Peggy Amelia Bates (nee Riches)

Peggy Amelia Bates (nee Riches)

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Peggy Amelia Bates (nee Riches), born May 12, 1929 in Luton, Bedfordshire, just north of London, England. She passed away peacefully in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Feb 15 shortly after a visit by her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters. She follows closely behind her husband of nearly sixty years, Bill, who passed away less than seven months before her. She was lost without him, and clearly he was calling for her to join him.

Peggy was the eldest of two daughters born to Arthur and Laura Riches. As a child and young woman, she loved her pets and going for bicycle rides in the English countryside. She did well in school and found work as a keypunch operator in the early days of the digital revolution. As a supervisor of a group of keypunch girls, she met a young Bill who came to install a new data processing system in her office. At first, she didn’t like his eyes, but as he had a motorcycle, she agreed to go out with him. They fell in love, and were married shortly afterwards in 1955. The very day after their wedding, Bill and Peggy jumped on a ship to Canada and started their new life together. For almost sixty years they were rarely apart.

After landing in Montreal, the couple eventually settled in Toronto as Bill stepped-up to better jobs in his rapidly growing field. Peggy gave birth to two sons and happily took on the role of a loving, doting mother and homemaker. The house was always shipshape, the meals on-time, and the garden her pride and joy. After the boys left home and Bill retired, they moved to a little waterfront property on the Trent River and enjoyed a busy retirement of more gardening and travel. In 2004, both at age 75, they sold their property and moved to Salmon Arm to be closer to their grandchildren who were ‘finally’ starting to accrue. All her life, Peggy loved children, and would just-as-soon get down on the floor and play with the kids as sit and chat with the adults. She had a special bond with her youngest granddaughter Tessie and when together, the two of them would invariably end up debilitated with the giggles.

Peggy will be remembered for her cheerfulness, the joy she found in simple things, and her never-ending, but oft-repeated, funny expressions. It seemed she could never say enough good things about the people around her. To use her own words, she herself was a ‘gem’, and ‘as good as gold’. She was always appreciative and grateful for the care she received during her recent decline, and those around her were sure to have their cotton socks repeatedly blessed. Many thanks go to the staff at Cottage 5 at Hillside Village for their work, compassion and care for Peggy this past year.

Peggy will be sorely missed by her son Alan, Alan’s wife Debbie, their children Hannah, Rachel and Teslyn, Chilko the dog (thanks for all the biscuits!), and her adopted family here in the West – The Phillips’. She is survived by her younger sister Jean who emigrated to Australia in 1952. Although they managed to visit each other only a few times over the years, the bond between them was enduring. Peggy will also be missed by many other relatives, friends and people she touched all over the world. She rarely missed sending birthday cards to children she knew, and kept in touch with so many by writing notes in close to a hundred Christmas cards each year.

After most any family event, Mum would always say: “I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world”. When she passes by St. Peter or whoever she sees on the ‘other side’, I hope she uses those same words to describe her life. Thanks for everything, Mum. Give Dad a hug for me.

In lieu of flowers, please support Canadian Alzheimer’s Research.

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