It is with great sadness and reflection that the family of Mary Pauline (Bruce) Upham announce that she passed away at The Mira in Truro, early on the morning of January 20, 2024. Mary lived to the age of 97, just 5 months from her 98th birthday. Her long and wonderful life began in Shelburne, on June 21, 1926. Born to her late parents, Olive and Arthur Bruce, Mary was the eldest child of four. She grew up with her siblings, brothers, Allen (Yvonne) and Malcolm (Tony); and sister Marjorie (the late Werner). Growing up near the ocean, Mary enjoyed visits to the beach to appreciate the water and have picnics with family.
While attending Shelburne Academy, she was very much in demand as the school pianist. Following her graduation from high school in 1943, Mary moved to Wolfville where she attended Acadia University and graduated in 1946 from the Secretarial Science Program. Her friend Fran encouraged her to move to Truro in 1945 where she got a job at Lewis’s Hat Factory. It was here that she met her future husband and love of her life, Lloyd Upham. Mary and Lloyd married July 4, 1949, built a home, a beautiful family, and a life together.
Their four daughters delighted in their mother’s interests in gardening, reading, knitting and sewing. Over the years she made many articles of clothing that were well worn by the girls. Linda, Mary Jane, Karen and Heather, enjoyed their mother, Mary’s great interest in music. Mary ensured that the house was filled with singing and instruments. From an early age, Mary enjoyed music and became an accomplished pianist. She took classical guitar lessons and played the harpsichord. Her interest in music led her to be a piano teacher, having many students in her home, some who remember her fondly to this day. She was very involved in the music ministry at her church.
Her devotion to Christ led her to a commitment to leadership in the Sunday School Program at St. Andrew’s United Church in Truro. She enjoyed travelling internationally with Women's Aglow, and was active as a participant in Bible studies and prayer meetings. Mary was a long time member of Healing Streams International.
Mary loved her family, and was equally loved by them for her quiet kind manner. Mary enjoyed becoming a grandmother. She would often spend time with these lovely additions to the family, playing games, folding origami, knitting, and completing puzzles. Linda and Barry Mooney, Bridgetown, began Mary’s life chapter as grandmother with Sean (Jen) Mooney, Mary (Andreas Mellema) Mooney, Mike (Atsuko) Mooney and Barry (Candie) Mooney. Mary Jane Crosby’s family, Truro grew as well with the addition of grandchildren for Mary; Dr. Amanda Crosby (Dr. Mike Ripley), Sarah (Bobby) Weir and David (Sara) Crosby. Her youngest daughter Heather Lauther, Truro not to be outdone, continued to help grow Mary’s collection of grandchildren with the birth of Danielle (Benn Boutilier), Chloe (Derrick Pilon) and Ben. Her daughter Karen and Mike Destun of Cambridge finished off Mary's throng of grandchildren with Theo, Zach and Lauren. Sarah (Ferguson) became a wonderful addition to their family and was welcomed by Mary as a granddaughter.
As her grandchildren grew and started having families of their own, Mary became a great grandmother. To her delight, Blaise, Oscar, Maude, Rose, Lola, Bea, Noah, Isaac, Thomas, Benjamin, Samuel, and Elizabeth have at some point in their lives enjoyed running around Mary’s house and backyard. Amelia Lauren (born September 3, 2021) and Mabel Grace (born August 22, 2023) became the newest great grandchildren, continuing the reach of Mary’s family tree.
Family has always been a large part of Mary’s life, and she treasured connections with nieces and nephews, Lorraine Brake, Joanne Bruce, Carol McCarthy, Kathryn Bruce, Mercedes Sawosch, Robert Bruce, Allen Upham and Randy Upham. The passing of her husband, Lloyd; brother, Malcolm Bruce; sister, Marjorie (Bruce) Sawosch and sister-in-law, Yvonne (MacMichael) Bruce preceded her. The untimely loss of her granddaughters, Lauren Destun and Sarah Ferguson, and nephews, Jeffery Bruce and Richard Bruce saddened her deeply.
Mary was a thoughtfully social person taking care to be an attentive listener with those who called her friend. She was a lady, enjoying tiny treasures evident by some of the keepsakes found in her home. A lifelong learner, she endeavoured to read at any opportunity. In her forties, she dedicated herself to learn how to swim taking lessons at the Victoria Park Pool to earn her badges.
During her last years, Mary fascinated and delighted her daughter’s with stories of her youth, memories of nursery rhymes and stories, dances during college, and reciting the poetry of John Milton. She often sat and played the piano as she had done for so many years, reading music into her 97th year. Her attention to detail was acute as she watched and observed her environment.
Her family wishes to thank Dr. Stephen Ellis for his kind care and the staff of The Mira Long Term Care Home for their care and support. The VON of Truro were a wonderful help to Mary while she still lived in her home for many years prior to her move to The Mira. The palliative care team assisted with her care as well, for which her family is grateful.
Arrangements have been entrusted to
Mattatall-Varner Funeral Home, 55 Young Street, Truro where the family
will receive friends from 4-6 pm on Friday, January 26, 2023 and
a funeral to celebrate Mary and her
life filled with faith will be held 2 pm on Saturday, January 27, Dr.
Steve McEvoy officiating. Webcasting of the service will begin at 1:55
pm. Interment will be held in Bible Hill Cemetery at a later
date. In lieu of flowers, donations
to Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation or Ronald
McDonald House Charities Atlantic in memory of Lauren Destun, Mary's
granddaughter are welcomed.
From Mary's Acadia Yearbook:
"I clutched at the hem of sleep and sought to pull it over me again"