Jean Wark

Rhody Family Funeral Home

Margaret “Jean” was born to parents John and Isabelle (Ziegler) McRae on Wednesday, December 20, 1933 in Dobbinton, Ontario. The year was memorable in more ways than one, as it was the coldest winter that her family experienced, causing all their fruit trees to freeze. Jean was the second oldest, being born two years after her brother Roy (1931) with younger siblings Grant (1936), Ruth (1938), and Allan (1941) following her.

Jean’s family mixed farmed on the 12th of Elderslie. She attended Snell’s school, which was beside the family farm, and then completed her education at high school in Chesley. Growing up, Jean saw the results of her parents’ hard work and wanted to follow in their footsteps. She then went on to Stratford Normal School to become a teacher, which at that period, was rare for a woman her age to go onto post-secondary education.

Jean’s teaching career began at S.S. #1 in Arran. She then taught at Nenagh School in Ayton before returning closer to home and taking a job at Elsinore School. It was during this time that Jean began dating her future husband Basil William Wark. In fact, the story is told that Basil dated Jean’s younger sister, Ruth, first! Apparently, he was reminded of this early decision more than once throughout his life! The young couple was married on Thursday, April 10, 1958 at the Dobbinton United Church Manse by Rev. Wolley. They originally called Allenford home, where they welcomed their two sons, Larry (1958) and Raymond (1961). The Wark family moved from Allenford to Southampton in 1964 where the boys attended school. By this time Jean had taught at Skipness and had settled in at G.C. Houston in Southampton. She taught mostly intermediate grades and even spent a year teaching her son, Raymond, a unique situation for both of them. In 1977, the Warks moved to Arkwright and settled on the 15th sideroad. Who knew then that this would remain their family home for the duration of her life.

In addition to being a loving wife and mother, Jean’s students were very much an extension of her family. She taught a total of thirty-five years, and she retired in 1988 at the young age of 55. However, she was still keen to teach and regularly supply taught through her retirement. Jean also was known for her help nursing local children through their illnesses. The family couch and her tomato soup were often mentioned as helpers in their recoveries. Back in the classroom, Jean was a remarkable teacher and always knew what her students needed. She was also known to stand up for herself and never backed down from a male counterpart. Mrs. Wark was well-respected by her co-workers and students alike and always enjoyed the opportunity to catch up when she met up with them in the community. Her strong work ethic and values will not only live on through her family but her students as well.

In her limited free time, Jean enjoyed time spent in the kitchen, cooking, canning, and baking. Apparently, there were no family favourites as I am told everything was very good! She liked to dance but sadly didn’t get the chance to as much as she would have liked. Jean enjoyed keeping up with her trivia and often tuned into Jeopardy. Last of the Summer Wine was another of her favourite shows. Jean could also often be found reading novels, or a Reader’s Digest. 

Jean was a very well-respected, considerate woman who took everyone at face value. Her caring personality and great sense of humour were infectious and drew people to her, allowing her to cultivate a large network of lifelong friends. She dearly treasured these friendships as well as spending time with her special Arkwright neighbours, always looking forward to the next community gathering. These relationships were treasured and will be fondly remembered by all those who had the pleasure of calling Jean a friend.

Her faith was ever-present throughout Jean’s life. Throughout the years she was always active, whether it was helping teach Sunday School or a member of the church Board. After her retirement, she became very involved in UCW particularly the Arkwright Unit and the Priscilla Unit of Tara United Church. Her strong faith particularly helped her through her many physical and health challenges in her later years. She was never one to complain but would instead make the best of each day.  

Sadly, Jean passed away at Grey Bruce Health Services, Southampton on Thursday, April 29, 2021 in her 88th year.

Beloved wife of Basil. Loving mother of Larry of R.R. #2 Tara, and Raymond of R.R. #1 Bognor. Cherished grandmother of Kristen (Scott) Lummiss, Nicole (Zach) Woods, all of Owen Sound, and Lauren of Bognor, and great-grandmother of William and Benjamin Lummiss and Jackson Woods. Dear sister of Ruth (Morley) Kaufman of Owen Sound and sister-in-law of Hazel McRae of Tara and Lois McRae of Gould Lake. Jean was predeceased by her brothers Allan, Roy, and Grant and her parents John and Isabelle (Ziegler) McRae.

A private family funeral service honouring Jean’s life will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 2 p.m. Interment in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tara. A recording of Jean’s funeral service will be available on the funeral home website Wednesday.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Tara United Church would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy. If easier, donations can be hand-delivered or mailed (Box 5, Tara N0H 2N0) to the church directly.

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Donna Coffey & Gordon Humphrey
May 7, 2021

We both have warm memories of Jean as always friendly and with a smiling greeting . Our condolences to Jean’s Wark and McRae close and extended families.

