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Islah Reed

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Islah Mae Elinor was born on Sunday, July 19, 1936, in Sullivan Township to John Benjamin and Lydia Sophia (Priebe) Schwartz. She was the youngest of seven children, Lillian, Raymond, Melvin, Gordon, George, Arnold, and Islah. The Schwartz family lived and worked on a mixed farm located on the 12th Concession, and Sideroad 3, near Marmion. The Schwartz children attended S.S. #7 Grimston just north of Marmion. Unfortunately, Islah’s mother died when she was only thirteen. With work at home mounting, Islah decided to forgo high school and began helping her father. Her responsibilities included everything from farm chores, to work around the house.

While at a dance on a Friday night in Desboro, Islah was introduced to a young man by the name of Arthur John Reed. The year was 1954 and the following year on Saturday, November 12, 1955, the two were wed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Marmion. Islah went from aiding her father on the farm to working side by side with Art, on the 12th of Sullivan. Again, it was a mixed farm, raising pigs, cattle and a variety of other animals. Art’s parents, Charlie and Jennie Reed resided with them, making their early years of marriage quite unique. Islah enjoyed tractor work and was particularly fond when the cattle were out on pasture as that meant fewer chores! To say that Islah was a hard worker would be an understatement.

The Reed family began to grow in 1956 with the arrival of Sandra, which was followed by Norm (1958), Bob (1959) and Peter (1962). In addition to caring for her young family, Islah had a big vegetable garden and all the subsequent canning and preserving that went with it. She was a great cook – with potatoes, meat, vegetables, and dessert being staples in most meals. Islah’s tradition of making Christmas pudding and sauce was a specialty that no one in the family could replicate. In her limited free time, Islah enjoyed knitting, especially afghans for her entire family. Art and Islah did, however, find time to take the kids fishing and camping, enjoying a variety of parks and locations around Ontario. Like most, they started out roughing it in a tent before later upgrading to a more enjoyable cabin trailer.

In 1969, Art and Islah built a home on James St. in Paisley. Although a difficult move at first, this ended up being a good move for Art but also for Islah, who had her own back issues. In fact, she would go on to have two major back surgeries in the years following. In 1986, the couple moved to Brook Street E, in Tara. By this time, Art had been diagnosed with Lupus, and in addition to being a loving and dedicated wife and caregiver, Islah cared for his every need until his death in January of 2002.

In her free time, Islah enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, completing word searches, and walking on the trail beside their home with their dog Patch and her grandchildren. She collected a variety of collector plates through the years and enjoyed passing time watching television. The news was a staple on Islah’s television, as she was regularly tuned into CP24 or CNN. She also enjoyed family-oriented movies, Blue Jay Baseball games and curling along with any National Geographic programming, particularly productions featuring Canada’s beautiful scenery. When it came to music, Islah enjoyed the likes of Rita MacNeil, Daniel O’Donnell, Conway Twitty, and Anne Murray to name a few as well as a variety of classical music. Islah also liked to read and would pick up anything that was of interest to her. Most of you also know that Islah had a particularly strong affiliation with one particular political party. I am told that there was little to debate in these discussions, and Islah was always the instigator. All I have to say is blue was Islah’s favourite colour – end of story! Sorry, Mr. Trudeau!

In 2016, Islah moved to Chestnut Hill, a senior’s development in Tara, where she enjoyed further time with friends and family. She enjoyed catching up with the younger generations and was always interested in learning what new things were going on in their lives. Islah was also an avid bird watcher and loved to spend time quietly watching a variety of local wildlife from the comfort of her apartment. Islah loved the spring months and seeing everything come to life. She treasured her family and close friends, most especially her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When they visited Islah, the children always enjoyed their time playing with items from her toy box.

Islah’s faith always played an important part in her life. She was raised and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. She later worshiped at St. John’s United Church in Chesley, and both Tara United and Cornerstone Presbyterian in Tara. No matter the situation, Islah’s strong faith always helped her through the difficult times in her life. Islah was a caring, loving woman, who was also patient and understanding. She was very knowledgeable, and persistent, but could also be a tad bit stubborn at times. However, she loved and was loved unconditionally.

In August of 2022, because of her failing health, the difficult decision was made for Islah to downsize further whereby she called Elgin Abbey home in Chesley. Here, she enjoyed the simpler things in life and always appreciated the opportunity to catch up and visit with family and friends. Sadly, in recent weeks, Islah’s health declined, and she passed away at Hanover Care Centre on Friday, March 8, 2024, in her 88th year.

Loving mother of Sandra (Ken) McDermid of Port Elgin, Norm (Donna) of Pinkerton, Robert (Debra) of Hanover, and Peter (Wendy) of Owen Sound. Cherished grandmother of Pam, Kristin (Brad), Brian (Michelle), Kyle, Amanda, Michelle (Jeff), Ryan, Daniel, Melissa (Kevin), and Kalvin (Becki) and great-grandmother of Kassie, Madelynn, Korissa, Liam, Kallen, Alayna, Trinity, Isabella, Logan, Tallulah, Carson, Ruby, Madeline, and Rowan. Islah will be fondly remembered by Patrick (Nicole) and Henry and her sisters-in-law Dolly Sowa, Lotty Schwartz, Marie Christie and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Arthur, sister Lillian (Bert) Brown, brothers Raymond, Melvin (Mildred), Gordon, George (Monica), and Arnold, and her parents John and Lydia (Priebe) Schwartz.

Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Friday, March 15, 2024, from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the funeral service at 11:30 a.m. Please refrain from wearing scents. Spring interment in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tara.

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

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