Ethel MacKay

Obituary of Ethel Kristine MacKay

MacKAY, Ethel Kristine (Saxhaug), 85, of Halifax NS, passed away peacefully on January 13th, 2023, at Hospice Halifax with her daughters by her side. Ethel was born in Trondheim, Norway (to Leif and Evelyn Saxhaug) in 1937. Her early years were spent in hiding from the Nazi invaders during WWII. Her father died during the Resistance and after the war Ethel and family immigrated to Canada. Ethel was raised by Beatrice and Ray Davidson in Brownsburg, Quebec. As a young woman, Ethel was very active and loved the outdoors, cross country, downhill and water skiing, as well as swimming and boating at the family cottage in upstate NY. She met the love of her life, David MacKay while working at CIL as a Typist. Ethel immediately made warm and loving connections with David’s siblings, with whom she became the best of friends, and they had wonderful times together including weekends in Round Lake, Kenzieville, and family reunions. Ethel and David raised four children, Ross, Janet and Jamie. Ethel and David also welcomed her nephews, Leif and Bjarne, into the MacKay household for many years. With all the children, plus many pets, there was never a dull moment in the family home and within their wonderful Leaman street community! Ethel’s love of swimming was always front and centre. She taught her children to swim, and she and David volunteered for countless hours at the Centennial Swimming Pool, helping to run swim meets with the Halifax Trojan Aquatic Club. Her love of the outdoors, water and sport lives on in her children, grandchildren and her great grandchild. Ethel’s tea biscuits were renowned, she loved to knit and had a great appreciation for the arts with her "sister” Joy who were both avid supporters of the NS Art Gallery. She loved to paint water colours with her dear friend Sandra and had wonderful evenings with the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS) Faculty Wives Association and her Bridge club. She was an entrepreneur and ahead of her time. In the 80’s and 90’s, Ethel and her close long-time friend June, and Gloria started and ran three successful coffee shops (The Coffee Corner). Ethel and David loved travelling the world together and were happiest in Barney’s River. Throughout the years, Ethel was incredibly devoted to all her family, but especially her grandchildren. Ethel developed dementia and she was very fortunate that Janet, with her wonderful sense of humour and devotion, cared for her for 9 years. In her last year, Ethel’s health deteriorated, and she moved in with her daughter before ultimately moving into Hospice Halifax. Through to the end, Ethel continued to remember and cherish her grandchildren and great grandchild. She passed away very peacefully at Hospice Halifax in the presence of her daughters. Ethel is survived by her sons, Ross (Lea), James (Lesley); daughters, Janet; sister, Evelyn Ann; 9 grandchildren, Allison, Jordan, Ian, stepson Lhian (Ross); Victoria, Margaret, David, Elizabeth (Jamie); and 1 great-grandchild, Nora (Allison and Piers). She was predeceased by her husband David, and brother Erling. A special thank-you and appreciation to the staff of Hospice Halifax for the exceptional compassion and dignity shown to our Mother through her end-of-life care, and her dear friend Sandra for her constant love and devotion. A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date, followed by the laying of her ashes along with those of her husband, David MacKay, in Kenzieville. Memorial donations in Ethel’s name may be made to Hospice Halifax.
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