Agnes Currie

After a full and fascinating life of 93 years our beloved mother, Agnes, will be at rest in Royal Oak Burial Park, Victoria, BC. She will be next to Gordon Wallace Currie, her husband of 50 years, who predeceased her in 1989.

Agnes’ father, Joseph Noble Wright, was from Peterborough, Ontario. As a soldier, he fought and was decorated in WWI. After being injured (gassed) in Flanders, he was sent to the Thornham, Norfolk Hospital in England. There, he met and subsequently married Agnes Bell, his nurse. They settled in London and had three children: Agnes, then twin boys: Billy and Jerry. In 1921, the family crossed the Atlantic by ship, and then crossed Canada by train to make their home in the Shuswap area of BC — first Duck Range near Kamloops, then Anglemont. Pioneer life here was rustic and hard, with a two mile walk to school, and trips on horse drawn sleds across the frozen Shuswap Lake for supplies.

Throughout those years, the family grew to include Pete, Frank, Irene, Ida, Ernie, Alan and Audrey, a total of ten children. Being the eldest child, a lot of childcare was expected of Agnes. Their next move, to Canoe, allowed the young Agnes to attend and graduate from High School.

In 1939 she met and married Gordon Wallace Currie, the eldest son of a respected homestead family. Gordon’s father, William Wallace Currie, from Woodstock, NB, came to Salmon Arm in 1899. He and wife Lily had nine children: Lily, Gordon, Fred, Doug, Don, Bob, Irene, Jean, and Lloyd. Gordon had almost as many siblings as Agnes.

Agnes and Gordon settled on a cherry orchard in Broadview near the homestead (which family members called “The Ranch”). They started a family.

Most of their working lives were spent in the Okanagan in the fruit industry. They changed locations a number of times; eventually, they established a home in Rutland where Gordon was a long time employee of McLean and Fitzpatrick; Agnes ran Currie’s Store, near the Rutland High School. Later, the family, including their two children, Karin and Ralph, moved to Ethel Street in Kelowna.

In 1966, with their children now educated and independent, Agnes and Gordon decided to travel. They sold everything and bought a round- the-world ticket on the ocean liner SS Oriana. They lived and worked in London, explored the countryside, and visited their English relatives. Next, they sailed to Australia, and then worked in Christchurch, New Zealand before returning to BC. This had been a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It was memorable; they talked about it for the rest of their lives.

On their return, they settled on the Saanich Peninsula near old friends and close to their children. There, they became fixtures in the community, operating Currie’s (grocery) Store in Saanichton. In 1977 they retired and moved to a home they built nearby in North Saanich, where they enjoyed their lives as builders, gardeners, nature lovers, and independent spirits; a genteel return to their pioneering roots.

In 2005, several years after Gordon’s death, Agnes moved into John Alfred Manor in Victoria, an assisted living residence. In 2006 she was able to return to her Saanichton neighborhood, moving into Legion Manor seniors’ residence. For the past four years, she enjoyed living there and was very well cared for by the staff, care workers and fellow residents. She came to regard them all as family.

Agnes’ BC family is: daughter Karin (Rob), son Ralph (Carol); granddaughter Courtney (Duy); and great-grandchildren Obi and Gretta. She also has family in Seattle, grandson Quinn (Katrika), and in Australia; granddaughter Alyssa (Jonathan) and great-grandchildren Imogen and Jack.

Agnes is also survived by brother Ernie Wright in Canoe, sisters-in-law Madeline in Vancouver, and Audrey in Salmon Arm, and cousins Doris in Thornham, Norfolk, Phyllis in Leeds, Yorkshire and Margaret in Toronto as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.

Family was central to Agnes’ life. She had a fascination with genealogy and kept organized records of their family trees — Gordon’s family from New Brunswick and Scotland and hers from England. She was a wonderful homemaker and baked the best bread, squash pie and matrimonial squares. She was a very intelligent woman and loved to visit with people and hear their life stories. She was surrounded by family at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria where she passed. She will be greatly missed.