Edna Jane (Ireland) SIGSWORTH

December 4, 2019 ~ November 29, 2019


Edna Jane Ireland Sigsworth

Edna was born on the 7th hour of the 7th day of the 7th month in 1929. She was the second daughter of three girls born to Hugh and Alice Ireland.

Her father was a loved and respected policeman in Saskatoon, who gave her many reasons to rebel as a child and on into her young adult life. She was a rambunctious tomboy who stood up for the underdog, with an unwavering sense of right and wrong.

It was evident even as a young child that she loved the outdoors. At 12 years of age she started working as a figure skating instructor for George Ward, who saw something special in her and encouraged her to channel her rebellious nature into helping children. As a teenager she was placed in charge of a playground during the summer months and outdoor skating rinks in the winter. She also became a lifeguard for the paddling pools in her playgrounds. When Edna was round 18 years old she put her life on hold when her father told her she had to return home to help raise her younger sister. Her mother had become seriously ill and was unable to take care of a child and the house. Edna loved her younger sister Margaret and the bond between them was always remained strong.

Never one for conventional means Edna learned how to dive prior to learning how to swim. She had won several provincial trophies for her diving before her coach realized that she was just pushing off the bottom of the pool and had no idea how to swim. When threatened with removal from the diving team, she quickly took swimming lessons so that she could continue diving. A natural swimmer, she soon was teaching swimming and became one of the first people involved in synchronized swimming.

While working for parks and recreation, Edna worked with a young man named Ray Sigsworth. The two of them started a flirtation that would last 3 years well they ran one of the most popular indoor public pools in Saskatoon. After flirting Ray finally asked Edna out, they dated for a year before getting married.

With Edna it was never one day I'll do this, she always made a plan and then made it happen. Because of this attitude she one day came home with freighter tickets to London England. Of course Ray and Edna had to find a way to the ship, so they hitchhiked across Canada to catch the freighter. Edna also hadn't taken into account that she would spend the entire trip across the Atlantic being seasick. To help her with her seasickness Edna would sit outside on the freighter deck everyday and knit. The beautiful sweaters she created on the trip still exist and have been handed down so that her children wear them to this day. 

While living in England Edna had a variety of different jobs that she had never done before. She was offered a exclusive job at an aristocratic restaurant doing Silver Service, of course she said yes she knew how to do it, she rushed home and asked her neighbor what Silver Service was.  Fortunately the neighbor knew and spent the evening teaching Edna how to perform silver service so that she could go to work the next day and do the job.  One of Edna’s jobs was helped run the downstairs bar in the Chandos. It didn’t matter how many times she would leave to go see parts of Europe when she would come back to England she always had a job at the Chandos. Her favorite job was teaching figure skating in the winter and swimming in the summer to members of the Royal family.  Edna adored Lord and Lady Neville’s children, she taught them swimming and we still have their Christmas cards thanking her for her service.

Edna was never great with balance and always laughed whenever she remembered various incidents on the scooter they used as transportation. She almost threw Ray in the river multiple times when they drove around Europe. Always one to talk to strangers when traveling Edna was notorious for asking for help and people just giving it to her because they thought she was a “sweet Canadian girl,” they didn't know her.

After three years of traveling through Europe and living in England Ray's parents told them it was time to come home and sent them flight tickets. They came home to Drumheller where their old boss helped them acquire jobs working for parks and recreation. This is where the family starting with the adoption of their first child Terry .

Since childhood Edna always told people she would have twins. 6 years after the adoption of Terry, Edna gave birth to two adorable baby girls. Her life was complete. She took great pride in taking her twins everywhere and telling everybody that SHE HAD TWINS.

When her children were old enough Edna went back to work. She became a teacher's aide helping with special needs children. Her background with arts and crafts and running playgrounds, helped her success in her new profession.

Once in her early twenties, Edna came out to Vancouver Island to visit a friend. It was right then and there in Ladysmith she decided this is where I will retire, and like everything else in her life, she did. She loved the ocean, the people, and the lifestyle. Edna join the Ladysmith Anglican Church and was immediately volunteering at everything the church did in the community. She, like many, was upset when the church closed, but Edna found herself sad and lost when it closed. She was known to cry every time she went by the old church’s location while out on her scooter. A well-known fixture in Ladysmith Edna was notorious for volunteering with the food bank, Senior Center, the church, and other various charities. Edna was also a wonderful grandmother she was there to help with the first bath, a house full of chickenpox, and potty training. Her home was always open for her children and grandchildren whether it was a day of babysitting or a place to stay while loved ones were getting back on their feet, she enjoyed having family around.

Edna was commonly known for racing around Ladysmith on her scooter. As she aged and her mobility became more limited her scooter became an important part of her ability to be outdoors. She loved taking her scooter down to Transfer Beach and watching the ocean. She could often be found at all the local coffee shops with her loving daughters. An active member of the community she will be missed by many.

Edna spent her life working and volunteering with children and those in need. Whether she had one dollar or ten dollars, Edna was always willing to give it to those less fortunate. She never had very much but she was always willing to share what she had. Her final wish was to be part of the Living Reef Memorial, where her ashes will become part of and build a healthy coral reef in our oceans. In lieu of flowers the family is asking people to donate to her Living Reef fund at CIBC #540/7886136


She is fondly remembered and loved by her two girls, her six grandsons, her two sisters, and their families, plus all the people who’s lives she touched.

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