Susan Adelin ( O’Day ) Drayson November 30th, 1934 - July 29th, 2020
I struggled to write this to honor my mom...as it seemed impossible to put into a few simple paragraphs all that she was on this earth and in my heart.
I also know, that Mom...being the Historian and Genealogist that she was, she would want it to be perfectly researched and have all the correct spelling and Grammer!
I was fortunate to have had mom give me an outline of the most important things she wanted mentioned...so here it goes!
Mom was born in Montreal, to Martin and Adeline (Staples) O’Day.
Shortly after that they moved to Windsor Ontario. Grandpa was working with CIL at the time. The Salt Part of the Company within CIL broke off and Grandpa was transferred to Neepawa to work for Windsor Salt.
Mom was in Grade 4 when they arrived in Neepawa. It was not the beginning of the year, it was part way thru, and she still talked about the special friends that made her feel welcome. Eleanor Scott was one of them.
She considered herself to have always been a loner, as my Grandparents entertained salt people from the United States a lot.
They kept her busy with figure skating lessons in Brandon, Winnipeg, and Portage. And Piano Lessons.
She took Piano Lessons, along side Remi Bouchard from the same teacher, Gerald De’athe. Gerald was a concert pianist from Cambridge, that also played Jazz, which at the time was a No No but Mom loved it!
Mom’s heart was captured by the Love of her Life, Elgin Drayson, and they were engaged when Mom was 16.
Grandma and Grandpa O’Day had other plans for Mom’s future, and so began the attempts to separate the two of them.
From arranging for her to go to school in Switzerland, to Grandpa accepting a transfer to Windsor to manage the Ojibway salt plant, working under the Detroit River.
They tried...but True Love Always Wins!
Grandma and Grandpa moved to Windsor...Mom refused...she was 18 years old.
Mom moved into Mrs. Gwyer’s Rooming House with Betty Thompson.
On August 4th, 1953...Mom and Dad were married in Mrs. Gwyer’s back yard. It was a very small wedding. Bob Stewart stood up with my Dad.
Their first chapter was farming, and several miscarriages. Then they moved to Windsor in the winter and they both went to night school. Dad took a welding course in Detroit and worked at Chrysler. They lived with Grandma and Grandpa O’Day.
The Second Chapter was farming and a few more miscarriages. Then another move to Windsor. This time for two years. They had their own apartment and Dad worked in the mine. Mom was transferred to the Bank of Montreal.
Dad decided he did not want to carry a lunch kit for the rest of his life, so they bought a truck and back to the farm it was.
Mom said, they could see all the potential together of what lay on the other side of the fence posts.
Mom and Dad adopted Marty in 1963, and myself in 1966.
Countless fun was had with cousins, siblings, and nieces and nephews, and many cherished memories were made! Best friendships formed, and most of all, so much love shared through out life’s journey. Mom was eternally grateful for her bond with Grandma Drayson.
They had great love and great loss. First Christopher, then Richard, then Marty.
Mom worked at the Bank of Montreal from when she was 18 in 1953, till 1967, the year after they adopted me.
Mom taught music in Brookdale school for 7 years, starting in 1970. She didn’t think it was right that there was no music program...so she created one.
Mom was a life long member of the Fine Arts Festival, she was on both the regional and provincial body, and was President of the Province of Manitoba for festivals.
She was on the Arts Council, and was appointed to the Arts Review Board by the province, and played a key role in the Music in the Schools programs for the Province of Manitoba. She was also one of the board members forming the Policy for the Arts in Manitoba.
She was celebrated by being given the Province of Manitoba Premiers Award for Volunteering.
She taught countless students voice and piano, and accompanied and supported them for many many years. She was a community Mom for many and a safe place for them to share their stories.
She wanted to brush up on her piano skills, so began taking lessons from Remi.
He mentioned to her, that one of his other students wanted to form a female choir,..so mom said...if you want a choir...I’ll get you a choir! She began calling all the women she knew that liked to sing, from all different faiths, and that is how the Choraliers were born! She enjoyed being a part of them for many many years of fun, well into the 80’s.
One of Mom’s greatest joys, was helping to create the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation. Mom was on the Viscount Arts Council at the time. Both She and Marlene Siatecki were invited to Winnipeg to meet with the Thomas Sill Foundation people. From there...Mom had a vision...She started making calls to get the Movers and Shakers together in the community!
First there was the advisory group, and then the foundation.
Mom said it was really the perfect accident! Just good timing...being in the right place at the right time...with all the right people. She said, she probably didn’t even know what she was doing, and she laughed.
Mom stayed on the foundation until what she thought was 1996.
She lead the Springhill Hutterite Choir for 22 years, and developed many precious friendships, and felt very much a part of their family.
Her Grandchildren were a huge part of her heart and her life, and she could not have been prouder of them all. She was present for every first bath, and every first taste of ice cream! She was a practical joker, taught them all how to play cards around the table at the lake and read the most amazing bed time stories. She shared many moments in the kitchen and around the piano with them all. Many calls were had for Grandma’s wisdom, and advice, or to just hear her voice and say hello.
Mom’s other greatest love story was Lake Winnipeg. She lit up like the brightest star when she talked about it. Her young life being spent at Gull Harbour on Hecla Island, and her adult life, mostly at Hnausa.
She grew up on the water, loved to sail, and knew every boat on the lake. She shared the cabin with everyone that she loved, or that she knew would love it!
My Mom was my champion, my hero, my best friend. She knew my heart. She taught me how to navigate the waters of life, by trusting my journey, remembering my stars, and letting the winds of change guide me safely home.
Mom is survived by her daughter Shauna (Russ), her Grandchildren Scott (Eve), Briony, Kalin, and Sydney. As well as many friends and family that will miss her so very much.
Well Done Mom...We are so blessed to have loved you!
You will Always be our Lighthouse
Memorial Donations may be made to the Beautiful Plains Community Foundation, Neepawa Palliative Care, Charity of Choice or
"Do an act of kindness for someone in need. Pay it Forward."
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Susan Adelin Drayson, please visit our floral store.
Beautiful Plains Community Foundation
Box 486, Neepawa MB R0J 1H0
Neepawa District Palliative Care Service
Box 1240, Neepawa MB R0J 1H0