that she worked on several farms doing both farm work and housework.

July 15, 1943, Hilda married Fred Symes whose parents had homesteaded about 2 1/2 miles north of her family home. Over the next five years, their three children were born: Elizabeth (Beth), Marilyn and Milton. This was a very busy time in Hilda’s life as she parented her young family in addition to taking an active role in establishing the farm, assisting with much of the farm work. She took responsibility in the milking of the cows, raising the chickens, caring for the pigs, planting a large garden every year from which she harvested and preserved the vegetables. She assisted Fred and later Milton in farm activities such as germination testing of grain in the spring, stacking bundles and bales in the fall and a variety of record keeping for the farm. Hilda continued to be involved in farm activities after she was widowed in 1986, collaborating on tasks she could do with Milton and Sandra who took over the active farming responsibilities.­

Hilda was engaged in community activities at New Brigden. She attended St John’s Anglican Church and was a member of the WI Club associated with the church. She served as secretary-treasurer for many years for that organization. She also participated in many of the Community Club activities and fundraisers.

As the years passed, there were graduations and weddings and the family grew to include six grandchildren. Hilda took great joy in her grandchildren and felt especially fortunate to have the Symes grandchildren— Carrie, Perry and Renée— growing up within the same farmyard. They were able to make daily visits all through their childhood. The Robertson grandchildren—Kelly, Darren and Sheila—lived in Calgary but were able to visit frequently and spend extended times during the summer on the farm. As more years passed another generation to Hilda’s family were added, 13 great-grandchildren— Janelle, Brent, Wade, Lane, Jordan, Garett, Miranda, Anna, Sam, Jack, Chloe, Cameron and Nolan—again bringing much joy.

Activities which brought Hilda greatest pleasure were always those around family. She enjoyed watching her children, grandchildren and more recently great-grandchildren participate in a variety of activities: baseball, hockey, curling, basketball, soccer, Christmas concerts, drama, dancing, 4H clubs. She loved being together in both large and small family gatherings including those with siblings, nieces and nephews. Always, there was good food, visiting and inevitably the card games and family board games. She liked going on small trips within British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan to visit family. During her senior years, she enjoyed more extensive travelling and visited the British Isles, many provinces in Canada, including British Columbia, Saskatchewan, the Maritimes, the Yukon and some States in the USA, Alaska, a car trip to California and Florida. She has had the opportunity to attend more theatre productions both locally in New Brigden, in Rosebud and Theatre Calgary as well as productions attended while on trips through London and the Maritimes. At home, she loved to read, watch television, do some handiwork such as knitting, and keeping in touch with family with telephone calls.

Hilda was very sad to move from her farm home to the Extended Care Wing of the hospital in Oyen April 8, 2013, because of increasing difficulty with mobility. After a difficult time of adjustment to this transition, Hilda said, “I don’t mind it here. People are so good to me.” She enjoyed many of the activities, especially bingo and the various entertainment events. She especially enjoyed having family visits, meals with family and, of course, the card games and board games. The family appreciated the wonderful care provided for Hilda over the past five years by the Extended Care staff.

Hilda was predeceased by her parents William (1963) and Florence (l964); husband Fred (1986); brother-in-law Frank (1963); sisters-in-law Hettie (1944) and Elsie (1988); sisters Kathleen (1996), Margaret (2006), Dorothy (2009), and Nora (2011); brother Bill (1997); son-in-law Ralph (2000); granddaughter Carrie (2007); and niece Margaret (1991).

Hilda will be greatly missed by daughters Beth and Marilyn; son Milton; daughter-in-law Sandra; grandchildren Kelly, Darren (Jodi), Sheila (Colin George), Gary Hawkins (Stacey), Perry (Angela) and Renée (Scott Rurak); and great-grandchildren Janelle, Brent, Lane, Wade, Jordan, Garett, Miranda, Jack, Chloe, Cameron, Anna, Nolan, and Samuel (Sam).

Funeral Service was held September 24 at the New Brigden Community Hall in New Brigden. Officiating Clergy was Rev. Catherine Holland. Organist was Marvel Jorgenson and a tribute was given by Beth Symes. Audrey Rowswell sang In The Garden and Garett and Jordan Symes sang You Are My Sunshine. Hymns were How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace and God Be With You Til We Meet Again. Pallbearers were Gary Hawkins, Perry Symes, Darren Robertson, Kelly Robertson, Colin George, and Scott Rurak. Honorary Pallbearers were all of Hilda’s family, her many friends and neighbours who cared and shared in her life.

Following the funeral service, family and friends were invited to a luncheon hosted by the New Brigden Community Club in the Community Hall.

MacLean’s Funeral Home of Oyen in care of arrangements.