It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Katherine Helen Pearl (Gunn) Irvine, beloved mother, grandmother, and friend. Pearl passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on February 11, 2023. She was 94 years old.
Pearl was born on April 30, 1928 in Tantallon, Saskatchewan, and spent most of her life in the Tantallon and Esterhazy area. Her parents, Jim and Jane Gunn moved from Caithness, Scotland. They arrived by train to Hazel Cliffe, Saskatchewan and settled in the Qu’Appelle Valley.
Pearl is predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Douglas Irvine, son Larry Irvine, grandsons Trent Ryan and Jason Irvine, son-in-laws Sandy Ryan and Steve MacLennan, sister Betty Kaplun and husband Barney Kaplun, brother Jimmy Gunn and wife Jean Gunn, sister-in-law Mable Tatton and partner Laurence Gavlin, and her parents. She is survived by her six children, Iona (Jerry), Mavis, Rodney (Thelma), Dennis (Debbie), Linus (Brenda), and Wendy (D’Arcy), along with 21 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren.
Pearl graduated from high school in 1945. She completed grade eleven that year with Vi Zeebeck. Vi and Pearl formed a life-long bond and friendship and eventually resided together at Maple Street Manor. Her career revolved around supporting Doug and his sister Mable Tatton with the Irvine’s Garage in Tantallon, which at the time was a busy International and Imperial Oil Dealership. After the garage business was sold, Doug and Pearl moved to the farm in the beautiful and scenic Qu’Appelle Valley where they farmed several quarters of land with Doug’s parents Alex and Jane Irvine and raised cattle and horses. After Doug’s parents passed they continued with the family farming operation. Rodney, Dennis, Linus and families, and Wendy lived on the homestead supporting the farm for many years.
Pearl volunteered at Camp McKay for several years cooking meals for the Bible Camp. She was also very active with the United Church.
Doug and Pearl eventually retired in Esterhazy. After Doug’s passing Pearl moved to Daisy Hill Manor. Other than one year at Shalem Manor in Calgary, Alberta, Pearl lived in Daisy Hill Manor for twenty-one years. She made a lot of special bonds with her fellow residents, along with home care providers who she loved and adored.
Pearl was known for her warm and welcoming personality and her home was always a focal point for family and friends to gather. Her home cooked meals were always abundant. Whether it was an after-school visit, a weekend visit or family event, you could always count on a fresh coffee, warm conversation, or a meal. The grandchildren will always remember the cupboard that was stocked full of candy and treats.
Pearl had a lot of hobbies that included activities in the community. She enjoyed knitting and crocheting. She knit every grandchild a sweater or crotched an afghan shortly after their birth. It was a perfect early example of how well they would be cared for in years to come. Pearl faithfully sent birthday and Christmas cards every year, which was always a highlight to her family. She will be forever remembered for her trademark signature in green ink.
Pearl’s baking was delicious, taking home ribbons year after year for her pies, cinnamon buns, bread, and bundt cake at the Tantallon Agricultural Fair. In her later years, she could often be found playing shuffleboard at the Esterhazy Golden Jets, or bowling with friends. She thoroughly enjoyed her iPad and kept intouch with family and friends over social media. Her only nemesis was gardening, which she felt was best left to others.
Pearl was a great music lover. After a brief time playing instruments in her high school band, she eventually found conducting a great fit. Her love of music continued throughout her life. She was very active with highland dancing, she enjoyed attending dances at Rainbow Hall, and proudly sang in the United Church Choir.
A great lover of animals, Pearl was incredibly attentive to her pets, and in turn, they were very protective of her. In addition to farm animals, Doug and Pearl had many family pets including two great danes and several protective pomeranians over the years. As many family members can attest, it was no surprise that all of the family pets knew where to find a treat from the table at a family dinner.
Pearl leaves a legacy as a loving, generous, thoughtful, deeply caring and sincere person, who loved her family deeply. Often strong in the face of adversity, family and friends loved and respected her and couldn’t help but reciprocate her loving nature.
Pearl was a true inspiration to her family. Her strength, patience, resilience, and unwavering love will continue to live on in the memories of family, friends, and those she touched during her remarkable life.
Heart & Stroke Foundation
1738 Quebec Avenue Unit 26, Saskatoon SK S7K 1V9
Hazel Cliffe Cemetery Fund
P.O. Box 1821, Esterhazy SK S0A 0X0