Mary’s colourful life has largely focused on community service and proudly raising a family
Forest Hill resident Mary Blanchfield turned 100 on May 2, her latest milestone in a lifetime of accomplishments and community service.
Mary’s colourful life has largely been marked by her involvement in her community. While a “domestic engineer” by trade, Mary served her community as president of her chapter of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, a role which saw her organize many events from lawn socials to euchre parties.
She also served as secretary-treasurer of her local school council in Osgoode, Ont., where she helped bring in teachers at a time when there were not many in the teaching profession. In fact, Mary also helped secure accommodations for the teachers she brought to Osgoode, often housing them in the home she shared with her husband, Ernie, and their family.
Knowing the value education brings to communities, Mary also canvassed for the building of St. Leonard School in nearby Manotick. She also advocated for the construction of Osgoode Community Centre and Osgoode Care Centre.
Additionally, Mary was an organizer for a senior drop-in centre in Osgoode, where as many as 150 people were served lunch every Friday.
A lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mary would often organize large banquets for her branch and could be seen carrying the Canadian flag during Remembrance Day parades.
Perhaps Mary’s greatest achievement was the family she and Ernie raised. The couple had seven children and also raised three foster children. Today, Mary has 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren (and two more expected this year). Ernie passed away on June 22, 1987, one year and five months before the couple’s 50th anniversary on Nov. 24, 1988.
In a statement from her family, Mary is characterized as a dedicated mother and grandmother with a keen sense of humour.
“(E)verywhere Mom went, she liked to paint the walls with her laughter,” her family says. “Visits from her friends and family were always the highlight of her day. She was the best listener, too. She would listen if you had concerns but never judge or try to sway your thinking. … She is a rare gem.”
A party was hosted at Forest Hill on May 4 to honour Mary, and many of her friends and family members were on hand to help Mary celebrate her big day.
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