We Remember

SMYRL, Jean Gillen (McRae) (née McNairnay)

October 16, 1918 — February 8, 2022

In loving memory of Jean Smyrl, who passed away on February 8, 2022, at age 103.

Jean was born in Sudbury, Ontario and raised in Swan River, Manitoba. She was the fifth of six children born to Hugh and Lydia McNairnay.

The family remained in Swan River until 1935, when they moved to Winnipeg, MB and Jean attended Kelvin High School, followed by a course at Dominion Business College, and then started her work life.
She met Alexander McRae in 1940, and they married on August 20, 1941. Jean and Alex spent the majority of their married years in Winnipeg. They had two children: Margaret Jean “Peggy” in 1943 and Peter Alexander in 1948. They remained in Winnipeg until 1984 when they moved to Victoria, BC. Several of Jean’s siblings had also retired to the Island, and they enjoyed spending time together again. Alex passed away in 1987.

In November 1989 Jean married their long time friend, Bill Smyrl, who had also recently lost his wife. Jean and Bill shared a number of happy years together, going on some trips and enjoying each other’s company, until Bill passed away in 1994.

Jean spent several more years in Victoria, but in 2000, wanting to be closer to family, she moved to Kelowna, BC where her daughter Peggy (Bert) lived. Finally, in December 2017 she moved to Summerland, BC where her son Peter (Lynda) now resided.

In October 2018, Jean celebrated her 100th birthday with a milestone gathering in Summerland of numerous friends and family members from across Canada and the U.S. She was able to enjoy it immensely, and many of those attending had not seen each other for many years.

Jean resided at Summerland Seniors Village until her passing on February 8. Her family gratefully acknowledges the care given to her by the SSV staff.

Jean was predeceased by her parents, her two loving husbands Alex McRae and Bill Smyrl, her five siblings and their spouses, her daughter Peggy, her great-grandson Ian, and her son-in-law Bert Van de Vyvere. She is survived by her son Peter McRae (Lynda Hansen), her six grandchildren Lisa (Chris), Tracey (Spencer), Carolynn (Richard), Kris (Lisa), Neil, Kelly (Austin), nine great-grandchildren, and her step-son Mike Smyrl (Barb). In addition, Jean’s life was blessed by the presence of her dear and special friends, nieces, and nephews, who wrote, called, visited and kept in touch throughout the years and whom she loved deeply.

Final arrangements were carried out by Springfield Funeral Home, Kelowna. In accordance with Jean’s wishes, no service will take place.

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