Obituary of Florence Rhoda Victoria Routledge
June 22, 1920 – Belfast, Ireland
September 15, 2023 – Calgary, Alberta
With bittersweet emotions of heavy hearts that still rejoice, we announce that our deeply loved Mother Florence Rhoda Victoria Routledge passed into the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ after contending with progressive aging dementia since 2021, which greatly impacted her mobility and ability to communicate. Macular degeneration and early glaucoma, years prior, also greatly affected her eyesight although she pushed through the challenges as she sought daily strength from her Lord.
Florence Routledge (nee Burke), beloved wife of her predeceased husband Richard (Dick) Davidson Routledge, of Calgary, AB, peacefully passed away on Friday September 15, 2023, at the age of 103 years.
Florence was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on June 22, 1920. She immigrated to Canada in 1956 with Richard, first to Montreal and Winnipeg, Lakehead in 1966, and finally to their permanent home in Calgary in 1968.
Florence was born again at an early age and then rededicated her life for her Lord as a young lady. She often spoke of Craigy Street Gospel Hall where she attended with her parents and where her spiritual life and fellowship flourished. Her favourite Bible life verse was John 3:16. In her last days (Aug 10), she spoke of her assurance that she knew that Jesus died for her sins and that He was coming again one Day.
Florence was educated in the Northern Ireland school system and became a Dairy worker and butter producer while faithfully caring for her mother, father and four siblings during the great depression and World War II.
In 1946, Florence married Richard, an officer who served in the Fleet Air Arms, during World War II. She became a homemaker often moving between Maydown, Edenborough, Lee-on-the-Solent, and back to Belfast.
Florence accomplished much through her life continuing primarily as a homemaker but she also held a waitress position with the Hudson Bay Company in Winnipeg, then with a Swiss restaurant in Calgary called Chalet Swiss, near the old downtown Eaton’s store. It was often visited by then ‘70s Calgary Mayor Rod Sykes, who enjoyed and complimented the specialty soups prepared by Florence. Florence rose to the position of Head Chef but unfortunately had to resign to care for the health of one of her children with leukemia.
Florence had a passion for the kitchen and as an accomplished baker and pastry chef designed a variety of delectable delights for church and other gatherings, that included petit fours, flaky lemon squares, apple cream tarts, and other pastries. She baked potato bread, scones with butter and jam, and gingerbread. Every year fudge and one or two fruitcakes were always on the menu for Christmas. But her greatest and most popular joy in the kitchen was her prize butter shortbread. She would prepare hundreds of 8”x4” round tins of shortbread that she gladly gifted to many families, friends, and businesses. Through the years she touched the lives of many with her kindness.
Prior to her declining eyesight and some finger arthritis she also enjoyed knitting numerous intricate Aran sweaters, scarves, and hats. She blessed family and friends with this wonderful, warm apparel.
Florence prized her garden and took great pains to plant lavish numbers of geraniums, petunias, and other plants while always maintaining a red and white Canadian theme to match the house. Until dementia set in, trees were another of her passions and each year she would climb ladders to prune and shape them into a rounded cone. It took a while but when enough people prompted her NOT to get on the ladder anymore, she relinquished it to master arborist Kevin Armson (Aerial Tree Services).
Florence loved children and was a Sunday School teacher in the 1990s at the church she faithfully attended, North Hill Gospel Hall that later became Northside Bible Fellowship. She was affectionately called Auntie Flo and delighted the children that flocked around her with hugs and kisses as they received a candy bar or bag of chips and lolly from her special candy bag.
Florence’s most memorable vacation was a visit to Ireland in 1978 with her youngest son Ryan after her husband passed away earlier that year, where she enjoyed time being with family and friends.
Florence is survived by her two ever loving sons Derek (Audrey) and Ryan of Calgary, AB and grandson Daniel Stewart (Tiffany), great-grandchildren Ever and Milo, of Victoria, BC.
Florence is further survived by extended family through son Derek’s (Audrey) adult children by marriage, Stacie and Curt parents to great-granddaughter Hayley Enns; and Andrea and Rick, parents to great-granddaughter Trinity Derksen.
Florence is also survived by her dear remaining youngest sister Pam Clyde (John) of Banbridge, County Down Northern Ireland, and her dear sister- in-law Pam (wife to Florence’s late brother, Ernie), nephew Eric of Dungannon, County Tyrone, nieces Barbara (Dr. David McCluskey and family), Janet (Dr. (DDiv) Stephen McAuley and family) of Lurgan, County Armah, and Johnathan (Libby and family) of Castlederg, County Tyrone, all of Northern Ireland.
Along with other numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Florence was predeceased by her husband Richard, two brothers Ernie Burke and Gordon Burke, and one sister Sylvia Wilson (nee Burke).
The family would like to extend special appreciation to our family physician Dr. Khadija Naqvi, her assistant Lai, and the wonderful staff of the Trans Canada Medical Centre for providing excellent care coordination for medications and Home Care consultations for Florence. We extend special appreciation to the wonderful caring personnel of Alberta Health Services Home Care Case Manager, Ashlea Hoyles and Palliative Care Manager, Lori MacIsaac for their guidance, care, and compassion in Florence’s care at home. Many thanks also to CBI and Laila for her help every other week with Florence’s bathing care.
Although our dear Mother and Auntie Flo is no longer with us in this life, she is but a breath away and “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His Saints” (Ps. 116:15). We know that she is face to Face with Christ her Savior and receiving His commendation, "Well done good and faithful servant". We have been so abundantly blessed by her life and times and the lovely way she touched so many lives in her years with us. We will treasure so many marvelous memories of her in our hearts.
If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank Society, 5000 – 11 Street S.E., Calgary, AB T2H 2Y5 Telephone: (403) 253-2059, https://www.calgaryfoodbank.com/donate/ or Our Daily Bread Ministries Canada https://ourdailybread.ca/donate-2/.
Funeral Services will be held at McInnis & Holloway (Eastside, 5388 Memorial Drive NE, Calgary, AB) on Saturday September 23, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. Graveside Service to follow at Rocky View Garden of Peace Cemetery (243208 Garden Rd, Rocky View No. 44). Reception to follow in the Hospitality Centre at the Funeral Home at 2:45 p.m. Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Florence’s family here.
Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Mrs. Routledge’s service streamed live (see below) on the day of the service. For those who are unable to view live, a recording of the service will be posted.
In living memory of Florence Routledge, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Eastside, 5388 Memorial Drive NE, Calgary, AB T2A 3V9, Telephone: 403-248-8585.
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