STEWART, Betty Jean (née Ross)
July 13, 1933 — September 9, 2020
In the early hours of Wednesday, September 9, 2020, our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, auntie and friend left us peacefully to begin her journey into her next life.
Jean was a force to be reckoned with, a woman of fierce beauty and dignity, a holder and sharer of strong opinions, a believer in every kind of education and most importantly, the devoted matriarch to our lucky family. Family was the core of Jean’s life – her love for her family and pride for all of their accomplishments oozed out of her as she updated you on everyone’s comings and goings. She had a large family, but she never failed to keep up with what was happening in each of our lives.
Her legacy will be proudly carried by her children: Colleen (Paul) Mulvihill, Danny (Alexis) Stewart, Sandra (Mike) Bjarnason, Kate Stewart, Jennifer Stewart, and Julie (Dave) Crawford; her grandchildren: Shannon Mulvihill (Alex Lyons), Kelsey Mulvihill & Rebecca Mulvihill, Carter (James) Helliwell & Nate (Sarah) Stewart, Harmony Bjarnason (Tom Stow), Devon Bjarnason (Shelly Seib) & Amy Bjarnason (Paul Mancell), Sophia Stewart (Tom Durham) & Lili Stewart, Alisha Antisin (Aaron Luprypa) & Dion Antisin and Janis Crawford (Will Greet-Hillier), Monica Crawford & Nicole Crawford; her great-grandchildren: Jocelyn & Carys Lyons, Georgia, Harrison & Rupert Helliwell, Calista & Quinton Stow and Victoria & Michaela Mancell; her brothers: Don (Shirley) and Ken (Barbie) Ross; her sister-in-law Rosemary Stewart, as well as many nephews and nieces.
Jean was predeceased by her husband, W W (Bill) Stewart; and her sister, Gladys Ross.
Jean was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan on July 13, 1933 to George and Florence Ross. In 1936 the family moved west to Vancouver, BC and in 1945 they settled in Kelowna. Jean attended Kelowna High School and sang in the St Michael’s and All Angels choir. In 1949 Jean was crowned Lady of the Lake.
On November 1, 1950, she married Bill Stewart and in 1952 they welcomed their first child. That was the beginning of her lifelong mission to raise strong, kind, independent, feminist, principled children and grandchildren. She believed it took a community to raise a child and she made sure she was part of that community.
Jean was a Master Duplicate Bridge player, playing weekly with her bridge clubs for many decades. She was a prolific canner with a pantry brimming with canned fruit and homemaker’s relish. Jean had a passion for garage sales, for reading, for Hawaii and for movies, especially musicals. Her love of music and dance was something she shared with others through her life – singing with the Kinette choir, encouraging her children and grandchildren to learn an instrument or take up dancing, teaching herself the ukulele so she could sing her beloved Hawaiian songs, singing nursery rhymes with faraway grandbabies on the phone and starting sing-a-longs at family gatherings – music was one of Jean’s languages.
Jean made a lasting impression on everyone she met. If you were lucky enough to spend time with Jean trading stories, having a philosophical conversation, learning about make up and self-care, sharing a cup of tea and a cookie, singing, or just experiencing the feisty tenacity that made her our beloved Mama, you probably still remember your visit.
Jean celebrated her family’s accomplishments; she shared her wisdom; she took the time to learn about each person’s individual personality and interests. She was always ready with a hug or a back rub, a cup of tea or a delicious meal, some advice or just some company. Jean cherished her family, with a special place in her heart for her crown jewels – her darling grandchildren and great-grandchildren – all of whom were her “favourite.”
Jean’s strong legacy of family will carry on. She will always be with us in the love we share, the stories we tell and the way we live our lives. Her grandchildren will tell you that her reminders that cousin-friends are the best friends was one of the best gifts she gave them.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Jean’s wonderful caregivers: primary caregiver and devoted companion Carol Van den Ende, niece Lisa (Ross) Dube, Sheila Marshall, Maria Fugedi, Stacey Lalonde and Amanda Banman.
Donations in Jean’s memory can be made to Kelowna Women’s Shelter, Box 20193, RPO Town Centre, Kelowna, BC, the Stewart Brothers Nurseries and W W (Bill) and Jean Stewart Family Award Fund at www.okanagancollegefoundation.ca or a charity of your choice.
Due to Covid-19 Jean’s Celebration of Life will be a private family affair by invitation only. The family would like to invite all who wish to view the service to join by Livestream on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 10:00 am. (See below)
If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.
THIS SERVICE WILL BE LIVESTREAMED/BROADCAST ON SAT, SEPTEMBER 19, 2020 AT 10:00 AM