We Remember

DRAYTON, Doris Amy Christine

Doris Amy Christine Drayton, at the age of 107, died at home in Kelowna, BC on July 26, 2020, with her daughter beside her, as was their wish. She leaves behind her daughter Penny Venables of Kelowna; grandchildren Lissa, Kevin (Rhonda), and Melanie (Keith); great-grandchild Raeleigh; and great-great-grandchildren Sierra, Savanna, and Shay. She is also survived by her nieces and nephews: Carolyn, Peggy (Jerry), Linda, Jim (Margo) and Bill and their families; as well as her very special friends Helen and Linda whom she considered her “other” daughters. Those who went before Doris include her much loved husband, Bill; daughter Joanne; parents Swan and Amy Nelson; sisters Helen (Glenn) and Margaret(Ray); great-grandchildren Shara and Seron; and her special friend Bob Harkness.

Born in Moose Jaw, SK, she spent her childhood sharing a full and interesting family life with 2 younger sisters on the family farm in Tugaske. The entire family contracted and survived the Spanish Flu in 1918, so she has now experienced 2 pandemics which she would have noted would “look good in her memoirs,” which she kept daily for almost 90 years.

Her mother had contracted TB when the children were young and spent long periods away from the family in a sanatorium in Minnesota. She died when Doris was 13, however had obviously instilled a great love of literature and education in her children. Doris’s desire to be a teacher was evident at a very young age as she excelled in her studies and at mentoring and story-telling to her sisters and her school friends. Her scholastic successes continued through her pursuit of her teaching career, and she would ultimately teach in one room schools in small towns in SK and spent 2 exciting years tutoring 4 children on a ranch in Southern AB, where she became an excellent horseback rider, a love and skill she passed on to children and grandchildren.

She always found great beauty in the prairies but it was the mountains of BC that became the vistas she would love for the rest of her life. When moving to Vancouver in the 40s she met and married her life partner, Bill, and they would be married for almost 50 years. Their first daughter, Joanne, was born in Vancouver and then Penny followed 2 years later after they had moved to the beautiful Kootenay town of Kaslo where she lived for the next 61 years in the shadow of Mt. Loki and the surrounding majestic mountains, until at 94, she moved to live with Penny in Kelowna.

Family was a central focus as she was blessed with 3 generations of grandchildren, and she always took great interest in encouraging them in their studies. Education continued to be a driving force as she remained a substitute teacher until mandatory retirement at 65, much to the dismay of students and colleagues alike. Through her great love of literature, coupled with her passion for teaching, she was instrumental in the revitalization of the Kaslo Public Library in 1953 and remained on the Board and as a librarian for decades.

She and her husband were active in the life of the community with Doris being involved with hospital and church auxiliaries, PTA, social and cultural events, golf and curling, and she was always willing to host and organize with her inimitable grace, and style.  Her husband was Mayor for many years as well as the Provincial Magistrate, and since their home was a heritage Lodge, she often had the opportunity to extend her gracious hospitality to many guests including BC Premiers, and Lt. Governor and a member of the Group of Seven.

She had an inexhaustible interest in life and was often noted to be one who until very late in life always “lived in the present”. She remained a consummate reader and ultimately, when her sight diminished, a listener, through audio books and then the voices of friends and family who read to her. That she had taught Latin and loved the language and had been such a voracious reader made her a formidable Scrabble player, and she was a New York Times crossword expert – still offering obscure answers even in her last days. She was delighted with Google and was so pleased to be able to “ask” for poems and songs based on the lines she recalled.

Her interest in the lives of those she encountered resulted in her being willing to try anything, the more exciting the better – from motorcycles to dune buggies to helicopters – she would enjoy them all – with the highlight being zip-lining in Hawaii to celebrate her 100th birthday!

Her faith, love of family and friends, and stoical Swedish heritage sustained her through the untimely deaths of her own mother, her daughter and 2 great-grandchildren all at very young ages. She was blessed with being able to have a positive impact on most everyone she met throughout her life, and that her name means “gift” is very true, for she was that… always.

The family wishes to acknowledge the compassionate care administered by Dr. D. Obedkoff who considered her a “national treasure”; and the wonderfully attentive and loving staff of the Adult Day Care Program at Hawthorne Park, which she attended for over 10 years, always referring to it as “Playschool”. They are also so grateful for the friendship bestowed on her by the myriad of close friends of all ages who have always shown her such loving care and attention.

A Private Family Graveside Service in Kaslo, BC will be held in early September. A Memorial Service at The Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kelowna will also be held at an undetermined date.

