WILDE, Sheila Elizabeth (Milsom) - WWII - "Love and Light". Aged 92, passed with dignity and grace on September 20, 2016, after a sudden decline, at Hastings Centennial Manor, Bancroft, Ontario.
Sheila completed a truly amazing life surrounded by the love of devoted daughter Anne by her side, and the love of all the rest of her family felt strongly from afar.
Born April 14, 1924 in County Wicklow, Ireland, Sheila's life would bring over 60 moves to 3 continents and varied careers. She grew up in Toronto with brothers Patrick (Maryian) Milsom (deceased) and John (Judith) Milsom and attended Bishop Strachan School before graduating from Havergal Ladies College.
During WWII, Sheila was a crack wireless telegraphist (Morse Code specialist) in the Women's Royal Navy ("Wrens"), stationed in New Brunswick, where her directional finding skills of U-Boats were instrumental in a key maneuver leading to the end of the war. She was awarded the Bletchley Park medal.
In 1945, Sheila married Desmond Hoban (deceased) and lived in England, Scotland, Guyana, South America and then Canada, where in BC they welcomed 4 children:Anne, Brigid, Joan and John. Brigid ("Biddy") was tragically taken at age 2 in a car accident. With her hallmark strength and resiliency, Sheila worked as a medical receptionist and in door-to-door sales, before becoming a psychiatric nurse aide working with children with severe cognitive and physical disabilities. She also loved working as a librarian assistant over the years (Ottawa, Winnipeg).
From 1964-66 the family lived in remote settlements in the Eastern and Western Arctic where Sheila helped run a medical clinic, provided air traffic control for the local airstrip, home-schooled the kids, and wrote an article for "Beaver" magazine about Inuit children. They moved to Ottawa where Sheila, now over 40, took university courses and graduated Teacher's College. She moved to Toronto to teach children with cognitive disabilities (6 years).
In 1979, Sheila remarried, moving to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in Northern England to be with the love of her life, Fred Wilde (deceased). They resettled in Wyndham Gardens, Unionville, Ontario in 1987 for the remainder of their happy years together prior to Fred's passing in 1992. Sheila travelled to India, volunteered in Markham Stouffville Hospital (3 years), ran Wyndham's library (22 years), served on the Executive, and took up "clog" dancing.
She was a beloved classroom volunteer at Central Park Public School, Unionville (13 years).
At age 77, she became the oldest student to ever qualify as a Reflexologist (top mark 98%), which inspired a magazine article. Until her 80's, Sheila's passion - 2nd only to her family - was riding her bide every day. When her health declined due to spinal stenosis, she moved to Butternut Manor, Uxbridge, followed by a recent move to Bancroft's Hastings Centennial Manor, soon capturing the hearts of all.
Sheila ("Nan") will be lovingly remembered as a sweet, humble, witty, bright, organized, resilient, creative, strong, loving beautiful woman who had an unlimited, genuine interest in and concern for her family and friends - and for politics and life-long learning. All who knew her quickly became attached to her deep sense of caring.
She will be deeply and dearly missed by children Anne (Rick Joudrey) Wilde, Joan Hoban, John (Catherine) Hoban, stepsons Barry Wilde, David (Margaret) Wilde, her 11 grandchildren- Melissa (Jeff Holland) Wilde, Kris Wilde, Jenny (Jason) Krist, Paul (Erika) Parsons, Jamie Hoban, Jenna Hoban, Conner Hoban, Chad (Mallory) Labdon, Ali Labdon, Sarah Thom (Andrew), Nicola Wilde (Craig Smith) and her 12 great-grandchildren- Alice and Simon Holland; Lola, Cruz, Daisy and Sloane Krist, Garret and Tyler Parsons, Milo Labdon, Amelia Thom, Miles and Charlie Smith.
Nan leaves us rich in memories of "happy times", the legacy of her love will have a ripple effect for generations to come. Sheila was and the family is deeply appreciative of the exemplary, sensitive care and advocacy all the Hastings Centennial Manor "family" provided for her during her final journey. She felt completely loved and supported by the staff-as did we always by her, in all we were and did in life.
Cremation has taken place. A private memorial will be planned at a later date.