June Evelyn (Kirk) Arnison
On January 27, 2013, June Arnison passed away peacefully in her sleep, aged 81.
She is loved and survived by devoted husband Ron and children Debra (Glen Sutton), Susan (Greg Olsen), Mark (Tami Cooper), and Jan (John Levenick). Missing her deeply are grandchildren Jessica and Amy Morrison, David Sutton and Graeme and Kira Arnison. She leaves a brother David (Sheila) Kirk of Coquitlam, and was predeceased by her parents George and Evelyn (Hardaker) Kirk and brother Ken (Patricia) Kirk.
June was born June 22, 1931 in Vancouver, B.C., and spent her early years in Vancouver. Always involved in school activities, she was the editor of her high school yearbook and at the University of British Columbia was President of her class, a member of the Students' Union and the Alpha Delta Phi sorority. She also enjoyed singing and ballroom dancing.
During university June became a commissioned officer in the RCAF and was a member of the Intelligence Unit in Ottawa. Her membership in the RCAF was a way for June to finance her education and provided her with the opportunity to work and travel away from Vancouver. June always had a streak of independence, much to the chagrin of her mother!
After graduation June taught junior high home economics and subsequently became a district home economist based in Wainwright, Alberta. Although she was engaged to Ron by then, she needed to hide this fact from her employer in order to keep her job.
June returned to Vancouver to be married (October 31, 1955) and then travelled and lived with Ron in northern B.C. while Ron managed road construction projects. In 1958 they moved to Banff with their two young daughters and from there to Jasper in 1961 as a family of 5. Their fourth child was born in Jasper. The family moved to Saskatoon in 1967, to Ottawa in 1971 and finally to Edmonton in 1972.
Throughout these years, June was an active member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
With a family of four children born within the space of six years, home, family and children were the focus of June's life during that time. She was always supportive of their activities, and involved with their education. They each remember the multiplication flash cards and her pencil edit marks on their hand written essays. Even as adults they have all sent her emails from work, asking for her advice on grammar and sentence structure. They also all recognize the challenge this domestic life was for June, who sometimes felt limited by the expectations placed on women of her generation.
After her children were mostly grown, June returned to university to earn her Masters degree in Library Science, and graduated in 1983. She subsequently worked for the Alberta Agriculture Planning Secretariat and did contract writing and editing work for Northern Forestry.
Once retired, June was able to indulge her passion for history and research, especially with respect to genealogy and her Irish roots, including a fun research trip to Ireland with Ron in the late 90's. She made a significant contribution to a family history publication for Kirkton, Ontario and she volunteered weekly at the Provincial Archives for a number of years organizing and cataloguing records prior to public use.
A related passion of June's was the collection of antique patterned glass, particularly early 1900's toothpick holders. With her knack for leadership, June was elected president of the National Toothpick Holder Collectors' Society, and through this association she and Ron travelled to over 20 U.S. states for conventions and meetings, often combining these trips with genealogical research.
June was also a dedicated grandmother and will be very much missed by her five grandchildren in Edmonton and Calgary.
Most of all, June was a soul mate, best friend and lifelong companion to her husband Ron. His devotion to her, and hers to him, is an inspiration to us all. In these last few years he has cared for her with an unending dedication, cementing a connection that we believe can never be broken.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of Unit 5E4 of the University of Alberta Hospital for their kind attention and caring for June during her final days.
Please join us in celebrating June's life on Friday, February 1, 2013 at 2 p.m. at Hainstocks Funeral Home, 9810 – 34 Ave., Edmonton.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the charity of your choice.