2008-05-14 / Obituaries

Gwyneth M. Speers

Peacefully in her sleep, on Sunday, April 27, 2008, Gwyn Speers passed away at Victoria Village Manor, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, just days after celebrating her 87th birthday.

Born April 17, 1921, in Toronto, daughter of the late W. Wray Smith and Amelia Mason. Beloved wife for 57 years of Canon John E. Speers of Barrie, Ontario, and dear mother of Shelagh Speers and husband Gregory Gunder of Cold Spring, NY, Maureen Doherty and husband Bryon of Toronto, and Michael Speers and wife Yana of Barrie. Devoted Nana to Sean, Brendan, and Liam Doherty, Laura Gunder, and Danila Troitskiy. Sister of Norman W. Smith and wife Mary of Toronto. Predeceased by her beloved son Kevin in 1962.

Gwyn's great gift for reaching out to others led to a long career of social service. She graduated from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1942 with a BA in Sociology, and the School of Social Work at the University of Toronto in 1946. Until the birth of her first child, she was a social worker at the Infant's Homes and Children's Aid Society in Toronto, working with young single mothers and infant adoption. For over 50 years, Gwyn served as an active partner with John in his ministry at Anglican parishes in the Toronto diocese, bringing to each congregation her compassion, dedication, people skills, and sense of fun. From 1977 until her retirement in 1986, Gwyn anchored Information Barrie, a community information service at the Barrie Public Library.

Gwyn was a proud descendent of Peter Wyckoff of Long Island and many United Empire Loyalist families from the Colony of New York who made their way to Norfolk County, Ontario, at the time of the American Revolution.

A life-long fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and an avid reader, Gwyn's great passions were travel and the people in her life. She loved her many visits to Cold Spring, especially with the dogwoods and wisteria in bloom, and was a tireless shopper up and down Main Street. Devoted to her family and friends, Gwyn blessed us all with her love, optimism, enthusiasm, and humor. Donations may be made in her memory to the Stephen Lewis Foundation at www.stephenlewisfoundation.org.

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