G. Mavis Mawdsley (nee Barker)
b. May 20, 1932, Barrhead, Alberta
d. May 30, 2020, Calgary, Alberta
Mavis was born on the family farm near Barrhead, the fifth of six children, to Henrietta Harrison and Charles Barker. The family of eight prevailed through the ‘Dirty Thirties’, surviving in part through a combination of sheer stubbornness and practicality that Mavis never relinquished. All six siblings benefited from their Irish mother’s convent upbringing and classical education; the pursuit of a broad education, including music, was encouraged. Mavis finished public school when she was just sixteen, went on to two years of University College, then, in 1956, graduated from the University of Alberta with a BSc in Public Health. During her schooling, she played on a women’s baseball team and was known for her wicked right arm. She also sang in the University’s Mixed Choir, and second soprano (to her eldest sister’s first) in her church choir. Mavis married Donald (Don) Mawdsley, a recent Engineering graduate, later in 1956. They traveled East to Hamilton, Ontario for work, touring London (Ontario) and Paris (Ontario) on their honeymoon. In 1959, after the birth of their first child, Karen, Don was recruited to work as an electronics engineer in burgeoning ‘Silicon Valley’. Palo Alto, California became home, and was a paradise for the family, which grew to include two more children, Mark, and then Susan. In 1969, the family relocated to Calgary, Alberta, leaving behind many lifelong friends who will remember Mavis fondly.
Mavis was a strong willed, independent woman who instilled the importance of learning, fair play, and compassion in her three children. She was a homebody, nature lover, and a gardener extraordinaire who looked after everyone’s yards and pets when they were away. Visitors to the house in the later evening during spring were more likely to find her rustling around in the back garden in near-darkness planting her annuals, than in the house. In an emergency, she was there in a flash, taking care of the wounded and “organizing the troops”. She loved volunteering in the school library when her children and grandchildren were going through grade school. And her love for music inspired her to volunteer with the Calgary Music Festival for over 20 years. She enriched many lives in many ways.
Mavis is survived by her husband of 64 years Don Mawdsley and her children Karen (Dana Laustsen), Mark (Jessica), and Susan (Ivan Mombourquette), her beloved grandchildren, Nicole, Kai, Jane, Sam and Andrew, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A private celebration of Mavis’ life will be held for close friends and family at a time and place to be announced.