In Loving Memory Of
Shirley Margaret Tolton
July 27, 1951 ~ October 20, 2020
Age 69 Years
Shirley is lovingly remembered by her daughters,
Carlie (Darren) Whetter, Lauren (Neil Penner) Tolton & Andrea (Tommy Whittle) Tolton;
grandchildren Ashlyn, Evan & Andrew Whetter;
close friend Don Carter;
siblings Rene (Mel) Schneider, Marion (Greg) Schneider, Joan (Robert) Wrightson & Jim (Sharon) Thomson and families;
siblings-in-law Larry (Pat), Reg, Greg and Deborah Tolton and families;
and numerous good friends.
Shirley was predeceased by her loving husband Claude;
her parents James and Margaret Thomson;
and father-in-law & mother-in-law Roland and Isabelle Tolton.
Due to COVID regulations
A Private Service Will Be Held At A Later Date
For those so desiring,
donations may be made in Shirley’s memory to
the Kenton Community Enterprises to be directed to the Kenton Nature Trail.
Messages of condolence and/or photos may be shared
or candles lit using the Tribute Wall link.
Shirley Margaret (Thomson) Tolton: From Our Perspective
Mom was born on July 27, 1951, the second of five children to James & Margaret Thomson of Bradwardine, MB. The first 3 girls – Rene, Shirley and Marion were close in age and Aunt Rene says they were inseparable in their early youth, even sharing a bed and sleeping crosswise so they could all fit. Later, younger siblings Joan and Jim joined the family and they were great fans of their big sister. Uncle Jim says he cried like a baby when Mom went off to nursing school.
Mom attended elementary school in Bradwardine and then high school at Rivers Collegiate. She moved to Winnipeg and, in 1972, graduated as a registered nurse from the St. Boniface School of Nursing.
In Winnipeg she met and fell in love with Claude Tolton of Kenton, MB. They lived in neighbouring communities all their lives, but didn’t meet until then. Mom & Dad were married on June 17, 1972 at Tarbolton United Church and moved to the farm just south of the Tolton homestead. The old brick house had been built by a great, great uncle and was now back in the family.
Mom was always practical and spendthrift. Over the years she remodelled the house one room at a time – peeling wallpaper, painting, sewing window coverings and upgrading.
We were lucky to be born into this family in 1974 (Carlie), 1977 (Lauren) and 1978 (Andrea). Some of our favorite things from childhood were:
Kitties! We always had farm cats around and loved sneaking them inside when Dad was out working.
Food. Mom was a really great cook and made the best chocolate chip cookies around!
Wearing homemade matching dresses: Ok, probably not a favorite memory because who wants to look like triplets?…but the dresses she sewed were amazing! She also stitched together many Halloween costumes and created beautiful grad and bridesmaid dresses. As a 4-H leader she taught each of us (and many of our friends) to sew.
Pool time: even though Mom was afraid of the water as she hadn’t learned to swim as a child, she faithfully kept our above ground pool so clean! She took swimming lessons with her sisters later in life, but always preferred floating in a pool lounger.
Gardening: Mom had a huge, bountiful garden every year and, looking back, we were not much help in that department. We shelled a few peas, but she did the rest. We would eat garden veggies she had processed or frozen all year. Her flower gardens were also gorgeous and weed-free.
Salt Lake: in early years we spent many weekend afternoons at Salt Lake riding in the boat and floating on the styrofoam surfboard.
Family Car Trips: each summer we would go away for a few days by car. Some of our more notable trips were to Calgary, Edmonton and the Black Hills. More often than not, there was a bit of fighting in the back seat, so Mom would switch seats with one of us girls so Dad could have a peaceful hour or two of driving.
Grey Cup Parties: social gatherings with the Corneys, Boyles and Taylors were a highlight of our childhood. The kids played “ghost in the garden” while the adults cooked, made friendly wagers on the game and shared in laughter and good times.
When we were little Mom was a full-time housewife, but she returned to school to refresh her nursing courses in the mid-80s. She stayed the week in Winnipeg and came home on weekends – we refer to this time period as the “Kraft Dinner days” as that was Dad’s specialty! She worked at the Westman Nursing Home for many years and co-workers have reached out to say how much they enjoyed working with Mom, how she always had a calm and pleasant demeanor and that the residents loved her.
We all grew up and moved away, some further than others, but we still gathered at home for many holiday visits. These visits were filled with much food and laughter. Mom was always unflappable and calm no matter how many people were invading her house and space (especially the kitchen). There were good-natured arguments over Yorkshire puddings with Uncle Reg, and the Thomson family is still known as the “fastest dinner cleanup crew” ever seen.
Travel became a passion with Mom researching and choosing destinations. From their first exotic vacation to Curacao (off the coast of Venezuela), she and Dad explored the world. Sometimes as a couple and other times with family or friends, they visited many places including: Mexico, Cuba, Hawaii, Portugal, the UK, the Yukon, Nova Scotia, New York, Arizona and many more. We have heard so many great stories and memories from these vacations.
Three grandchildren were welcomed: Ashlyn (2004), Evan (2006) and Andrew (2009). They were cuddled and adored as babies and as they grew up, they were supported at sporting and school events. Mom sewed Christmas dresses annually for Ashlyn and little vests for the boys. It is hard to say who enjoyed their overnight visits more. Ashlyn’s favorite memory is that Grandma taught her to sew. Evan loved playing snakes and ladders at her house and Andrew will miss golf games – both on the course and the card game.
When Dad died in 2015 the sudden, tragic loss left us all reeling. It was a dark time for sure. Mom moved to Kenton, to a beautiful new home she made her own. There were many trips to Brandon with Laurie to pick up some art piece or search for a treasure. Over time, with the support of so many friends and family, the fog cleared and she became interested and involved in community events. She found joy again in her book club, yoga, walks on the nature trail, curling in Brandon and girls trips to cultural events like Rainbow Stage.
We were so lucky that her interest in escaping winter to bask in the sun included our families and we enjoyed yearly vacations in Florida and Mexico with Grandma where the daily question was “Pool or beach?”. We also treasured our girls trips to Vegas, Palm Springs and Orlando where we lounged by the pool and shopped ‘til we dropped!
In recent years she developed a close relationship with Don Carter and they wintered in Arizona, attended many suppers and happy hours with their group of friends in Kenton and spent hours on the golf course.
Her death was sudden and unexpected and she left us surrounded by those who loved her on October 20, 2020.
We will forever cherish the memories and we are so proud to be “Shirley’s girls”. We plan to honour her spirit by:
enjoying a beer or glass of red wine
gathering as a group for a home-cooked meal
going for a walk in nature
watching gardens bloom and grow
seeing beyond the shadows to a happier time ahead
Thank you Mom for who you were and who you taught us to be. Until we meet again…
With so much love: Carlie, Lauren & Andrea
Shirley's family has prepared a photo tribute for their mom.
To view it please click here.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Margaret (Thomson) Tolton, please visit our floral store.
Kenton Community Enterprises - Kenton Nature Trail
Box 181, Kenton MB R0M 0Z0