In Loving Memory of
Mary Patricia Buie (nee Coomes)
November 18, 1944 - April 16, 2023
Mary Patricia Buie (nee Coomes), a resident of Kagawong, passed on peacefully in the Little Current Hospice on April 16, 2023 with her family at her side. She is predeceased by her husband John, a few short months ago, and her parents Bob and Olga Coomes (nee Dancy). Mary is greatly missed and held in her family’s heart by Jennifer (Dwyne) Cichon, Robert (Kathryn) Buie, Neil (Meghan) Lawrence; her grandchildren Chase and Brooke, Charlotte and Juliette, Simon and Sebastian; her brother Mike (partner Susie) (Dekuyper).
Mary was born in Horley, England and was very active in Guiding throughout her young life. She trained at St. George’s Hospital as a nurse and also completed midwifery training. She was recruited by the Canadian Red Cross to a new remote hospital on Manitoulin Island and she embarked on the adventure of her life when she crossed the Atlantic in 1969 on the Empress of England.
Not surprisingly, Mary was welcomed by the Mindemoya community with open arms. This young British nurse met her husband, John, when he ended up in the hospital after a snowmobile accident. On Mary’s days off, she would show up at John’s hospital window on horseback. The whirlwind romance culminated in a white wedding back in England 8 months later. Mary and John built their family home in Kagawong and raised their 3 children,
Neil, Robert and Jennifer.
Mary was an active Guider on Manitoulin, including 5 years as District Commissioner. She loved camping and nature and instilled these passions in her children, taking the family on summer camping trips to many provincial parks throughout Ontario. She delighted in the beauty of Manitoulin Island and wrote lengthy letters to family and friends back in England detailing her adventures and extolling the wild beauty of Northern Ontario.
In 1994 Mary went back to school to earn her Canadian midwifery equivalency. She was in the first cohort of foreign-trained midwives who completed this testing in Ontario and her family was so proud of her! Manitoulin Midwifery was started in 1998, and Mary spent the next 10 years hurtling down the backroads of Manitoulin and the North Shore delivering babies. During the course of her career Mary delivered over 300 babies! She strove for the best for her pregnant mums and took additional training to add
waterbirths to her repertoire.
A ceaseless community builder, Mary was a church warden, a lay reader, organized the Welcome Wagon for newcomers, volunteered as a 4H leader and Guide leader and loved to be the village nurse, dispensing advice at all hours of the day and night. In semi-retirement, Mary worked as the community health nurse in M’Chigeeng and built so many enduring relationships with members in the community. She enthusiastically shared her light and life with her church, her choirs, the Burn’s Wharf Theatre, her Mums and Babies and her family. She was Busy!!
Her retirement in 2008 was hampered by a cancer diagnosis in 2012, triple negative breast cancer. Eternally optimistic, Mary treated this
diagnosis as just another obstacle to overcome and found ways to
shine her beautiful light on this horrible disease. When the cancer returned in 2021, she again found the bright spot in her reality and enrolled in a drug trial to help further cancer research. She treated her cancer appointments as simply another way to connect with people and her optimism was contagious. At Hallowe’en she arrived at Princess Margaret Hospital for her appointment dressed up in costume! Dressing up and being silly at any opportunity is certainly something her children and grandchildren
will always fondly remember.
Mary Buie was a force of Nature, a force of good, a force of Love and Compassion to whomever needed it. Mary’s light grew brighter and brighter throughout her life because she stayed true to her love of Service to others and to God. Her Faith was paramount in everything she did because she saw herself as a servant of God. She also often said that singing filled her soul.
The family welcomes memorial donations to the charities that Mary supported for decades: the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace, Security, Mary Sherwood and her Children’s Orphanage in Madagascar, Doctors Without Borders, the Stephen Lewis Foundation or the St John’s Anglican Church in Kagawong.
Her Celebration of Life will be held at the M’Chigeeng Community Complex on Sunday, April 30th from 1pm - 3 pm.
Mary’s strict wish was for everyone to dress in bright, happy colours for the event.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Patricia (Coomes) Buie, please visit our floral store.