My Aunt Margery Dodson’s early years are fully described in my Family Tree Archive and what an interesting life she led especially during the Second World War years. Engaged to an officer in the Army, Dudley Seaton, subsequently posted to the Desert, fell in love in London with a Canadian pilot Milton Paige (killed in a raid over Denmark) and marrying his brother Blackie Paige and officer in the Canadian Army who took part in the Normandy landings. They had one daughter Arlene born 08th April 1944. The family lived in Canada after the war with Blackie joining the RCMP and living in remote areas of Canada. Margery became secretary of the Alberta War Brides Association. Blackie died suddenly in December 1995.
We visited Canada in 2003 where we met and stayed with Margery and Arlene in Edmonton Alberta. Arlene was married to Ed Kozubach and they had two daughters. Arlene spent much of her life in a wheelchair but came to the airport to meet us on her own in her van which was equipped with a hoist. A very independent lady . I sat down with Margery for three days and had a very interesting chat about her life which I wrote down for posterity.
Over the following years Arlene’s health deteriorated with longer spells in hospital. Arlene died aged 65 years in Edmonton Hospital on 12th January 2010 I continued to correspond by email with my aunt Margery now in her nineties. Margery died aged 95 years in Edmonton Hospital on 01st January 2014
Our mother, Irene Lehane, died on Sunday 01st July 2007 at the age of 84 years at her home in 67 Finian Park, Shannon, Co Clare, Ireland. The family agreed that the many photos in existance, some over one hundred years old, would be used to tell the story of her life. And what a remarkable life it was.
Irene grew up in London in the 20’s and 30’s, an only child. At the age of 15 she was working, she met her future husband Arthur Dodson and married at 19yrs, had one child, Ian and was widowed at 21yrs. She lived through the trauma of the Second World War, the rationing, the constant bombing of London. After the war, working in London Airport, she made contact with Terry Lehane in Ballygireen Radio Stn Shannon. Irene converted to the Roman Catholic religion, despite trenchant opposition from her family, married Terry and moved to Ireland. She had nine more children and fostered another. Tragedy struck again when Irene was widowed again at the age of 49yrs.Despite this Irene had a tremendous faith in God which she tried to instill in all of us. Against all the odds she reared the family single handed finding time to do voluntary work with the Shannon Society of Care. She encouraged us in everything we did. Our Mother was a truly remarkable woman and this album of photographs features the significant events in her life together with the many happy times with her family. This is our tribute to our mother.
As promised Theresa and I returned to Broadway Cemetery in Peterborough on 09th Oct 2007. I brought with us from Ireland a commemorative plaque to mark the grave of my great grand mother Florence Dodson. We bought a bag of ready mixed sand/cement in a B&Q store in Peterborough, a large bottle of water in a local corner shop and with a group of vagrants drinking wine in the cemetery for company, we proceeded to dig out a small section of earth. We mixed the cement on a piece of plastic and bolted the plaque into the cement thus marking the exact location of the grave. We will return at some future date and see if it has survived the elements.
My mother died peacefully at home at 67 Finian Park, Shannon, Co Clare, Ireland at 12noon on Sunday 01st July 2007. She was surrounded by her family who had looked after her during her illness. She had battled bravely with cancer for 12 months. Irene was laid out in the sitting room of her home where family, friends and neighbours came to pay their respects. Her funeral took place to Lemenagh Cemetery after Requiem Mass on 03rd July 2007.
My Great, Great Grandmother Elizabeth Buckea (1835-1896), after her first husband Wm Collins died, married John Alfred Challis in 1873 in Bethnal Green. They had one son John Richard Challis born on 19th Oct 1875 in Shoreditch. He emigrated to Canada where he met and married Mabel Eugenie Black (born in Jamaica) on 12th Feb 1916 in Toronto. I located the marriage certificate. They had two children Mary,born abt 1920 and John(Jack) born abt 1923. They lived at 151 Langford Ave, Toronto for many years and John and subsequently Mabel corresponded with my grandmother Elizabeth Jones in London. John Challis died on 11th July 1929 and is buried in St John’s Norway Cemetery Toronto. I have a copy of the death cert.
I have been in correspondence with Eileen White who is in charge of research at St John’s Norway and she has kindly assisted me with further information. Mabel Challis died in Nov 1963 at the age of 74 and Mary Challis died in Oct 1988 aged 68 and they are buried together. Eileen has sent me a photograph of the gravestone, shown here, (with the snow brushed off) with the names of John and Mabel engraved on it. I am now trying to trace John (Jack) Challis who moved away from Toronto to work. He would now be about 84 yrs if he is still living. He or his family may have old family photographs or letters which would be of great interest.