Should family and friends so desire, memorial donations may be made to: The Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Kelowna BC; The Kaslo and District Public Library, Kaslo, BC; or Covenant House, Vancouver, BC, admin@covenanthousebc.org.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

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The Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Kelowna BC; The Kaslo and District Public Library, Kaslo, BC; or Covenant House, Vancouver, BC Link: admin@covenanthousebc.org




  • Donna Rubadeau says:

    Penny, your descriptive tribute speaks so well of the smart, classy, stylish, and quick-witted Doris Drayton. No one who ever spent time your mom, even for a few minutes, could help but marvel at her joie de vivre and pragmatism. She will be long remembered by family, friends, and acquaintances whose paths were lucky enough to cross with hers. xox

  • Penny Smith says:

    Dear Penny: So very sorry for your loss. I’ve been thinking back to our Kaslo days when we were in high school, and how nice it was to have a big smile from your mum when coming to see you. She was busy running the lodge and cabins but always looked fashionable. She even let me put her hair up in a Beehive hairdo a few times! And her diaries! Years and years of weather reports, news, and visitors forever inked in her hand writing. Good memories of a wonderful woman. Your mom and dad are together again. Thinking of you and sending hugs ~ Penny and Greg Smith

    • Sharon Cunningham says:

      Dear friend…forgive my tardiness in writing here. I have been making the most of getting out after being in sooo long.Your words were wonderful. Doris would be proud!! She and you were such an important part of my childhood.. love you and think of you often…we enjoy many, many memories of a very special woman..hugs, Sharon

  • Joyce Davidson says:

    I was sorry to hear the news of Doris’ passing. She certainly lived a long and well-filled life. You wrote a wonderful obituary and I got a chuckle about the zip-line. Such a fun lady she was and always so welcoming to me when I would arrive at your door. You were most blessed to have her for your Mom.

  • Denise Hamilton says:

    I was privileged to meet your mother in her later years and I was always impressed by her pleasant nature. Ray tells people about meeting your Mom, who was so lovely because she always wore a smile. I can only imagine the sadness that your Mom’s passing is causing you. Please know that you can call me to share your sadness at any time. With love, Denise

  • Elaine McRae says:

    Oh Penny, your Mom left so many happy and cherished memories. She was an absolutely wonderful neighbour. Yes her mind was so sharp and quick. My life is better for having known her.

  • Karen Pidcock says:

    Penny, you & your mother have been such mutual gifts to each other, so beautiful to behold. I hardly need to tell you this, yet it’s the way I got to know you (far less than most Kaslovians, to my loss) as you returned to visit or to bring her back for a visit in her late years. How much of your life you’ve enjoyed your mum, and what.a huge loss for you to experience now. Hoping you’ll rest from your devoted caring of her, finding helpful ways to express your grief…until your heart is forever warmed & embraced by the memories of the love you shared. Thanks for being her faithful daughter!

  • frances matthews says:

    Dear Penny.I knew your mum when i lived in Kaslo.Kay Gaiger a good friend of Doris and I and a few other ladies used to go every afternoon at about 2pm to the Tree House in Kaslo for a coffee and a chat.Then Kay would take us for a drive before ending up at her or your mum’s place.Happy days.I am so very sorry for your loss my dear.Please accept my condolences.I will remember her with great fondness.Sincerely Frances Matthews..

  • Darlene Johnson says:

    Today, Mom (Mary Johnson, now 95) showed me Doris’ obituary in the Pennywise.. Thanks, Penny, for doing such a good job of it. As a youngster, I met 2 quiet & competent women at the Library; Doris Drayton & Joan Matthews. In high school, Doris sat behind the desk as a gentle & kind sub teacher. In the 1980s, I joined V.O.N. Hospital Auxiliary & helped prepare fancy sandwiches for May Day Teas. Doris gave me specific instructions as she demonstrated the techniques required in creating rolled sandwiches. In my memory, Doris was always poised, calm, careful with her comments & most often smiling. Briefly, I enjoyed Joanne as my CGIT teacher & I babysat her preschool kids. I know Doris’ house on 8th St. but my memory puts your family at The Lodge (412 B Ave) with its unique driftwood fence (now gone. Photo p. 6, “Pioneer Families of Kaslo” 2017 ed.) & its interesting “eyebrow window” that’s always fascinated me! Originally built for Melissa A. Kane — the first woman school trustee in Canada (ibid.) — how fitting it is The Lodge was Doris’ home for 30 years! “[Bill & Doris] moved to Kaslo in 1946 … purchased The Lodge …. Doris was a substitute teacher for many years & an active member in the Kaslo Library, the United Church Service Club & the Hospital Auxiliary…. the couple’s hobbies … included square dancing, bridge, fishing, curling, golf & gardening.” (“Kaslo — the first 100 Years” pp. 130-131). 107 is an amazing age! I’m glad Doris will be buried in Kaslo & I can visit her there.

  • Marie Dunn says:

    I just learned of your Mother’s death, Penny, and remember her. She was a lovely lady. My sincere condolence to you and the family. Marie

  • Mary Humphries says:

    Hello Penny, what a wonderful life your mother had! She was my first “employer” at the Kaslo library when I was about 12, and remained a presence in my life after that, as she did for so many people. Darlene has expressed it well in her message. Patti and I would go up and have coffee with her well into her nineties, and it was always so much fun; she had a wicked sense of humour.. What a legacy of memories you have! Mary

  • Irene Kennedy says:

    Just read of Mrs Drayton’s passing. I met her back in 1964 when my husband was one of the engineers on the Duncan Dam. We had just arrived from Scotland and she and Bill were very kind to us.

  • Dagmar Leuenberger-Swift says:

    Dear Penny, what a beautiful tribute to your amazing mother. I know it would of been here birthday today. I am sorry I didn’t know she had passed. I remember taking her for a ride in my conversant how much she enjoyed that. We are spending our winter in Ecuador and was thinking of your mom and the love and care you gave her.
    Our very best to you, Dagmar and Jim

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