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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Angela Pretty Woodford

Born in 1923, Angela was youngest girl of seven children born to Ida (Stewart) and Samuel Pretty of St. John's, Newfoundland.  She grew up in the west end of St. John's and was close to her mother's family, who lived nearby.  

Angela was a sickly child.  She had lost two young brothers, Albert and Robert, at an early age and her mother thought that Angela wouldn't live long either.  Ironically, she was the last surviving member of her family, who died one year ago tomorrow.

Ida (Stewart) Pretty's mother was Mary (Walsh) Stewart. Mary was in a rocking chair in Ida's house, holding baby Angela when she died.  Angela was dropped on the floor, but unhurt.  She had little recollection of her grandfather either.  Thomas Stewart died a few years later.

Aunt Angela married Alex Woodford, a young man from St. John's, who had served in the Royal Navy for the entire war, having signed up at seventeen years of age.  They raised their two boys, Donald and Ian, in St.John's.

                         Alex Woodford and Donald

I didn't really get to know Aunt Angela until the last ten years or so of her life.  My Mother and Angela talked periodically but I hadn't seen her in years.  When Mom and I went to see her after so many years, she welcomed us with open arms.  She shared pictures and talked about her parents, Alex, and her boys. Ian had died of leukemia in 1985.  Angela was devastated by the loss and took comfort in her grandson Ian, Don's son.  Later she had a granddaughter, Peggy, as well. Angela took great delight in her two beloved babies. 
           Angela, Ian (left), Donald

Don, like his parents, loves Christmas.  He writes, "They loved decorating the house and /or apartment and buying Santa toys for Ian (my brother) and I when we were young.  Despite the fact that they got by on a taxi driver's salary, I think it's a credit to them that I must have been almost 13 before I realized that we weren't among the richest people in town."

I know Aunt Angela was a loving woman who took care of many people during her lifetime.  She cared for her husband Alex during his illness, a child/grandchild of her sister Margaret after she died.  She also cared for a friend for several years as well.  

Her family, Donald, his wife, Peg, Ian and Peggy meant the world to Aunt Angela.  Her pride in them and her joy in their visits home were palpable.  

Angela's knowledge of the Pretty family helped me with the family research, and I particularly liked the fact that she thought I looked like her.  She looked like her mother, so we had a direct connection to Ida which I really liked as well.  Dad always said I reminded him of his mother.
        Angela Pretty Woodford

                    Ida Stewart Pretty
The last few times we spoke, I knew Angela was fading.  Her hearing had deteriorated so much, and she referred to problems in her abdomen.  She had suffered a number of medical problems over the years and it seemed like she was nearing the end.  Though not unexpected, it was still sad to lose her at the age of eighty-nine.  I still miss talking to her but she had fought the medical issues for many years.  Now Aunt Angela is having a well deserved rest.

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