Cathleen Alberta Holmes, 99, passed away peacefully with family at her side on February 13, 2021. Kay was born on April 12, 1921 to Albert & Jean (McKnight) Holmes at Leslie, SK. Having no school near the homestead, her mother sent away for government correspondence courses and taught her children at the kitchen table while simultaneously managing the household. When a school was built, Kay’s first day left her teacher bewildered, as she could already read, print, and do her sums. It was decided that Kay would join the Grade 3 class.
The oldest of three children, Kay developed a strong, independent personality. When her grandfather congratulated her on her fine grade 8 report card and then announced it was time for her to find employment, Kay moved to her aunt and uncle’s home so she could continue her education. When that opportunity came to an end, she moved to town, working before and after school hours and well into the evenings as a “mother’s helper” for her room and board. Studying far into the night by candlelight in her quest to get the education she saw as a passport out of poverty, Kay proudly earned her Grade 12 diploma at a time when few felt compelled to complete their high school years.
Kay held several jobs through her adult years, working primarily in Prince Albert and Nipawin. She eventually trained as a Weather Station Technician, flying out of PA to her northern job postings before finding a permanent position at the Nipawin Weather Station until her eventual retirement.
Kay was predeceased by two daughters: Darlene Faye (Pocock) Hunt and Rosina Jean Pocock. Rosina was lost to meningitis as an infant in 1954, perhaps on or near Kay’s birthday, as she said many times that the day’s joy had been lost years ago. Darlene was lost to cancer in 2012. Prior to her death, Darlene grew up in Nipawin, earned her Bachelor of Education, married Rod McRae, and in turn had four children while teaching and remaining very active in her community. Kay’s surviving grandchildren and great-grandchildren are: Carmen (Sandy) Ewen of Saskatoon & children McKenzie & Maverick; Crystal (Alex) Dracea of Tisdale & children Kaitlyn, Dru, and Lumi; Caylie (Chris) Ntawiha of Whitby, ON & children Naya and Nash; and Colter (Sherrie) McRae of Ridgedale & children Graysen, Eliza, and Blaize.
Kay was also predeceased by her parents and both siblings: Clarence in 1982 & Mona in 1985. Prior to their deaths, she remained very involved with her siblings’ lives, and by extension, grew close to and maintained relationships with their children and grandchildren.
Kay remained fiercely independent throughout her life. Following her sister Mona’s death, Kay lived on her own in Nipawin until 2013 when she moved to Rosthern to be closer to Mona’s son Dennis, and his wife, Connie. They helped her immensely, and that help allowed her to remain in her own home until last March, when she moved to live with Mona’s son Wayne, and his wife, Janice. Janice cared for her as she would have her own mother, and Kay’s final year was spent largely in a home setting with family.
Due to these challenging and restrictive times, there will be no service. A private internment will take place at a later date.