We gather today to celebrate the life of Mabel Viola Steeves.

Mabel was the youngest of nine siblings born on October 17th 1912 to Charles and Bertha Thornton of Gleason Road.

She was raised on a farm and educated in a rural school. When she left school she trained and worked as a hairdresser for many years. She then made a career change and became a secretary working for Flewelling Insurance Agency and later at Canada Customs where she retired.

One day as a young woman she met a young man who had had his eyes on her. He was in love as was she and on December 31st, 1935 she married her lifetime mate, Richmond Steeves. They were a matched set.

During her lifetime one trait that was consistent was that of a kind and caring person. Her church work and choir were important to her. She was a Sunday School teacher who obviously was loved by her students evidenced by the many graduation pictures from them that carried the same message of respect and fondness that they had for her.

I can only imagine that her church activities also included her talent as a cook producing her signature recipes for fluffy tea biscuits, creamy coleslaw and cranberry salad to name but a few.

Family to Mabel was important. Mabel and Ritchie shared their home on Schoodic Street and their camp at Todd’s Point and later at Camp Talltrees on the St. Croix River.

Mabel has meant many things to many people. Izzie, her niece by marriage, formed a lifetime bond of Mother and Daughter. While Mabel and Ritchie were childless Izzie became and still is the daughter of the household. Every week for almost 60 years Izzie and Mabel went out for lunch, took overnight trips and shared secrets, hopes and dreams that only a mother and daughter can share. Izzie’s family became her grandchildren.

Mabel had a strong bond with all her siblings but none stronger than the one she had with her sister Mildred. These two women kept in touch by letter and later by phone. These communications were augmented yearly when Aunt Mildred and family would come to St. Stephen. A box full of photos recorded the birth of Aunt Mildred’s children, Floyd and Linda. It is a complete record from infancy to adulthood and beyond to the birth of their children. Our thoughts and prayers are with Aunt Mildred today.

Mabel’s siblings came to her as she was the tie to their birth place. At first it was her siblings and spouses and later her nieces and nephews too. One I know held a special place in Mabel’s heart, her relationship with Dot and her husband Art. I will never forget the day not too many years ago when I arrived for a visit and found Mabel and Ritchie in the kitchen. Mabel was reading a letter from Dot that included a story I think about a man and an elevator they were laughing so hard the tears were rolling down their cheeks. Mabel tried again and again to read it too me only shaking harder with laugher each time she tried to get the words out. As we well know Mabel and Ritchie loved to laugh.

After retirement she taught Laubauch Literacy, delivered her own home cooked meals to shut ins who were often younger than her, had a grand time playing bridge were her girlfriends, worked as a temp secretary and I know from little notes of thanks in a very quiet Christian manner did unto others kindnesses aplenty.

I too was one of those privileged people who spent time with them. I loved to go on holiday and 20 Schoodic Street was always a fun place to go. Whether it was tying flies with Ritchie or off to Calais with Mabel or out to Camp Talltrees life was an adventure with them. I was in awe of Mabel’s ability to call the loons.

Mabel was a person who found it far easier to give than receive; she believed in the phrase do unto others as you would have them do unto you; her sense of humor was always at the ready; a penny saved was a penny earned; and family and friends were blessings to be treasured.

Today a special thanks goes to the women who spent almost two years with Mabel and Ritchie which enabled them to stay in their own home. They may have been hired to do a job but what they gave was priceless…kindness.

Ritchie’s greatest desire was to always be there for Mabel. Their almost 65 years together is full of happy memories, snowshoeing up the St. Croix in winter, caneoing in the summer, square dancing at home and across Canada, trips to Alaska, England and in the Maritimes. Ritchie, you are in our thoughts and prayers.