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Monday July 10, 2017

STURDEE, Doris Mary Ross (née Senior)
In Collingwood, ON, on July 6, in her 95th year, predeceased by her first husband, Oakland Kenneth Ross, and her second husband, Charles Parker Sturdee, as well as by her siblings Thomas (Senior) and Harriet (Lawson, née Senior). She was a constant source of giddy, spontaneous humour to all who knew her, and yet she could not tell a conventional joke to save her life. That was fine, because her frequent failed attempts at joke-telling were vastly funnier than the jokes she was trying to tell. She is survived by her five grown children, Cecile (Basil), Oakland, Kate, Nicola (Alex), and Dori (Forbes), by her grandchildren, Leah, Meghan, Anuschka, Misha, Sam, Theo, Isobel, and Willa, as well as by her great-grandchildren (seven at last count), and six nieces or nephews.

Let's face it, she was a nut -- but in a good way. Her brand of looniness was inspirational, a lesson to all. If only she had been named head of state, she would have united the country through laughter and disbelief. Born in Toronto on February 19, 1923, she grew into a woman of rare beauty and many accomplishments. She could skate and sing. She could play tennis and ride a horse. She could play bridge. She could perform almost any melody on the piano, as long as it was Beethoven's 'Für Elise' or 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.' She wrote everything down and then lost track of her notes. Until late in her life, the woman better known to her friends as 'Do' or 'Dodie' was a devoted cross-country skier. She was also a wonderful dancer, as light on her feet as a puff of air. She was an unorthodox but diligent parent, the sort of mother who drove her children just about everywhere, often delivering them to the correct destination at the appointed time. On the other hand, she once abandoned two of her young grandchildren at the O'Keefe Centre during a performance of The Nutcracker. She told them she had left her brassiere somewhere and had to go and find it.

As nearly as can be determined, not once in her life did she answer the telephone with a conventional 'Hello?' Instead, she would pick up the handset and emit some mystery phrase. 'What's it to ya?' she would growl. Or 'Gimme some o' that,' or 'Boo!' She taught her four daughters to protect themselves against the advances of overly amorous suitors by saying, 'Get off my lips. I gotta spit.' She assured them it would work.

She once spent an entire month wearing a strange pair of eyeglasses that, it would later turn out, she had salvaged from a parking lot. She couldn't understand why she was having these terrible headaches. Even as they entered their sixties, she insisted on communicating with her adult children primarily by means of indecipherable baby talk.

She loved the country but also thrived in the city. She aged with grace and dignity, relinquishing once treasured pastimes without unseemly displays of distress. She gave up driving. She gave up cross-country skiing. She gave up tennis. She gave up writing things down. But she never gave up her family or her legions of friends.

She was funny that way.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Hospice Georgian Triangle Campbell House. Thanks to the staff at Chartwell Georgian Traditions, particularly Hailey and Lisa, Dr. Geoff Moran, Dr. Jacky Lai, Dorothy and Rick from St. Elizabeth's and Lynn from Right at Home. Also, heartfelt thanks to Barbara Williams, as faithful a friend as ever there was.

Interment at St. Cornelius Church, 16631 Kennedy Rd., Caledon, on Thursday, July 13, at 11 am. Memorial to follow at the Caledon Riding Club, 15747 Creditview Road, Caledon.

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