This is Doris Alberta Howell, nee Gray. Doris (Do) was born February 8, 1910, to US immigrant parents, who had come to Taber, Alberta to take up a homestead just after the province was formed. She was the eldest of seven children, four born in Taber and three after the family relocated to Calgary in about 1917. Her mother, Lucy, was disappointed that her little baby girl wasn’t born “under the Stars and Stripes”, according to a letter her husband sent to their folks in Indiana when she was born.
She was a very vivacious, friendly young woman who formed lifelong friendships when a young girl in Calgary. At an Olivet Baptist church event, she met a handsome young man, Orville Howell (Bud), who also lived close to that church. Three years later she chose him to be her lifelong partner. They were married in her parents’ home at 1711-12 Avenue S.W. in Calgary, where the family gathered for many years afterward. The home is still standing.
Bud and Do’s fantasy was to have a nice little family of two boys and a girl. After their sixth son was born, with no daughters, they decided ENOUGH! It became a family richly endowed with parental love, using a philosophy of “controlled chaos”. Every child in the neighbourhood was always welcomed into their home and loved to raid her cookie jar.
Tragedy struck in 1945 when their third son, Jimmy, was drowned in the Bow River. Gram never really got over that tragedy – what mother could?
She went on to welcome 5 very special daughters-in-law that she loved dearly, and become “Gram” to 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved and doted upon. She was a great listener and loved to spend hours talking on the phone. Her kitchen table was the center of her home where anyone was welcome to come and sit, talk, or join in a game of crib or bridge. Family meant everything to her.
She died at age 91, three weeks after a great family birthday held at her home, where she still lived.
She was an amazing person – much loved by family and friends!
~ Kathleen Howell
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