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Lois Emma

Lois Emma Bray

Sep 21st 1928 — Mar 15th 2024 (95 years)


Lois Emma Bray (Fletcher), age 95, passed peacefully in her sleep, March 15, 2024, at St. Vincent’s Nursing Home, Halifax, Nova Scotia. Lois rests with her husband, Alan Gresham Bray, together again after so many years.

Lois was born in Great Village, Nova Scotia, September 21, 1928. She was the daughter of Doris Anna (Hatfield) and Lawrence Melvin Fletcher, the eldest of eight children. Lois attended Great Village Elementary School, Truro Senior High School, and the Normal School. After grade 12 she was recruited to be the teacher of a one room schoolhouse in Portapique, Nova Scotia. She taught students at every grade level, some of them not much younger than herself. Lois' confidence, intelligence and determination made up for her lack of teaching experience. Her summer adventures included waitressing at the Queensland and Digby Pines Hotels. She was accepted to nursing school and about to leave for Boston, but her father changed the plan at the last minute. Even though her dream to be a nurse was never realized, her deep care for others, her gracious hospitality, and leadership contributions certainly were.

Always bold and independent, Lois persisted and traveled west. Her first job away from home was with her friend from home at the telephone company in Montreal. She then nurtured a love of good design and fashion as a buyer-in-training at Ogilvy’s in Montreal, and deepened her appreciation for hospitality as the head hostess of the main dining room at the Banff Springs Hotel. While working in Banff Lois met a handsome young engineer, Alan Bray. She and Alan met on a blind double date (with different partners!). Nonetheless, sparks flew between Lois and Alan, leading to courtship and their wedding on June 30, 1951 in Calgary, Alberta. Lois and Alan went on to have four children, and Alan’s employment took them to three provinces, eight towns and about a dozen different homes over the years. As a mother and wife, Lois was constant and loving. Above all she provided a secure and happy home for her children. And the neighbourhood dinner parties! So many good times. Lois excelled in the art of gatherings and creating special occasions for family and friends.

As her children grew older, Lois’ volunteerism began in earnest while living in St. Bruno. She was proud to be the President of the Ladies Auxiliary at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal (many who knew her thought she could have easily run a hospital!). Spiritual practice and stewardship was prominent in her life. She was a lifetime member of the United Church of Canada. When new people came into a social setting, Lois was the first to create connection and belonging. We felt her compassion and care for all people until her very last day.

Lois enjoyed curling, picnics, camping, and cross country skiing in her Quebec-era. And she loved heading back east in the '60-70s for summer reunions at her parents’ Woodchoppers’ Cottage on the Bay of Fundy. With laughter and quick wit, Lois held the centre for the extended family in Toronto in the 80’s. She created so many treasured moments from weekly Sunday meals, pool parties, birthdays and Christmas celebrations. Perhaps the best years for Lois and Alan began in 1986 when Alan retired and they moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia. First in Waverley, and then to Lois’ hometown, Great Village. Here they were close to Lois’ side of the family and they forged deep and lasting friendships in the community. This was where they felt the most at home.

Lois loved nothing more than orchestrating her growing band of grandchildren. She would plan for weeks ahead for their arrival to go down to the bay, pick blueberries, and play in special places like ‘Pooh corner’, the tree room and the loft. She cultivated beauty in many ways, especially with flowers and gardening. For a time she and her sister Dot had so much fun running a cut flower business dubbed ‘Fuzzy Sisters Flowers’ (after their favourite summer beverage). She was a member of the Great Village Garden Club, the Great Village United Church, and the Colchester Historical Society. Lois was a founding member of the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia, and was honoured to be named a Lifetime Board Member.

Lois and Alan moved to Dartmouth in 1999 to be closer to family, and Alan passed away in 2000. She returned to Great Village - and spent many happy days over the next decade overlooking the fields, flowers and the bay.

Lois is survived by her children: Hugh and Christiane Bray of Dartmouth; Deborah and Edward Felt of Salt Lake City, Utah; Rebecca and James Colwell of Dartmouth; and Gregory Bray and Jennifer Smack of Squamish, BC; her grandchildren and great grandchildren: Kirsten and Adam Rees (Taren and Logan); Andrew and Morgan Bray (Hadley); Alana Felt and Gabriel Wilson (Naya); Christopher Felt and Andrea Hoffman (Hazel); Jordan Colwell and Leanne Gouthro; Trevor Colwell and Heather Nairn; Megan Colwell; her youngest and well-loved grandchildren Kya Skye Bray and Brysen Bray; her sisters: Ruth Burry; Dot Jennings; Margot and Art Guenther; sister-in-law Jeannine Fletcher; and her many wonderful nieces and nephews.

The family thanks the dedicated professionals in long term care, Parkland at the Lakes, and especially the professionals and staff at St. Vincents’ Nursing Home, Halifax, for providing Lois’ care over these last two years. We are truly grateful.

Memorial donations may be made to St. Vincent's Nursing Home or a charity of your choice. A private family interment will be held at a future date in Mahon Cemetery, Great Village, Nova Scotia.


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