Died on Sunday, April 14, 2019, at the age of 95 after a long and productive life.
She was pre-deceased by her husband N. John McLeod. She is survived by her four children, Shelagh (Doug), Malcolm (Susan), Kathryn (Steve) and Alyson (Mark), ten grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and her younger brother Kirke Van Allen. She is fondly remembered by her many friends and colleagues in Sault Ste. Marie, and her niece Deborah Missere, who visited faithfully to the end.
In her final year Elta stoically endured her increasing disabilities until it came time for her to bring her life to a fitting conclusion. She came to death as she lived her life – on her terms. She was compelled to spend the last year and a half of her life heavily dependent on the excellent staff at Mapleview Nursing Home. But before that she lived independently in the Collegiate Heights Retirement Home, after leaving her longtime home at 37 Poplar Avenue; the house her father-in-law, Jack McLeod, built for her in the early 1950’s.
She was born in Stirling, Ontario, on April 1st, 1924, one of six children of Edna and Harold Van Allen. As a teen-ager, she attended the Peterborough Normal School and started her teaching career at the age of 17. In 1943 she joined the RCAF and served in Halifax through to the end of the War. After discharge she came to Sault Ste. Marie to teach elementary school where she lodged with the family of a fellow teacher Eliza McLeod. It was here that she met her husband, John McLeod, just back from serving with the Canadian Army in Europe. She accompanied John to Queens University in Kingston and then to Toronto where she completed her BA at the U of T while John finished law school and completed his articles to become a lawyer. The couple returned to the Sault in 1949 and with Elta’s strong support, John became a prominent lawyer and civic leader. At his untimely death in 1963, she was left to raise their four children, aged one through nine, on her own.
She went to work to as an English teacher at the Sir James Dunn High School in 1964 and then became the Department Head of Library Services in 1968, through to her retirement in 1985. She continued her late husband’s political activities as a leader of the local Liberal party – standing for the Liberal nomination in the Ontario election in September, 1963, just a couple of months after John’s death. She went on to serve as an Executive officer and President of the local Liberal Association. In 1971 she was appointed to the Sault Planning Board and in 1974 became its first female Chairman.
She was a prominent figure in the Sault as an early exemplar of a woman taking a leadership role in civic affairs. She had a wide circle of friends, travelled the world and generally enjoyed life. She took great pride in the achievements and activities of her children and grand-children and even in the last year of her life, as she lost her vision and hearing, she delighted in news of her great-grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
Elta wanted to express her gratitude to the Medical Assistance in Dying team who were helpful in assisting her to a dignified end to her long and productive life.
Family and friends are welcome to an informal come and go memorial at the Quattro Hotel from 2:00 to 6:00 on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
This message was approved of by Elta McLeod. Arrangements entrusted to Arthur Funeral Home - Barton & Kiteley Chapel (492 Wellington St. E. - 705-759-2522).