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Isabelle Elder

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Isabelle Elizabeth was born on Friday, September 30, 1932, at home on the family farm on the 8th of Elderslie, to proud parents George Henry and Essie Idella Elizabeth (Dailey) Mannerow. She was the eldest of the five Mannerow children, with Ken (1934), Lloyd (1938), Dianne (1949), and Reg (1950) following her. In 1940, the Mannerow family relocated to the Bentinck Sullivan Townline, purchasing the Devonshire Dairy Farm from the Tolchard family. Here Isabelle attended S.S. #9 (Tin School) Sullivan Township before attending Chesley High School, graduating in 1949. Her final months of high school were spent learning in a local church, as the former high school burnt in her final year. Throughout her teenage years, Isabelle remained active by becoming involved with 4-H, Jr. Farmers, Operetta, and square dancing, just to name a few.

In September of 1949, Isabelle headed off to Guelph Business College where she completed her two-year program before returning to Chesley and finding work as a teller, at the Canadian Bank of Commerce. It was during this time, that one winter evening, Isabelle agreed to join some friends on a bus trip to a hockey game in Seaforth. As fate would have it, a young man by the name of Leith Russell Elder was also on that same bus, and both of their lives were never the same again. The young couple were wed on New Year’s Eve in 1954 at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Chesley. The newlyweds purchased a 50-acre parcel of land with a house and barn in Sullivan Township and called it home. By this time Isabelle was working as a bookkeeper for the Chesley Hospital. A position she held for a few years.

The Elder family soon began to grow with the arrival of Linda on December 11, 1955. The family was made complete a year and two minutes later (yes, you read that right) when Brad was born the following year. In December of 1958, the Elders moved off the farm, settling in Tara, and remained there for the next fifty-six years. In their free time, Isabelle and Leith loved to attend local dances, and could often be seen on the dance floor in Sauble, Port Elgin, and Keady, just to name a few. They also loved to entertain, and regularly hosted friends and family in both Tara and Florida. Having an anniversary on New Year’s Eve didn’t hurt either! Together, they also enjoyed cards with Euchre and Wedge being favourites. It was a well-known fact by everyone, that wherever Leith was, Isabelle was too. They worked well together, as Isabelle could often be found out helping Leith fence, and they played well together.

In 1966, Isabelle began working for Gay Lea at their location in Tara. Through the years, she worked her way up to office manager, remaining with the company until its closure in 1984. She was well-respected by her colleagues and worked hard. Although the car was the usual mode of transportation to work, I am told on more than one occasion Isabelle could be seen walking the two blocks to work in her high heels. Imagine!

In the early 1960’s, Leith became involved in the Tara Rotary Club. Although Isabelle was never a member, she constantly supported her husband through his 50+ years of service. She was an honourary Rotary Ann (a.k.a. wife of a Rotarian) which brought with it great responsibilities, including being the go-to when preparing ANY food for meetings or events. Needless to say, she made her fair share of pies through the years, and I am told Isabelle’s pecan pie was to die for! Her almond crescent cookies weren’t too shabby either, as she became an accomplished cook through the years.

Isabelle was a farm girl at heart and loved to be outside working in her gardens. She was a little obsessed with roses, and her beautiful gardens were often admired by family and friends alike. When not working in her flowerbeds, Isabelle could often be found in the vegetable garden. I am told she also spent her fair share of time cleaning the car. If you knew the Elders at all, you would know their car was always immaculate, both inside and out. Isabelle (and Leith) took great pride in this. Like Leith, Isabelle liked to look good, and that she did. She was particularly fond of yellow, red, and purple and often wore those colours, always having the bling to go along with it! Although not a huge reader, the daily Owen Sound Sun Times was always a must. She loved the hatched, matched, and dispatched section (births, marriages, and deaths) the best, and always kept up on the current affairs. Isabelle’s soft spot had to include chocolate as she could never get enough of it, especially Mill Creek chocolate. She also had a particular fondness for screwdrivers… I found the vodka; it was hiding in the orange juice. In fact, I am told she even tasked the Knipfels to stock OJ (Minute Maid) that did not need to be refrigerated – now that is saying something… Lol!

In 1980, Leith and Isabelle began to winter in Fort Myers, Florida, at a local trailer park. Isabelle loved the sun, and the heat of summer, so convincing her to spend a bit more time in the sunny south after Leith retired was no hard feat. In later years they spent as many as five months in the Sunshine state and continued to do so yearly until 2013. In addition to Florida, trips to Las Vegas and Europe also stood out as highlights in Isabelle’s travels. Together with Leith, she also enjoyed many boating and fishing adventures.

In 2014, the Elders made the hard decision to downsize and sell their family home. They moved north (less than a kilometre) and settled in the newly built Brook St. development. Sadly, by this time Leith’s Parkinsons greatly affected his day-to-day life and this move was good for everyone. Here they supported one another and made the best of their remaining years together. They both enjoyed visits from his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Isabelle was often referred to by the younger generations as their “laughing grandma” as her laughter was one of a kind! In November of 2021, they made their final move to Owen Sound and Kelso Villa, where they received more care and support. They were inseparable and remained together until Leith’s final days. After Leith’s passing, Isabelle often remarked that she lost the love of her life and best friend. The residents and staff of Kelso Villa Retirement Home soon became an extension of Isabelle’s family, and their care and kindness will always be remembered.

Isabelle passed away at Grey Bruce Health Services, Owen Sound on Thursday, June 22, 2023, in her 91st year.

Loving mother of Linda Elder of R.R. #2 Kincardine and Brad of Exeter. Cherished grandmother of Chantelle (James) Linton of Belle River, Travis (Tiffany) of Exeter, Troy (Hannah) of Lucan, and great-grandmother of Lexi, Addison, Auston, and Cole. Isabelle will be dearly missed by her siblings, Dianne (Ross) King, Reg (Dayle) Mannerow, and sister-in-law Marjorie Mannerow, as well as many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Leith, daughter-in-law Corlette Elder, great-granddaughter Emma Linton, great-grandson Evan Elder, brothers Ken (Jean) Mannerow, Lloyd Mannerow, and her parents George and Essie (Dailey) Mannerow.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Thursday, June 29, 2023, from 1 p.m. until the time of the funeral service at 2 p.m. The funeral service will be recorded and can be viewed on the funeral home website in the days following. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation or Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.

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