Betty Louise Milner

January 31, 1929 - Calgary, Alberta
September 1, 2022 - Calgary, Alberta

Betty Milner (nee McPhail) passed away peacefully in her home on the evening of Thursday, September 1, 2022, at the age of 93 years. Betty was in the company of her loving daughters, and husband of 71 years.

Betty was born in Calgary, the youngest of seven children. Her father’s job as a locomotive engineer with CNR had them living in different places like Jasper and Edmonton.

In 1951, Betty got engaged to David, a fresh graduate from the University of Toronto. David was a mining geologist, and like many others, had travelled West to find work during the oil boom. At the time they both were employed by the Rio Bravo Oil Company, which Betty left to join Imperial Oil. Thanks to Betty’s help, David got hired by that company where he stayed for 35 years.

Over the years, the pair became parents to four girls: Anne, Janet, Margaret and Amy. The family lived in many places, moving to Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and even Libya. In 1967, because of the Arab-Israeli War, Betty and the family were evacuated from Africa and stayed for a stint in Malta.

Betty, David and their girls were a tightly knit family, going on journeys and camping trips across Canada and the United States. Most summers were spent at their 150-year-old cottage on Sturgeon Lake in the Kawarthas of Ontario. The property would go on to be enjoyed by many grandchildren, dogs, and family friends. Betty had the voice of an angel and loved to sing. For hours on road trips or on route to the cottage, the family sang old folk songs and shanties. Many of their grandchildren now know and sing those same songs.

Betty loved to travel. Italy was her most frequent European destination, however, her favorite travel experiences were circumnavigating Newfoundland and cruising from Greenland down the Labrador coast on a small ship. They planned to do the Northwest Passage on the same ship, but unfortunately, it sank in the South Atlantic.

When their children were older, Betty worked at the Evelyn de Mille bookstore where she learned the art of cataloguing. She also worked at the library of what is now Mount Royal University. Betty was a voracious reader and an active member of a book club and the Calgary Women’s Literary Club where she presented several papers over the years.

Betty had many interests and hobbies. She was passionate about politics, the church community, playing bridge with close friends, pickling, making jams and jellies, knitting, and cavorting with, at least seven family dogs (not all at the same time). A social butterfly, Betty was the driving force in organizing gatherings for friends, family and even people she had just met. Everyone felt welcome and at home with Betty. She had a great gift of bringing people together in joy and laughter over a shared meal. An added bonus: she was an excellent cook and ended each meal with a tantalizing homemade dessert.

A unique characteristic of Betty, known by all, was her deep desire to stay in touch with everyone she met during her life. She was an extrovert who loved people, and she in turn was loved by all. She had countless female friends, and it always amazed her when one of them came to her for advice. Her natural modesty blinded her to the fact that, each bit of advice she gave, came from a place of wisdom and experience.

Betty’s open heart, radiant smile, engaging laugh, and endless enthusiasm for life will be sorely missed by her family and friends. Along with her adoring husband David, Betty leaves behind four daughters, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Betty’s Life will be held at Christ Church in Elbow Park at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, September 16, 2022. All are welcome. Reception is to follow at the home of Amy Brooks and Louis Keene, (7235 Kananaskis Drive SW, Calgary, AB). Condolences may be forwarded here. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, 245 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 410 Toronto, Ontario, nature@natureconservancy.ca

In living memory of Betty Milner, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.