May “Marion” was born May 23, 1927 in Sullivan Township, on Sharonview Farms to Seda Wilhmina (Klages) and Edward Henry Myers. Six years later, Marion was joined by “Donald” Aubrey Henry in 1933. At the age of 12, Marion went to stay with her Uncle Jack and Aunt Lydia (Myers) Glasser and family in Chesley. There she and the three Glasser girls, Marjorie, Bernice and June, became as close as sisters. Great stories were told of going to Norm’s Fish and Chips in Hanover after bowling. However, her Uncle Norm Meyer was a Police Officer and upon observing the girls on the street corner they were forbidden to go there again.
Opportunities for factory work, that were a result of WWII, enticed Marion to move to the big city. At the tender age of sixteen or seventeen, Marion’s father helped her find a job and a rooming house in Toronto. Another great story is told of Marion, upon being asked how much she made in Hanover, honestly answered twelve cents. She meant twelve cents a day and the company thought she meant twelve cents an hour. Marion could not believe her great fortune upon receiving her paycheques!
It was in Toronto that May Marion Myers met and married James Richard Darling, son of Richard and Jane (nee Teather) Darling. Although they worked together at Canadian General Electric, albeit in different departments, it was not until a dance at the Palais Royal that they began to see each other seriously.
Eight years his junior, Marion and Jim courted on and off for about five years. They were wed in Toronto, July 28, 1951 at Redeemer Lutheran Church. The service was presided over by The Rev. Opperman. Kay McVicor (soon to be Kay Harknett) and Bill Baggott acted as their witnesses. Following their wedding, Marion and Jim lived with Jim’s mother and step-father, Jane and Walter Priestly.
Two years into their marriage, Marion and Jim made their big move southwest to Burbank, California. Marion and Jim bought a 1953 Nash Rambler in Detroit and off they went. All together the two love birds had lived in Toronto for ten years.
Once in California, Marion and Jim quickly settled in their new life and jobs. Marion worked for AT&T as a telephone operator for thirty-some years. In fact, Marion drew a company pension longer than she had worked for the group. In fact, unbeknownst to Marion, just a few weeks before her death she was cut off from her company pension because she had lived too long! Imagine. Jim and Marion moved around a fair bit, living in Costa Mesa and San Diego, to name a few. In some places, they lived in a trailer and even moved the trailer to their next destination.
In 1956, Jim and Marion took yet another chance, travelling abroad throughout Europe for five months. It was a trip of a lifetime. Comically, Jim’s suitcase was filled with cigarettes and Marion’s suitcase was filled with their clothing! Their embarkment took place at Montréal, Québec, April 17, 1956 to arrive April 24, 1956 in Liverpool, England. The ship’s name was S.S. Empress of France owned by the Canadian Pacific Steamship Line. They were listed as going for a month on vacation but enjoyed their vacation so much it lasted five months. On the manifest, Jim was listed as a machinist and Marion as a housewife.
A treasure Marion brought back from her trip was a crystal jam container that was still in her possession when she died. It was a good thing that it was a jam container and nothing else as Marion was not a cook or a baker by any stretch of the imagination. However, she did love her berries and was excellent at making preserves. Marion could make a great shredded potatoe casserole and in turn, loved to eat potatoe pancakes. Marion also had a sweet tooth and one the many things that she missed about Canada were buttertarts, Nanaimo bars and Big Turk Chocolate bars. In fact, Joanne would bring these treats with her when she came to visit. Ed would mail another of her favourite treats every year, Sugar-Free Millcreek Chocolates, and she would allow herself one a week after church! The truth is, she and Jim ate out a lot! They even bought a share in IHop! This enabled Jim and Marion to eat for free once a month. She loved baseball, especially the Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks (D-backs). Always one to love a good deal, Marion and her friends would go out for free tacos at Taco Bell or free burgers at Jack in the Box (her favourite) depending on how well the Diamondbacks played the previous day.
Another semi-precious treasure Marion had in her possession was an elephant piggy bank. I kid you not! Apparently, Jim bought it for her, from children along a roadside and through an open bus window, while they were in Mexico. The elephant moved with them many times throughout California and Arizona, but sadly it was broken while in transit to Chesley after her death.
While Marion may not have liked to cook or bake, she was an incredible sewer. Having such beautifully long legs Marion had to learn how to sew at a young age as clothing items were hard to find that fit properly. Marion sewed most of her clothes well into retirement and living at Good Shepherd Retirement Village in Peoria, Arizona.
