In Celebration of
Audrey Gibson Arai
September 3, 1936 -
August 25, 2020
With shock and broken hearts, we share the sudden passing of our beloved mum, Audrey Arai (nee McKelvey) on August 25th 2020.
Born in Dundee Scotland, Sept 3rd, 1936 to George (McKelvey) and Florence (Wilkie), she was raised in the shadows of WWII with her brother William (McKelvey). Trained as a nurse, she began her working career in a paediatric hospital.
Audrey was a tiny but mighty force of beautiful energy. After visiting Italy and France with her parents in the 1950’s, she travelled to Canada for one year - and never left. A proud Canadian, she never lost her Dundonian accent or her Celtic traditions. She met Arthur (Arai) while working at the Canadian Tire Home Office in Toronto, and they were married for 48 years. She leaves behind her daughters Laura (Lindsay Kotick) and Marian (Robert Bryan) and the lights of her life, her granddaughters Gillian, Sarah, Aynsley and Ellen.
Audrey lived for her family. She was a mama bear, full of protective love and generosity when it came to her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and all their children. Always supportive, she proudly celebrated everyone's achievements. She was a devoted partner to Art, and assistant labourer to home improvement plans. With good humour she would take on questionable “hold this for a minute” projects while Dad wielded shiny Canadian Tire tools. Summers were spent in Muskoka and hosting family from Scotland and abroad, which she loved. From the East to West Coasts of North America, Art and Audrey travelled on many laughter-filled adventures with dear friends, Dorothy and Bill Symons and Fred Jenkins. Ever positive, Audrey didn’t let a casted broken foot ruin a trip to Disney in 2011. She rocked a red scooter and challenged the family to keep up.
If you came to Audrey's home you were welcomed, well-fed and caffeinated. Unofficially, she gave the best hugs in Canada. She was a blend of pragmatic conservative ways mixed with heaping doses of authentic open-minded views of the world. She raised her family in North York, moved with Art to Richmond Hill in retirement, then moved to Ottawa after his passing. Audrey loved animals, reading, creating beautiful hand made quilts and the Toronto Maple Leafs. During this COVID pandemic she used her sewing skills and copious fabric collection to make masks for health care workers, family and friends.
As per her wishes, there will not be a funeral. A small family gathering will be planned at a later date.
We are grateful to all the staff who helped Audrey at the Ottawa Civic Hospital and the Heart Institute. They provided exceptional care and kindness. If you desire, donations can be made in her name to the Heart Institute of Ottawa, or any organization you feel represents her best.