Bernice Giddens Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Bernice Davey Giddens

July 10, 1928 - April 7, 2014
Obituary

Bernice "Betsy" Giddens (nee Bint) Born in 1928 in Saskatoon, Betsy was the youngest of five children in a lively, musical household. She had a lifelong love and reverence for her British immigrant parents, Benjamin and Florence. She frequently told stories of Ben, a bridge and rugby-playing grain inspector who taught English to new Canadians. Flo was an Anglican church-going early feminist whose agendas ranged from new immigrant support and care for unwed mothers to social uplift. Shortly after birth, Betsy obtained her first library card and began an unending passion for reading. Her children grew up with an ever-present need to...
Bernice "Betsy" Giddens (nee Bint)

Born in 1928 in Saskatoon, Betsy was the youngest of five children in a lively, musical household. She had a lifelong love and reverence for her British immigrant parents, Benjamin and Florence. She frequently told stories of Ben, a bridge and rugby-playing grain inspector who taught English to new Canadians. Flo was an Anglican church-going early feminist whose agendas ranged from new immigrant support and care for unwed mothers to social uplift.
Shortly after birth, Betsy obtained her first library card and began an unending passion for reading. Her children grew up with an ever-present need to clear books from tables in order to make room to eat. Spaces between books were usually filled by newspapers, magazines, and cryptic crosswords. Her breadth of knowledge was staggering. Art, science, history, geography, politics, she was fired up and ready to discuss it all, in unnerving detail.
Betsy graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in microbiology and in the early 1950s moved to London, England where she worked as an RT in the pathology department at Guy's Hospital. The galleries,
museums, theatres, pubs and libraries of London enthralled Betsy. It was at a party in Soho that she met her future husband, architect Jos Giddens.
After their children, Elizabeth, Benjamin, Sarah and David were born; the family immigrated to Toronto in 1966. Jos and Betsy bought and improved two farm properties for the family to enjoy and the children recall happy summers with "Hurricane Betty" gardening, tending cows, golfing, cooking and reading. Jos and Betsy were advocates of the outdoors and exploring new places with their children. After Jos died in 1977, Betsy became an editor at Sears in their catalogue advertising and public bulletins department until she retired at age 64.
In her retirement years Betsy spent most of her time reading, but she also traveled to Hong Kong, climbed the Great Wall of China, bussed from Mexico City to Guatemala, did an archaeology tour of New Mexico, went birding in Costa Rica, hiked the wildflower pastures of Mount Robson and walked around London, Montreal and New York. Betsy frequently had the family over for dinners and in summer, to sit on her beloved ravine deck watching birds and cursing squirrels. She cherished her grandchildren and played endless games of cards with Gerry, Emi, Kate, Ted, Joe, Meg and Leah.
Betsy, like her mother, had a strong social conscience. She wrote letters for Amnesty International, volunteered for United Way and Red Cross, helped run the St Clements's church rummage sale and as a senior, helped organize
and cater a weekly bridge club for seniors. She was a lifelong donor to a variety of charities.
At the age of 77, Betsy was struck with the first obvious signs of vascular dementia which led to her death eight years later. Her family remembers well her devotion, her strong personality, sharp wit and her search engine
memory bank. Please donate to your favourite charity. Betsy would approve - as long as it isn't the Conservative Party.
Family and friends may call at the TRULL "NORTH TORONTO" FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION CENTRE 2704 Yonge St. (5 blocks south of Lawrence Ave.) on Friday, April 11, 2014 from 12:30 pm until time of service. The service of remembrance will be held in the Trull Chapel at 1 pm.

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