Maureen Georgina Frances Brass – June 28, 2012
Have you made a difference in the life of a child? This question defines who Maureen Georgina Frances Brass was, and she lived her life accordingly. At age 16, she began her nurse’s training in Peebles, Scotland. After completing her training in Aberdeen, she moved to Glasgow and got her certification as a midwife and nurse practitioner. Yearning for adventure, Maureen moved to Toronto in 1968. She was there for six months, working at the Scarborough Centenary Hospital, before moving to Calgary with a friend. While looking for work, they saw a job posting for the Northwest Territories. She ended up in Cape Dorset and Clyde River, both on Baffin Island. After 18 months there, she returned to Alberta, eventually finding work at Foothills Hospital before taking a position with the Stoney Nakoda First Nation at the Morley Health Clinic.
Maureen arrived in Canmore, Alberta in 1973, having accepted the challenge of helping the Mount View Health Unit, now Headwaters Health Authority, establish a health unit in Canmore. Canmore’s children didn’t immediately love her – she did, after all, give needles, lots and lots of needles – but her caring, generous and kind nature, and her dedication to the health and welfare of children, won everyone over, even those kids whose first experience with her was a needle in the arm. That caring, generous, kind nature extended to everyone who came into contact with Maureen. For 35 years, Maureen was a fixture at the clinic, her B & B, and on Canmore’s roster of volunteers. In 1995 she was awarded the Governor General’s Award for being an outstanding Canadian.
Maureen moved to Sorrento in 2007, where she and her family had vacationed many summers over the years. She became a tireless ‘Sorrento’ booster, sitting on the Board of Directors of the Drop In Society, working diligently to improve its hall. Margo Friesen, who worked as Maureen’s receptionist at the clinic in Canmore, and who became Maureen’s neighbour in Sorrento, remembers Maureen fondly. Describing her as a very social person, very giving, Margo recalls that at Maureen’s B & B in Canmore, ‘the door was always open and the kettle always on.’ During her time in Sorrento, Maureen became the ‘go to’ person whenever something or someone was needed. She worked tirelessly to ensure the success of Sorrento’s Centennial Anniversary and had successfully applied for a grant to help replace the old kitchen in the Drop-In Society Hall just prior to her death.
Born in 1943 in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, Maureen passed away on June 28, 2012, while visiting her twin boys in Vancouver and Squamish. To commemorate Maureen’s life in honour of a lifetime spent in the service of others, her family established the Maureen Brass Memorial Fund, ensuring that her spirit of giving back to her community will be permanently remembered. The fund is open to all donations, and grants generated from the income earned by the fund will be disbursed to qualified charitable organizations operating in the Sorrento and/ or South Shuswap areas.