Micky Majury
May 7, 2021

Basil Larry and Ray my condolences to you and your family

May 7, 2021

I am truly sorry for your loss
Mrs.Wark was the best teacher
Kind caring and patient
My family was also blessed with having your family as our neighbors
My deepest and sincere condolences to you all

Fran and Doug Plante and The Indoe Family
May 6, 2021

Basil Larry and Ray our thoughts are with you and your family at this time we have many wonderful memories of Jean as a teacher and as a great family friend over the years . Cherish your memories and keep them close to your heart ❤️

Crystal & Scruffie McLeod
May 5, 2021

Deepest sympathies to the Wark family. We will deeply miss visiting Jean and hearing her stories of teaching, the neighbours, and life in the Bruce.

Susan Farrow
May 4, 2021

Giving you my deepest condolence for the loss of jean work she was a wonderful woman I had her in grade five she was nice very understanding always smiled she will be sadly missed my heart is with you

Celina, Michael and Leo Borges
May 4, 2021

People like Jean are truly rare. She was the neighbourhood Grandma, always caring and looking after us. Please accept our heartfelt condolences. May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.

Heather Pettigrew
May 4, 2021

My deepest sympathies to Ray, Kristen, Nicole, Lauren and family at the loss of such a beautiful person. May your memories keep her forever close to your hearts.

Frances McRae and families
May 3, 2021

With deepest sympathy to the Wark family

Jamie and Vicki Dempster
May 3, 2021

So sorry to hear the news of Jeans passing, sending love and hugs to you all, may wonderful memories get you through this difficult time.

Irene (Byers) Good
May 3, 2021

Ruth Kaufman and family of Jean
My condolences. I have thought many times of the wonderful times working with you Ruth at Port Elgin and meeting Jean to become good friends. We had some fun times.

Don Benedict and Joan Edworthy
May 3, 2021

Our sincere sympathies. Lovely tributes for a lovely lady. Rest In Peace, Jean.

george cruickshank
May 2, 2021

I had Jean as my teacher in first and 2nd grade. A wonderful teacher and friend. Loving thoughts to Basil and the family. Love, the Cruickshank’s

Howard and Kathy Tedford
May 2, 2021

Our heartfelt condolences to all the Family. Jean will missed by all, a very kind and wonderful person.

Sheila Henry Henkel
May 2, 2021

Sending sincere condolences to the family. Mrs. Wark was the best, she was always kind to everyone. I have lots of memories from school days at G.C. Huston.

Rodger and Mary Schwass
May 2, 2021

We wish to send our sincere condolences to Jean’s family. She has been a good friend throughout our childhood and later when we returned to Arran.

Hazel and jafe coture
May 2, 2021

We were saddened to hear of Jeans passlng.She was such a happy person always a smile when you saw her.Our thoughts are with you at this time condolences

Jane Indoe-Harley
May 2, 2021

Basil, Larry and Ray..so sorry to hear of Jeans passing. My thoughts are with you all.

Melissa Ferguson
May 2, 2021

Uncle Ray, Grandpa Basil, Kristen, Nicole & Lauren,

I’m thinking of you all during such a difficult time. Jean was always such a sweet lady with the biggest smile. Sending my love to you all.

Love Melissa

Ken & Kathy White
May 2, 2021

So sorry for your loss Basil, Larry, Ray & family, she will be missed.

Stephen doran
May 1, 2021

I am very sorry for your loss. She was one of my favorite teachers. A very cheerfull person.

Sue and Darrell Hyde
May 1, 2021

Sympathy is being sent to Basil,Larry,Ray and family. Darrell remembered your mom well during public school at GCHouston. I remember meeting her a few times and found her very friendly with lots of stories. Keep your memories close to your hearts!

Bev and Nancy Nickel
May 1, 2021

Sorry to hear of Jean s passing, she was a great person.

Laura Reynolds
May 1, 2021

Mrs. Wark was my grade 5 teacher and was the kindness and most understanding teacher. My condolences for your loss of a wonderful person.

Lloyd and Patsy Hammell
May 1, 2021

So sorry to hear of Jean’s passing. She was a kind and thoughtful person.
Our condolences to the entire Wark family.

Linda Trafelet
May 1, 2021

One of G.C.Houston’s best teachers.
My most sincere condolences.

Teresa Greig
May 1, 2021

To the Wark Family,
Sorry for your loss on such a loving and special lady. She was a great teacher and I remember her fondly from my school days at G.C.Houston P.S.

Bruce & Mandy Trafelet
May 1, 2021

Sorry for the family’s loss.

David and Linda Fowler
May 1, 2021

We’re so sorry of your mom’s passing.

