Patricia Anne Risley
Born June 10, 1920, died May 10, 2014. Only child of Kathleen Carter Bourke, Gravesend, England and John Bourke, Dieppe, France. She was educated at the County School for Girls in Gravesend, Kent, England. In 1938, she and her mother moved to London. The next year they rented a home in Bramley, Surrey where she was involved in helping the evacuees from London get settled. At 18, she became engaged to George Milne who was killed very soon afterwards in the war in France. In 1941, she married a Canadian officer, Major Robert Campbell Risley from Sydney, N.S. While he was away at war she worked as a Red Cross nurse and was a certified ambulance driver. Their first son, Robert was born in 1942. In 1946 she sailed with her mother and young son on the Aquitania, landing at Pier 21 to join her husband in Halifax.
The focus in her life was her family. She loved being outdoors and encouraged all her children and their children to be active. Many weekends in our youth were spent walking along the coastline in and around Halifax. Having grown up beside the River Thames and spending childhood holidays by the sea, she passed on this love for the ocean to all of us. An excellent golfer she was on the Nova Scotia provincial team several times and won two ladies championships at Ashburn Golf Club. On her 85th birthday she played golf with her two sons and beat them both! She passed on her love for skiing to her children and many winter weekends growing up were spent at Wentworth and then further afield. Her summers at various homes in Chester were her joy for many years. Her cottage between the Chester Golf Course and her son John's home was one of her favorite places, puttering in her garden after a day of swimming in the ocean, playing golf and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Another beloved spot was walking the beach or the golf course at White Point with her son Robert and his family.
After the death of her husband in 1965 she began working at National Art where she supervised the colouring of the renowned black and white photographs of Wallace R. MacAskill. She loved this job and the people she met. Later she became involved in an amateur theatre group, Halifax Independent Theatre, as the "props lady". She loved to paint and up until her last few months painted watercolour cards for her family for all special occasions. A published author of dozens of short children's stories, Granny's letters to her children and grandchildren were cherished and anticipated as they travelled around the world - Gran's special messages from home. As technology changed she embraced her computer to communicate with her grandchildren and friends, and could be seen pecking away with two fingers, cigarette hanging from her mouth. She instilled a love of literature (poetry in particular) and could recite until the very end, random pieces of poetry appropriate to the moment. Many of her grandchildren remember early morning tea, toast and stories in bed with Granny whether in Chester or in Halifax. All her family were encouraged to follow their passions, embrace a challenge and work hard for the rewards that life can bring. Her sense of humour and of the ridiculous cheered up many a troubled family member along with a piece of Gran's disaster cake (always baked in times of need for anyone who needed it) and a cup of tea.
She is survived by her children; son, Robert (Alicia Crooks) and his children, Stephen of Canning, Lisa of Halifax and Hilary of Calgary; son John (Judi MacDonald) and their children, Michael (Elvina), Los Angeles and Sarah of Halifax; daughter, Suzanne of Halifax and her daughter, Emily, Toronto; daughter, Jane (John Bottomley), Halifax and their children,
Nicholas, Tucker, Bruce and Kristine (Tom McMullin); great-grandchildren, Abbi Enders, Alexander
Risley, Halifax; Dakota and Henry Risley, Los Angeles; Max and Leo Barnett, Halifax (father Guy Barnett); step great-grandchildren, Azusa and Reina Bottomley, Japan; Kieran and Kate McMullin, Dartmouth; great great-grandson, Kai Enders of Halifax; former daughter-in-law, Elaine Sibson, Halifax, and her daughter Suzanne's much beloved dogs Toby and Tess.
The family would like to thank Dr. Stewart Cameron, the Cancer Centre and all its staff, the wonderful VON's who came to see her every day while at home, and the staff of 7A Palliative Care at the VG. You all showed our mother the compassion and caring that made the end of her life the best it could be. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
A private memorial service will be held. Donations may be made in her name to Bide Awhile Animal Shelter, Plan International Canada or the children's charity of your choice.
We have compiled a short list of "Mum's Witticisms" that demonstrate her wonderful sense of humour and love of life. We would be happy to send this to anyone who might be interested. Simply email and indicate if you would like an email copy or a hard copy by mail.

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