February 26, 2012

FREDA ANN WATTS (nee TILLER) October 13, 1930 – February 26, 2012 Freda passed away peacefully surrounded by her children at St. Boniface Hospital. Left to forever cherish Freda’s memory are three children: Carol (Larry Robinson), grandsons, Christopher and Matthew (Tara and great-granddaughter Leah); son Bryan and granddaughter Marnie; daughter Barb (Brent) Gamey, granddaughter Jaclyn Christie (Mike Laurin) and Garret McMillian; sister Bernadine (Albert) VanLandeghem and their children Brenda, Donald and Wayne (and their families); as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Freda was anything but your typical 1960s housewife. She worked part-time as a floral designer for over 30 years; first at Windsor Park Florist, later at Eaton’s Flower Shop, and lastly at Lakewood Florist. She would quickly admit that she hated flowers but could tape and wire 100 boutonnieres faster than anyone, but her love of the business came from the creative outlet it provided. Freda met and married the love of her life Alf in 1950 and although there were plenty of moves in the early years, they built a house in Windsor Park in 1961 and Freda made it a warm and welcoming home for family and friends for too many years to count. Her door was always open. Her kids often brought home friends (some even moved in for months at a time) to enjoy some of Freda’s hospitality. She was a fantastic cook and we’d like to think world-renowned for her cabbage rolls. Open mind, open heart, open door. She personified all of that and more. After being born in Bruno, Saskatchewan to parents Rose and Joseph Tiller, Freda moved along with her siblings Trudy (Ted Graves), Joe (Florence) Tiller, Anton (Judith) Tiller and Bernadine (Albert VanLandeghem) to Winnipeg in 1940. The family settled in the North End where her father, a talented carpenter, built many houses. Freda and Alf met at a drug store at the corner of Sargent and Arlington and they said it was love at first sight. During her final sleepover at the hospital with her granddaughter Jaclyn, she was asked about her favourite life memories and she said it was her trips with Grandpa. We know how much they enjoyed travelling to Phoenix to spend time with Alf’s brother Bill (Gerry) Watts. Time spent with her sister Bernadine (Albert) at Grand Beach. Numerous trips to Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Victoria, one grand adventure to Spain, and many impromptu gatherings at the Ching farm in Darlingford. Freda belonged to two Rummoli groups. One group has been playing since the early 1960s and the other for at least 25 years. These ladies who were neighbours and friends became Freda’s sorority sisters. We know how important they all were to her and thank each of them for visiting in the hospital, calling to pass along words of encouragement and expressions of sympathy. She also loved going to the Casino. Whether it was a day trip or an overnight excursion, Freda was game. Although she’d say she wasn’t very lucky, she still enjoyed the pursuit of the big jackpot. She also started playing the same lotto numbers back in the mid 1980s – a ritual that must continue. She said if my numbers come in and a ticket hasn’t been bought, heads will roll. The family would like to express their gratitude to Freda’s family doctor Kevin Coates, the doctors and all the staff on the 4th floor at the Asper Centre for their recent care, support and kindness extended to Freda during her recent stay. A Celebration of Freda’s Life will be held on Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 1:00 3:00 p.m. at the Inn at the Forks, 75 Forks Market Road. As per her wishes there will be no formal program, so please feel free to drop by between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 to share a story, reminisce or just share a glass of wine to toast a wonderful wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation ( donate now ) and if the hospital could buy that spare Baxter pump they look for at least six times a day that would be great. You will be missed every day. Give Dad a big hug and kiss when you see him.   As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on February 29, 2012