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George Penwarden

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George Sheridan Penwarden

February 7, 1930 - January 21, 2023


The final chapter of George’s life
talks of love and laughter, hopes and fears.
It speaks of adventures and of work well done
over many golden years.
It bears witness to loss and pleasure; to take and give.
Now George’s last page is full finished
but what is remembered lives!

George was born in Selkirk, Manitoba in 1930. He describes his dad as a “gentle person” and his mother as “strong and determined…ahead of her time.” George went to college at 17 and describes his time there as a “breaking out” period in his life. He worked for a year in a psychiatric hospital and realized he “had some kind of ‘knowing’ about people and situations…”

George worked summers to help put himself through college. Once in a logging crew, and then as a porter on the cross-Canada trains. He received his B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 1951, as well as his Bachelor of Social Work in 1955. He worked for a year after that as a live-in caseworker in Knowles school for boys.

George received a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Chicago in 1957 and worked for two years after that as a Caseworker for United Charities of Chicago and the John Howard Society. He worked with the St. Agnes School for Girls , as a Field Instructor for the University of Manitoba, District Director of Family and Children’s Services of Pittsburgh, Associate Executive Director and then Executive director of the Family Bureau of Greater Winnipeg, and Assistant Director of the Child Guidance clinic of Greater Winnipeg.

George was very proud of implementing a family camping program, an early identification program for all kindergarten children and a school nutrition program for the Winnipeg School Division no. 1 and implementing a better service for abuse victims and their families.

George and his former wife Nettie moved to Salt Spring Island in 1988. Shortly after George retrained in California to become a massage therapist. He worked from his home studio, as well at a spa on the island until 2005.

George became partners with Judith Boel in November of 2002. All of Judith’s family and friends welcomed George into the ‘family’. George and Judith were married on August 5th., 2022.

For many years Judith and George spent winters living in Mexico and alternate summers traveling in Europe. George loved to travel and had been to 46 countries; many with Judith but also with Nettie and his first wife Iris.

Two years ago George suffered a stroke, but was able to shelter at home with help from Home Support, special aides from the Red Cross and visits from friends and neighbours. He recently suffered another stroke, developed pneumonia and died peacefully with Judith by his side. Many thanks to Judith’s friends who brought food and companionship during the 9 days George was in hospital.

George leaves behind his former wife Nettie Harland, her daughters Shellyze and Kari, and granddaughters Zama, Ava and Nusha. George also leaves behind his step granddaughter Niamh and her son Rowan.

Judith’s children and grandchildren and special friends loved George and miss him. They are Sage and her daughter, Marija; Amie and her husband Trevor and son Keaton; grandchildren Wyatt, Nicole and husband Jamie; and Natasha. Special adopted family includes Rebecca, Pam and Icio.

The family wishes to thank Dr. Reznick; the care team from VIHA who came to help care for George and treated him with such tenderness and respect; the medical staff at Lady Minto Hospital, who were gentle, caring and compassionate even though the hospital is understaffed. Also many thanks to the Hospice volunteers who came to sit vigil with George the last nights so Judith could sleep in the palliative care room without waking every 10 minutes to check on George.


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