Ella Wilson (née Gardner) was born in Kirkintilloch, Scotland on the eve of the Great Depression. The youngest of seven children, she grew up in a poor but loving family. From an early age, Ella was known for her life-long gift of a beautiful singing voice. Her childhood memories included the bombs of WWII exploding over the Clydebank shipyards. After the war, Ella married Arthur, the dashing RAF pilot whose family lived a few doors away. In Scotland’s struggling post-war economy, the young couple made the difficult decision to immigrate to Canada with their son, Angus, and begin a new life. But Scotland was never far from Ella’s heart.
Ella often recalled the hardships of those early years in Canada, with the cold and the homesickness. Over time, the family grew to include Keith and Heather. Arthur’s career flourished while Ella worked in school administration. They settled into a comfortable life in Ottawa’s west end, with summers at Norway Bay and eventually, winters in Florida.
Tragedy struck in 2009 with the deaths of both Arthur and Angus. With her own health challenges to contend with, Ella moved to the Westboro Amica retirement residence, where she lived among friends for almost a decade.
Ella died on September 23, 2023 at the Ottawa Heart Institute. That date was the 14th anniversary of the deaths of Arthur and Angus, which was surely on her mind as she passed. Ella was 93 years old and retained her sharp intellect, infallible memory, and dry Scottish wit until the very end of her life.
Ella is survived by her children, Keith (Maggy Antebi) and Heather (Max Friesen); daughter-in-law Cath Cameron-Wilson; grandchildren Julie (Martin Engeleder), Gabrielle (Colin Moïse), Roger and Saffi; and great-grandchildren Davis, Anna, Ashton and Adeline. Ella is also mourned by her extended family in the United Kingdom, who say goodbye to the last of the Gardner girls.
A funeral service will take place at 12:30pm on Sunday, October 1, at the Westboro Chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 403 Richmond Road, Ottawa, followed at 1:30 pm by a reception with the family. For those who cannot attend in person, the service will also be streamed online in the Tubman's website. In lieu of flowers donations to the Heart and Stroke Society would be appreciated by the family.