Marjorie Derry

January 6, 1933 – May 28, 2020
Marjorie was born the oldest of four children in Kimberley, BC on January 6, 1933. She excelled in schoolwork and held academics in high esteem all of her life. She passed quietly in Whitehorse, Yukon on May 28, 2020.
Predeceasing her were her parents, Eileen (Derry) and Douglas Whitford, sisters Noelle Whitford and Sherrin (Nick) Johnson. The passing of Marj’s youngest son, Bruce McLay, was the most difficult time in her life.
She is held in the loving memories of her brother, Doug Whitford, and her children Gail (Alain) McLay, Becky (Ross) Blair, and Spencer McLay. Marjorie had a special love for her oldest grandchild, Michael (Shannon) Edeburn, whom she raised as a son in the Yukon. Her other three grandsons, Timothy Blair, Derryk Blair and Jake McLay were fortunate to also have exceptionally loving relationships with her. Bruce’s wee cat, TeeDee, was a precious companion for her last three years. As a mother and grandmother, Marj encouraged us, loved us fiercely and always put us ahead of any other concerns.
Early in her life, Marjorie found herself the sole supporter of her four young children. With the help and support of her parents and grandparents she left her community to study in Edmonton and became a medical stenographer, returning to her hometown to work in medical clinics and the hospital. Her life’s path had her eventually leaving Kimberley again to live in other BC small towns – Riondel and Pitt Meadows. Marj ultimately settled in Whitehorse in 1972, where she formed lasting relationships with many in the city.
Her passion for numbers ultimately led to Marjorie being employed by the government, where she found a fulfilling career and found a family. Marjorie’s supervisor says, “Her interpersonal skills and demanding standards were a very important part of the success of the Bureau, and she became known as the ‘Mother of the Yukon Bureau of Statistics’.”
Being a resident of the Yukon was a source of pride for Marjorie, and the kind people there soon became her extended family. She was so privileged to have met friends who included her in their daily lives. Joe MacGilllivery was another son for her, and his girls Erin, Jody and Kelty became Yukon granddaughters. Rebecca Fenton welcomed Marj into their home and was a supporter always for her. Maria Oswald, Tom DeBolt and Lucky who ensured she was included in all of their celebration and life events.
Jim Fox, Glenn and Barb Grant, Yoshi, Gerri and Ruth Armson were valued friends. Marjorie was thrilled to have the title of “Honorary Yukon Great Grandmother” for Asher, who was far away but close in her heart.
Mom was a proud member of the “Yukon 33’s”, and called Ione Christiansen and the other members her friends. She was fiercely independent and those who lived near her helped immensely – JR and Tonya were watchful neighbours and Tom ensured snow was always cleared for her.
The family is so grateful for the kindness of many Yukoners – especially her physician Dr. Bell and the nurses and staff at the hospital for her care. Marj was so very appreciative of the kindness and gentle care from Homecare worker America.
Ruth sent words of comfort for us – “She was a very caring, astute lady with integrity, grit and a wry sense humour.” Marjorie has left a huge hole in so many hearts.Obituary

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