Peacefully, with family by her side, at the Temiskaming Lodge on Thursday, November 19, 2020 Patricia Mae Cunning passed away at the age of 81. Pat was born on March 8, 1939 in Matachewan, Ontario. The youngest of seven children in the family of Stan and Ethel Welsh, she had five older brothers, Jim, Robert, Ralph, Jack, Gary and one sister, Joan. When she talked of her childhood, she recalled ironing dress shirts for the boys, her mother ordering clothes from Simpson Sears and Christmas cakes from the local bakery. As a teenager, she enjoyed skating at the local rink and going to the movies with her best friend, Eva. After high school, she worked as a secretary in Kirkland Lake at the Taylor Hardware office.
In 1964, she married the love of her life, Art Cunning, and was warmly welcomed into the family of Charles and Rowena Cunning. Pat and Art raised three children, Patricia, Jason, and Sandra, affectionately known as Pap, Jace, and Tine. They lived in Timmins, Sudbury, Long Lake, Manitouwadge and, finally, on the Welsh family farm in Elk Lake which they purchased in 1978. Pat loved the farming life. Digging potatoes and piling firewood, topped her chore list. She reveled in the connection to nature that farming allowed and often talked of how, when outside on the farm, she’d like to pause for a moment to just appreciate the beauty of the world around her. Pat hung her laundry outside to dry no matter the temperature. A common sight was of Pat carting frozen sheets inside like plywood, then draping them around the porch to finish drying.
More than anything Pat loved her family and they were the source of her greatest joy. She was delighted to have grandchildren, Heidi, Jake, Gabby, Leif, Laker, Oslo and Levi, and was a wonderful grandmother. Much loved for her willingness to provide endless meals and snacks, to join in games, to let them “help” and to always be a supportive cheerleader, Pat grand-mothered in the same affectionate, hands on way she had mothered: taking a turn at bat, a stint in the net, and many hours shopping at pretend stores or sipping tiny cups of tea.
She also enjoyed travelling and she and Art zigzagged across Canada many times, once travelling from Nfld to Alaska in the same summer. All of her life she loved skating, and used the same pair of skates she’d had as a teenager. Her last skate was on a rink we had made on the Montreal River when she was in her seventies! She liked the challenge of a good jigsaw puzzle, loved to dance and listen to music and we’ll be forever grateful to Elizabeth, a care worker, who said that shortly before Pat stopped walking, they had enjoyed a dance together. She appreciated a good coffee and a cold beer. She loved hot dogs and never turned down homemade baking or chocolate. Pat wasn’t a fan of playing cards, sewing machines not working well, potato bugs, or cats, especially the one that had kittens in her suitcase!
She was honest and hardworking, practical and genuine. She doled out life advice through her many favourite sayings: “It doesn’t cost anymore to be nice;” or “You gotta be tough;” She lived a wonderful life, “a good run”, she would have said, and we are so very thankful that she was ours.
Although Alzheimer’s changed Pat, it mercifully spared her any awareness of its arrival, and allowed her to continue to enjoy many years of life. She will be sadly missed and forever loved by her family and friends.
Cremation has taken place at Lakeview Crematorium, Haileybury. Arrangements entrusted to BUFFAM LEVEILLE FUNERAL HOME, Haileybury, 705-672-3122. As expressions of sympathy memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. Online condolences accepted at www.buffamleveille.com