Posted by Karen Hilling | 26-Aug-2020
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29-Mar-1935 - 29-Jul-2020
Nellie (Darnell) Foglton-Freeland passed away suddenly but peacefully, with her son by her side, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at Grand River Hospital, Kitchener.
Dear and beloved mother to Kevin Freeland (Valerie) and adored grandmother to Rachel and Nicole Freeland.
Predeceased by parents Stephanie & Louis Foglton, brothers John (Ramona) and Bill (Mary) Foglton, sisters Margaret Kadey (Earl), Teresa Zerbes (Jim), and Annie Ferguson (Bob). Loving sister to Jack Foglton (Joan), Olga Pettit (Stan), and Rose Kelly (Earl). “Aunt Nellie” to multiple nieces and nephews.
She was born premature and weighed less than 3 pounds at birth and to increase her odds of survival, her parents constructed an incubator made of warmed bricks wrapped in blankets. She survived due to a fighting spirit and incredible will which underpins the story of her life.
Fiercely independent, she left home at a young age after the passing of her parents and ventured to Kitchener where she settled permanently and took on various positions to support her independent self. One of her first jobs was a roller-skating waitress at A&W at a time when food trays were served to cars and hung off of their partially rolled down windows. When her manager would ask why her tips were so much higher than the other waitresses, it was simply related to her personable and outgoing personality.
As a single mother and with no immediate local family, she continued in various labour positions to provide for her son. She persisted working into her 60’s out of the pure desire to provide at all cost, and retired from J.M. Schneiders after 25+ years of service.
In addition to her iron will, she possessed the extraordinary gift of endearment to the extent that wherever she went, she made instant friends regardless of age or personality type, made people smile, and was memorable. Many times she could be witnessed laughing and hugging other ladies when out in public and when asked who were those friends, she would reply – I don’t know…I just met them. Her innate desire to be sociable was non-discriminate and she would talk to anyone which serves as a lesson to all.
She had a wonderful sense of humour made even more noteworthy by her ability to laugh at herself and the fact that she often tried to make people laugh one way or another. She was notorious for the use of props to help provide the levity she was looking for, even if it included a dancing toy cat that sung Shania Twain’s – Let’s Go Girls.
She had a lifelong love of country music, dancing, and karaoke and often would be the last person standing at karaoke events, even up to the age of 84. She yearned to visit Nashville but never made it. She would dance and sing to county music in her kitchen with her niece Valerie during visits and hopefully, she has access to great country music in her new resting place.
Holiday events were special to her and she went to great lengths to decorate for each one accordingly which brought happiness to herself but also to those, including her family, that became accustomed to looking forward to seeing how she would decorate and encouraged neighbours to do the same which spread joy. She lived for family holiday get together dinners, not only for the meal but the time she cherished by being with her family. And she always dressed in the festive colours of the respective event which brought smiles to everyone. In addition, she was famous for her peanut butter balls which she was proud to share and loved by all.
Nellie had a feistiness that empowered her to state her opinion and to stand her ground with a conviction far beyond her physical stature which enabled her to never be intimidated by anyone and this never diminished right up until the end. She was known to call her MPP on several occasions, the local news station, and newspaper, and even the prime minister to state her opinion on matters and always believed she could make a difference.
She gravitated to those with youthful higher energy to match her own energy and sense of adventure, which kept her young at heart and in body and appearance. At the age of 80, her adventurous side found her taking advantage of rides offered by a local Hydro Utility community event, whereby she was lifted 60+ feet in the air in a hydro utility lift truck bucket!
Her reconnection to nieces, Karen and Valerie, over the last few years, added much value and happiness to her life and is much appreciated as is her 30+ year relationship with her Niece Debbie who was more like a best friend/sister to her and very valued.
As a mother, mother in law, grandmother, aunt, she has left an indelible mark on our hearts, souls, and lives and leaves behind a special kind of legacy that only she can. She has done so by the virtues as stated but also by the deep repertoire of memorable moments that she has left us with. We, along with family and friends that have met her, constantly recant funny and memorable “Darnell stories” that lighten our souls and make us laugh with every telling and which add texture and colour to our lives.
As a proud grandmother who stored pictures of her granddaughters everywhere and shared them with everyone she came in contact with, she was beyond extraordinarily generous, unrelenting with her love and affection, and willing to dedicate anything she had for their well being and asking very little in return. She displayed a special type of love that let you know how special you were to her each and every moment and she constantly tried to outdo herself to let you know you were her world.
The introspection that comes from her passing, has given us cause to truly appreciate and admire the many qualities that she exuded that set examples to live one's life by and to catalogue what a remarkable and truly resilient woman she was. She will be missed in ways that cannot be replaced, but will never be forgotten and will forever own a piece of our hearts.
She had an affinity for angels, and may she be at peace surrounded by many.
Kevin and family would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the doctors at GRH including nurses Brooklyn and Kaylee whose tenderness and compassion during a difficult time will never be forgotten.
Gratitude is extended to all family, friends, neighbours and co-workers for all the phone calls, visits, floral arrangements, food, and offering their assistance. We will be forever grateful to all.
As per Nellie’s wishes, no funeral or visitation arrangements were to be made. Nellie’s immediate family will hold a private memorial. Cremation has taken place.
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Kevin, You are on my mind and in my heart every day❣️ Lots to move and sort thru. I guess all that ‘stuff’ gave your mom something to do, a reason to get out of bed, a justification for how she spent her time. She was more than a kindred spirit to me, we could talk & laugh for hours. I often thought...I hope I will have 1/2 her spunk and vitality when I’m her age. She was a Maverick of sorts, ready to take on what came her way, pushing all boundaries if need be. She made no excuses for her outlandish, cavalier behavior, for she wore bright red or Johnny Cash black, she polished her nails, styled her hair, squeezed into her stylish bit of a heal boots, all the while be-dazzling everyone with her jewelry, or youthfully designed bling bling. Some folks might even say she had a slight resemblance to the Unsinkable Molly Brown, who also was known to wear bright red-she too was remarkable in her outlandish mannerisms. Simply said, “She was a Hoot!” I believe her love of music was a tonic for her happiness, as she knew all the words to her favorite songs and didn’t mind singing along or dancing it up in her tiny little kitchen. Hours would slide by before we both realized that dinner had been forgotten all together. That’s when you know you’ve truly been living in the moment I will always treasure these ‘Aunt Nellie Moments’ ever grateful for the brief time we shared together. Unequivocally, she dared to live life her way, even if it meant going the extra mile just to cash in a few bottles or drop off a bag of oddball eye glasses. 🤓 Anyone who says they haven’t tasted Aunt NeView More