Living in California, Marion and Jim travelled extensively throughout the U.S. Together they tented for a number of years until a bear in Yosemite National Park convinced Marion otherwise. They also made numerous trips north to British Columbia and for eleven years they came home to Chesley for the summer, to the house that she and Don lived in as children. These summers created some of the best memories for both of them, as she always maintained a proud connection to her Canadian roots and her family. She loved to golf in Hanover, visit relatives and friends and watch her nephews play baseball.
One year, Marion’s job offered free golfing lessons and she fell in love with the sport. Jim was already an avid golfer and the club they belonged to had many celebrity members. Golf was her reason for living. Well not exactly, yet she did aspire to go professional. In 1977 Marion actually won the President’s Cup for being the best golfer in her district. Every year they participated in a week-long tournament situated throughout North America.
After living and working in California for twenty-two years, Marion and Jim retired and moved to Cheryl Drive, Sun City, Arizona in 1982. They did this to better have access to golf! In the winter of 2005, Marion and Jim moved into Good Shepherd Retirement Village in Peoria where Jim passed away on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in his 87th year. Luckily, they had celebrated their anniversary just previously. They would have been married fifty-four years that previous July.
While in California, both Marion and Jim also bowled. Lucky Marion, she managed to win a reward for being on the very losing team! Marion loved to play cards which Jim did not like to do so much. He would play the occasional game of euchre whereas Marion was an avid bridge player. She even organized weekly bridge parties at Good Shepherd where residents would go house to house to play. Marion managed to outplay, and even outlive, all her competitors. One competitor always said he wanted to live to 100 years of age, and he did! He was the last survivor to play bridge with Marion. It is quite evident that Marion was very bright and thus she loved watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! As well, she was well capable of looking after her own finances right up until the very end!
Marion also loved to check out any, and all, thrift stores. Even though Marion was thrifty, not cheap, she loved buying things for people as she had a heart of gold. And even though she was independent she was definitely not stubborn. (According to Marion, that is!) At the age of eighty-five, Marion took her final driver’s test. She knew she would never drive again but she wanted to prove that she could still pass the test. Imagine!
The truth of it is, Marion was tough and a survivor. She had to grow up fast, especially living and working in Toronto at such a young age. Despite many health issues over the last 15 years, in particular a stroke, Marion remained optimistic and her goal was to celebrate her 90th birthday. And she did with the help of her close friends Val, Kathy and Denise. Through it all, it was her faith that pulled her through. Marion was one of those few people who actually lived out her faith!
Marion was an elegant, refined woman who held her head up high and had a positive attitude, no matter what! She was always impeccably dressed and her shoes, purse and beads always matched each outfit. One certainly did not drink from a can but rather always from a glass. (Yet, in her more mature years Marion was seen to drink from the occasional pop can!) And guests were often vocally discouraged from having another beer just before dinner! However, Halloween was her time to relax and dress up! Marion truly loved any of the holidays!
Of course, Marion loved to dance and Jim was also not so fond of it, even though he loved Big Band music and began seriously dating Marion after a dance. Jim often stated that having already met his mate, he no longer needed to dance. Poor Marion! However, the joke was on Jim because every New Year’s Eve called for a dance around the living room at midnight! Marion too loved the Big Band era music. She had a lovely singing voice and loved live theatre. Even in her younger years, she attended performances in Toronto and when in Arizona Marion also attended performances at the Arizona Opera House. Marion loved the social life at Good Shepherd and participated in many activities, such as lunch at the Club House, church services, exercise classes, bingo and outings to museums, movies, theatre and restaurants. Marion cherished the many visits that Joanne and Dave made and loved sharing her favourite activities with them. Her favourite visit was in 2017 when Joanne and Dave surprised her by bringing Ed along! She loved reading her spiritual books, especially those by Mitch Albom and Jeannette Oke!
Marion passed away on Saturday, December 28, 2019 in her 93rd year. Marion will be greatly missed by all who knew her in Canada and Arizona. She was predeceased in 2005 by her beloved husband, James Darling, of 54 years. Loving Aunt of Joanne (David) Boyes, Edward (Victoria) Myers, Donna (Brian) Gobert, all of Chesley and James (Christine) Myers of Paisley. Lovingly remembered by her great-nieces and nephews Shannon (Tom), Amanda, Nickolas, Paige (Ben), Jessica (George), Palmer (Jordan), Sydney, Megan, Emmett, and six great-great-nieces and nephews. She will be fondly remembered by Rose Witteveen of Paisley. Marion was predeceased by her brother Donald (Dorothy) Myers, her parents and nieces Jane Myers and Sadie Myers.
Friends and family are invited to a graveside service celebrating Marion's life at the Chesley Cemetery on her 93rd birthday, Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 11 a.m.
Memorial donations to St. Mark's Lutheran Church would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.Send to friend