It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved mother Olive Josephine Desmarais (nee Watkins) on Monday, May 24, 2021 in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta.
Olive was born in Calgary on October 31, 1930 to Bill and Josephine Watkins and lived in the city throughout her life. She attended a one room Catholic school in the basement of St. Joseph Parish, until she moved on to St Mary’s Girls High School where she graduated amongst lifelong friends in 1948. Once graduated, Olive worked at a five and dime store (Woolworth’s) and took courses in typing; it was then that Norm caught her eye. Norm and Olive were married at St. John's Church on October 9, 1950.
Olive ultimately spent her professional career in the banking business, following in the footsteps of her father, and inspiring other members of her own family to follow suit. She started at a major bank on Steven Avenue. This was before the times of calculators, and she had to calculate interest by hand! Olive always joked about how banker’s hours were not a real thing, since she would often stay very late to balance the books. She finished her career at First Calgary Financial in the late 80s. Throughout this time, Olive was active in the insurance business, which gave her the freedom to work from home with 6 kids.
Olive dedicated much of her time to Corpus Christi Parish and the Catholic Women’s League, where she met many close friends. She held many different positions including diocesan secretary, provincial secretary, and president. In retirement, Olive also worked with several parish clergy in various roles. She enjoyed putting her skills to use in service to the Church, was very active with the RCIA over the decades, and was always a strong leader in Faith.
Olive’s greatest love in life was her family. She dedicated all her time and energy to ensuring their happiness came before her own. With her husband Norm, she was a lover of family get togethers, large dinners, and watching sports (Go Stamps Go). Olive was giving, kind, compassionate, and could always be counted on for a warm smile. She will be remembered by the long legacy of life she gave to her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.
Olive is survived by her 6 children: Annette (Frank) Glynn, Paul (Cindy) Desmarais, John (Michelle) Desmarais, Peter (Trish) Desmarais, Angie (Brian) Buchanan, and Terry Desmarais; her 16 grandchildren: Margaret (Glenn), Melanie (Allan), Renee (Grant), Tammy (Mathew), Amanda (Jean-Marc), Jason (Megan), Chantal (Jody), Chris (Stephanie), Jay (Laura), Desmond (Nicole), Ryan (Alex), Cory (Michelle), Matthew (Kylie), Danielle (Tanis), Breanne (Mark), and Chelsea (Steve); and her 28 great-grandchildren. Olive is also survived by her sister Linda (Dave) Platzner, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her loving husband of 63 years Norman Desmarais, her siblings Aleta Douglas and Gerald Watkins, and her granddaughter Stephanie Shields.
The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the staff of St Theresa Place - Covenant Care. The love, kindness, and dedication you showed Olive over her stay will be forever appreciated.
Relatives and friends are invited to participate in a live feed of the Funeral Mass which will be celebrated on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to “Together in Action, Annual Bishops Appeal” (https://www.catholicyyc.ca/donatetia.html).
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