O’Brien, Elda May
March 5, 1922 — October 5, 2012
The family of Elda May O’Brien (nee Sandercock) sadly announces her passing on Friday October 5, 2012, at the age of 90 years. Elda suffered a major heart attack and passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, after living with a progressively disabling condition for nearly ten years. She was predeceased by Wilton (Obie), her devoted husband of 62 years in 2011 and by her brother Elmer. She is survived by two sisters Vera and Verna, brother Hugh, son Ellis, grandchildren Heath, Damon, Timothy and Stacia, and great-grandchildren Quinn and Evey.
Elda was born in Markinch Saskatchewan, the eldest of 5 children to Stacia Elda and Charles Edward Sandercock. She completed her high school education in Markinch and then attended Normal School in Regina to become a qualified teacher in 1941. After teaching school for a time, Elda attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon and earned an Arts and Science degree in Biology in 1945. While working at the Experimental Farm in Indian Head, she met Wilton (Obie) O’Brien who was also working there as an agricultural engineer. They soon fell in love and were married on Christmas Eve 1948. After their son Ellis was born in 1950, Elda and Obie moved with him to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
In 1954 the young family moved west to Edmonton, where Elda ran the family business, a corner store with living quarters above. By 1957, Elda and Obie had sold the store and moved to a new home in the suburbs of Edmonton. Once her son was able to fend for himself in school and at home, Elda returned to teaching, first as a grade nine classroom teacher, and later as a travelling tutor for “homebound” students who couldn’t attend school due to disability or injury. She had found her true calling in this work and loved going out to work with students in their homes or hospitals, helping to ensure the students with disabilities still got an education and the injured ones didn’t fall too far behind while temporarily absent from school. Elda retired from 20 years of teaching in 1979 and moved with Obie to a lakeshore home in the Okanagan Mission area of Kelowna. Elda’s energetic personality served her well in Kelowna where she and Obie made many neighborhood friends as they enjoyed the Okanagan to the fullest while travelling often to Alberta to visit grandchildren, and to Arizona for the colder months. By 1994 Elda and Obie had moved to the energy efficient, low maintenance dream home they had helped design and build for their remaining years. As Elda’s health began to decline, the family was lucky to find caregivers Joy and Cris in 2005 to share their home so that Elda could continue to enjoy her chosen surroundings with excellent loving care right to the end of her life.
A memorial service to celebrate Elda’s life will be held at St. Paul’s United Church, 3131 Lakeshore Road, Kelowna at 1:00 pm on Friday October 12, 2012, with niche interment to follow at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery. In lieu of floral tributes, donations may be made in her name to the charity of your choice.
The service for O’Brien, Elda May is scheduled for St. Paul’s United Church. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.