MACFEETERS, Sheila Ann - Dec. 20, 1955 - Apr. 6, 2017 The sparkle in her eyes and that lovely smile she always greeted us with, will now live on in our memories. Sheila died at Soldiers Memorial Hospital in Orillia, having made the best of life possible after her 2009 diagnosis of brain cancer.
Sheila was surrounded by the strength, patience and devotion of her husband Michael Williams and the love and companionship of family, friends and caregivers.
Sheila grew up in Toronto attending Whitney School, Deer Park School and Branksome Hall before Waterloo University.
The summers of her youth were spent at Camp Wapomeo in Algonquin Park, and on Georgian Bay, at the family cottage she loved so much at Go Home Bay. Those experiences inspired her to become involved in parks and natural resource management.
The early years of her career were spent with Parks Canada. She then joined the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and soon moved to Northern Ontario working in Hearst, Kapuskasing, Timmins, North Bay and Temagami. Sheila was particularly proud to have been the third woman appointed in the Province as a District Manager in 1991.
She returned to Toronto in 1998 to start caring for her aging parents and a few years later left her position in the Deputy Minister's office to devote full time attention to her caregiving role.
Though she was equally at home canoeing in the backwaters of the northern wilderness as she was attending formal gatherings in Toronto, she often said she left her heart in Northern Ontario.
Following her mother's example she was a dedicated volunteer. Starting as a candy striper at the former Wellesley Hospital in Toronto, serving as secretary to the curling club in Hearst, Ontario, being appointed to the Board of Governors of Canadore College, and eagerly assisting her cottage association for many years as the secretary of the Madawaska Club of Go Home Bay. Her last volunteer role was helping those with other cancers in a clinic at the Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto.
Sheila's diagnosis came shortly after Michael's retirement. After many years of intensive treatments, doctors at Princess Margaret Hospital said there was nothing more that could be done, and in the summer of 2014 gave her 3 months to live. To realize Michael's dream of retiring to Orillia, she and Michael relocated to their waterfront home (specially equipped for wheelchair access) where Sheila adapted to each new challenge of her illness with determination and grace. Sheila defied her medical prognosis and although there were many setbacks as her illness progressed, she and Michael enjoyed their life together on Lake Couchiching, ably assisted by family, friends and caregivers.
Predeceased by her parents Diana and Ron MacFeeters and stepson Derek Williams.
Survived and deeply missed by her husband Michael Williams, stepsons Andrew (Elena Davies) and Robert (Jen Burnham), recent granddaughter Kaiya, sister Laurie MacFeeters (Duncan Sinclair), nieces Lindsay (Adam Mitchell), Caitlin and Brooke Sinclair, sisters-in-law Pam Shaw (Chris) and Dale Pallett and their children.
The family has profound gratitude for the devoted and compassionate care provided by Sheila's caregivers - particularly Jenny, Michelle and Francyni. It was this exceptional support which enabled her to enjoy life with a smile and even attend her step-son's and niece's weddings, hold her granddaughter fondly, and join in her last family Christmas dinner in Ottawa. The family is also grateful for the many kindnesses from friends, neighbours and Dr. Josiah Lowry who helped Sheila live her final years to the fullest.
A Remembrance and Expression of Family Appreciation for the past few years of friendship, help and support from our Orillia community will be held Saturday, April 15th at Swanmore Hall, Leacock Museum 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Sheila and Michael's Orillia and area friends, neighbours, and caregivers are all invited to attend.
Memorial Donations to Soldiers Memorial Hospital or the Couchiching Conservancy would be appreciated.