It is with deep sadness that her family announces the passing of Claribel Irene “Sue” Rowe (née Lawrence), on Thursday, January 11, 2024, at the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, after a brief illness, in her 96th year. Sue was born in St. Thomas on June 8, 1928, the third of seven siblings, to William Henry and Pearl Irene (née Dennis) Lawrence. In her early twenties, she would meet and marry the man she forever referred to as the love of her life, “my George.” They would go on to share 62 years of marriage until his death in 2014. Before and after her marriage, she always worked in some capacity, having been employed in the early days by the Medcalf Shoe Company in St. Thomas (an employer she always remembered fondly and reminisced about often) and later at Hartz Mountain until her much-deserved retirement. With their working lives behind them, Sue and George enjoyed travelling the world together, either by flight or by travel trailer, often heading out to parts unknown, but always side by side. Sue will always be remembered for her unique sense of humour and her prowess in telling a joke, never once forgetting the punch line, and always assured of getting a laugh for her delivery.
Now reunited with her beloved George, Sue leaves behind a multitude of friends, family, and neighbours, who will not only mourn her loss but celebrate a long life, well-lived. Sue is survived by her “little sister,” Myrna (late Murray) Zylstra of Delta, British Columbia, and sister-in-law, Lorraine Lawrence (late Bill) of St. Thomas, as well as a “flock” of nieces and nephews. Along with her late brother, Bill, she is predeceased by four other siblings and their spouses: the late Jean (Ron) Parkins; Helen (Don) Mathewson; Shirley (Guy) Bradley, and Gus (Betty Ann) Lawrence, as well as several nieces and nephews.
The family would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Aric Sudicky for his continued and compassionate care of “Aunt Sue,” to the staff on 5th Floor at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital (and, in particular, Trina, Eby and Caitlin) for their caring and heartfelt attention, as well as all of the services in the community that provided care to her over the years.
At Sue’s request, cremation has taken place, and a private family service will follow. A Celebration of Life will also be planned for later in the year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sue’s memory to the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation (Respiratory and Home Care Services), War Amps Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion – Lord Elgin Branch 41 Poppy Fund or the charity of one’s choice. Arrangements entrusted to the Sifton Funeral Home, 118 Wellington Street, St. Thomas (519-631-1160).
At Sue’s request, cremation has taken place, and a private family service will follow. A Celebration of Life will also be planned for later in the year.