Sally Katherine Midwinter
(July 4th, 1929 - April 28th, 2020)
Sally Katherine Midwinter (née Heard) died quietly in her home, April 28, 2020, with her family and caregivers by her side, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s dementia.
Adored wife of the late James Robert Midwinter, mother of Stewart (Julie Muller), James (Pamela Weber), and Jenny (Marc Desjardins); grandmother to Nigel, Ceara (Matthew Churchill), Derrick, Calvin (Justine Robles), Olivia Stille (Andre Schwartz), Andrew, and Julia Stille; mother-in-law to Cathy Kay, and Kevin Stille; younger sister to the late Bette Lechtzier (Merton); and daughter of the late Charles Decker Albert and Kathleen (Kate) (née Potts) Heard.
The younger of the two Heard sisters, Sally was born in Vancouver on July 4, 1929 and grew up on Blenheim Street in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, attending Lord Kitchener Elementary and then Lord Byng for high school. The sisters were the epitome of West Coast girls of their time, enjoying swimming, sailing, tennis, and any event which ended in a party with a large group of their good friends. Sally’s enjoyment of sailing began when her sense of adventure led her to accept an invitation to join an all-male sailing crew, going on to win a First Place in the 1950 Pacific Coast Championship Regatta and, as its lady skipper, was awarded the winning trophy of a silver serving dish.
Unusual for that era, both the Heard sisters attended the University of British Columbia, where Sally earned a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. When Sally joined the 1950-51 student council as the president of the women’s undergraduate society, she met Jim (the treasurer), who was so immediately smitten with her that he raised a motion on the formal seating arrangement at council so as to be seated next to her, thus beginning a life-long romance ending only with his passing in 2017.
Jim and Sally married in 1954, and with Jim as a Trade Commissioner in the Canadian Foreign Service, they launched on a 10-year adventure on three continents. Sons Stewart and James were born during their first posting in Guatemala, and after a second posting in Detroit, daughter Jenny was born in India. After their last assignment in Santiago, Chile, the family moved to Ottawa in 1964, where Jim and Sally remained for the bulk of their professional and retirement years, except for a final posting (1983-85) to Caracas, with Jim as Canadian Ambassador to Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. It was through all these postings that Sally further developed her sense of style and flair as well as new foreign language and culinary skills that made her the great hostess she was.
During the Ottawa years, Sally embarked on a long and storied career as a residential real estate agent. Starting out with sheer determination, she landed her first listing by going door-to-door, much to the surprise of her more experienced male colleagues. It was not long before Sally’s combination of hard work and outgoing personality earned her recognition as one of the city's top realtors. Her continued ability to read people, make a genuine personal connection, and an innate love of the business kept her very much in the game until she was 80.
Sally was a woman of great drama, with an impeccable sense of fashion. She had an incredible ability to converse with anyone wherever she went. She loved to be in her garden cultivating its much-admired beauty, and was always ready to welcome a visitor at her stately Colonel By Drive home, getting great enjoyment offering tea and cakes to her guests, and being well-known for never taking “no” for an answer. And during Jim and Sally’s sailing years, she often joined him as his “First Mate”, starting on the Ottawa & St. Lawrence Rivers, then later off the coast of New England, and her favourite, the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas.
The family would like to thank her dedicated caregivers: Aubrey, Geraldine, Marlyn, and Meirell who made it possible for Sally to stay in her beloved home through to the end of her life. Thanks are also extended to Sally’s additional caregivers Armie and Marylou, and for the end-of-life care received by Dr. Bridget Thompson and nurses Kurt and Benny. Thanks as well to earlier caregivers Angelina, Janet, Nenita and Rizza.
Sally was blessed with a loving family, and a long and fulfilling life. She has embarked on the next adventure with her Captain Jim. Fair winds and following seas to our First Mate Sally!
Due to COVID-19, Sally’s Celebration of Life is scheduled for a year from now on July 4, 2021 (coinciding with what would have been her 92nd birthday). Further details will be announced closer to the date.
Donations to Alzheimer’s Dementia research are encouraged.