Lori Greig
May 1, 2021

My deepest condolences to the family.
Even though I had not seen Mrs Wark for years I have been thinking a lot about her recently.
She was one of the nicest teachers at GC Huston.

Gary & Jo-Anne Hamer
May 1, 2021

Larry and Family: Sorry to hear of the passing of your Mother. We are thinking of the Wark Family at this time.

May 1, 2021

So sorry Basil, Larry and Ray and family
She was a wonderful person and I think of her often
Jean was one of the most genuine person I know
It will be a great loss to everyone

Rick an myra shular
May 1, 2021

Mrs wark was a kind lady and always treated her students with respect. She had a great laugh and a good sense of humour.

Doug & Phyllis Pennock (Nee Wark)
May 1, 2021

Our deepest condolences on Jean’s passing. It was always a treat to run into Jean when they were over to visit Mom & Dad. I know that Mom enjoyed time spent with Jean on a couple of bus trips and visiting back and forth at each other homes while Dad and Basil were hunting.
May she rest in peace!

Peter Cannon
May 1, 2021

My condolences to Larry, Ray (Turkey) and family. She was one of my favourite teachers at GC Huston (gr 5 1974/75) I have spoken of her many times over the years. Her former students are her lasting legacy!

Peter and Faye Steinacker
May 1, 2021

Sorry to hear Jean has passed away. She was a great lady.

Kathy Currie
May 1, 2021

So very sorry for your loss . Hugs to you all.She was a great teacher. My favourite! Taught me grade 5 at GC. Huston. ❤️

Norma Dempster
May 1, 2021

Dear Basil Larry Ray and family
Was so sorry to hear of Jeans passing is a sad time for you all May God bless you all
Norma Dempster

Guy Helwig and Tracey Bookham-Smith
May 1, 2021

We’re so sorry to hear of “Mrs. Wark’s” passing.
She taught elementary school at GC when I was a student there .. and I was in her grade 5 class with her son Ray ..
She was a fixture at the school long before and after I attended classes there.
Jean was a favourite teacher of the vast majority of the students at GC ..
Jean was such a loving, kind, caring, thoughtful and a beautiful soul …
When ever we met on the streets years latter, she always had time for a chat to catch up on things.
Keep your memories of Jean close to your hearts and she’ll never be far away!
Thinking of all of you at this sad time!

John and Linda Patterson
May 1, 2021

Basil, Larry and family, we are so sorry to hear of Jean’s passing. We so enjoyed our visits when we stayed at Sue and Grant’s. Cherish your memories…a life well lived!

Eleanor Petrie
May 1, 2021

Sincere sympathy to Larry, Basil and Raymond, cherish your many great memories with her. She touched everyone who knew her.

Ron & Marilyn McComb
May 1, 2021

Our sincere sympathy to Basil and Larry!

Sharon, Ron and Darlene.
May 1, 2021

Our condolences to Basil, Larry , Raymond and to her grand daughters,( she was so proud of you). She will be missed.

Elizabeth & George Maxwell
May 1, 2021

So sorry to read of Jean’s passing. I will always remember the “theatre trips” with Jean, Ruth, and Edna to Blyth, Drayton, or wherever. Jean was always such a happy jolly person and made the day so enjoyable for everyone. Sending our sincere sympathy to her family and the entire McRae family. Cherish your memories.

Scott and Ronda McLeod
May 1, 2021

Jean was the neighbourhood Grandma! She looked after our children when they were to ill to go to school. Sometimes our kids just needed some Jean Wark love. She was never too busy to make you feel like you were the most important person in her life at that moment. All she ever wanted from other people was for you to sit down and have a chat with her. No problem was ever to big for Jean to get excited about. She loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren with all her heart and she had a big heart. Arkwright will miss her!

Shirley and Bruce Moulton
May 1, 2021

Our thoughts and prayers to the Wark family. Jean was my grade one teacher at S. S. No. 1 Arran.

Pete and Joan McCannel
May 1, 2021

Our hearts go out to you and your family at this difficult time. Jean will be forever missed. Hugs Pete, Joan and family

Karen Wark
May 1, 2021

Dear Basil, Larry, Ray and girls, I am so sorry for your loss. Jean was a wonderful woman with a heart of gold, and a smile the warmed your soul. I loved her dearly. She will be sorely missed. Thinking of you always
Karen Wark

Bill and Marlene Price
May 1, 2021

Basil and Larry, sorry to hear that Jean has passed away. Our deepest sympathy to all.

Cathy and Gary Lund
May 1, 2021

We are saddened to hear of Jean’s passing. She was a good friend to Mom, the late Pat Lettau. I know Jean will be missed by many. Our condolences to Basil, Larry and Raymond and family.

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