Irene Janice Milroy
July 19, 1940 to February 2, 2020

Following a courageous battle with Lung cancer Irene Janice Milroy in her eightieth year passed away on February 2, 2020, with her family by her side. She faced her last months with the strength and courage that she was so known for.

Irene was the loving mother of her children Janice Weir, Patrick Weir and Christine Nayler (Thomas).Cherished Nanny of her grandchildren Leah Anna Sanguinetti (Nicholas), Ryan Nayler, Tanya Nayler (Braden Stenning), Dustin Pineau, and Megan Nayler (Gregory Lehr).Precious Great Nanny to Nathaniel, Lily, Annabel, Colton, Violet, Penn, Ivy and Chloe.

She will be missed by her siblings James, George (Judy McAllister), Judy Martin (Jonathan) and Lyle (Deanna Rayburn). Aunt Rene touched the lives and hearts of many including those of her nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.

Irene is predeceased by her parents James and Doris Milroy, and her sister Joan Donnelly.

Irene lived first and foremost for her family, showing unconditional love to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Family dinners and holiday celebrations were plenty and she taught us that there was always room for one more at the table.

A Celebration of Life to honour and pay tribute to Irene will be held on Saturday February 15th, 2020 at Burton Avenue United Church in Barrie, ON.

Burton Avenue United Church

37 Burton Avenue

Barrie, ON L4N 3J3

Visitation 10:00 to 11:15 AM

Service at 11:30 AM

Reception to follow

In honour of Irene donations are welcome to the Lung Cancer Canada
Canadian Mental Health Association of Simcoe County
Autism Ontario Simcoe Chapter

Posted by Tanya Nayler on March 8, 2020
It's hard to believe it's been more than a month since you left. I miss you every day and Penn talks about his great Nanny a lot. Love you always.
Posted by Tabetha McGowan on February 14, 2020
Some of my earliest memories are of spending time with Christy and your family. Hours and hours of fun and always felt so much love between our families over the years growing up on Driftwood. My heart is heavy for my dear friends as they grief for such a great loss. Maybe our mothers are having a tea together, reminiscing of old times and laughing as they share those memories. Lots of love to Janice, Pat and Christy ❤
Posted by Janice Weir on February 12, 2020
If ever a single person could show the rest of the world what unconditional love was, it was you Mom. You made me the woman I am today, through your love, your strength and the values that you taught us to live by. Your love for others extended beyond the reach of your family, and you will be forever remembered for your legacy of love. Your Loving Daughter, Janice
Posted by Megan Elizabeth on February 12, 2020
R.I.P Nanny you were the center of the family our glue, our rock you truely made the family strong and stand together you made every holiday magical, you took care of everyone and gave us all so much love, I will forever appreciate everything you have done thank you for celebrating all my big moments with me, I will miss you and pray to you everyday, I love you forever
Posted by Brittany Dineno on February 9, 2020
Sending our deepest condolences during this extremely difficult time.
And then I heard the angel say, ‘she’s with you everyday.’ Sending lots of love & positivity your way.

- The Dineno family
Posted by Vicki Chiasson on February 7, 2020
You will be missed by so many I remember hanging out in front of your place, back in Driftwood- So many years as past.. R.I.P. Irene..
Posted by Pat Weir on February 6, 2020
Dear Mom,
I miss you so much.
It's hard to write how I feel.
The love you showed me
was so real. You taught me
to be such a stand up man.
Why you had to leave
I'll never understand.
I am glad that you are
no longer in pain.
I will love you forever.
R.I.P. till we meet again.

Love your son
Posted by Dustin Pineau on February 5, 2020
RIP Nanny. You will be greatly missed. I know you will always be watching over me and everyone else in our family. I will always love you and cherish every moment we shared.

Dear Nan,

You always told me I can,
Why u got sick I will never understand.
But I know in the end there is always a plan.
So I'll take this day by day cuz I am only a man.

My entire life u had always had my back
When it was dark, u were the light in the crack
The day I breathe my last breath I'll remember that.
I love you forever. I'll always miss our chats

As I grew up I knew I was always in your sight
The things you did for me I always hold tight
Especially when I shed a tear for you tonight
A phrase tht will stick with me inside it ignites
U would always say to me u are never filled with fright
Cuz even tho u may be small you are filled with MIGHT!

I love you so much nanny...... Xox
Posted by Steven Eleftheriadis on February 5, 2020
"As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;"
(Psalm 103:15-17)

May you and your family find comfort and grace in the sight of God during this difficult time, Christine, knowing and remembering that while time and circumstance may destroy the body, it cannot destroy the spirit, love, or the memory of this kind, caring woman, who lives on through the lives of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren now and until time itself shall have ceased.

Be blessed. Be comforted. And above all be assured that while these partings must needs come, death itself has been defeated by the same kind of love that your mom had in her heart for all of you.

It is that same love, I believe, that is with you every time you remember her, sometimes with a tear, sometimes with a smile, but always, always, with joy and hope, now, later and forever.

God bless.
In Christ,
Steven and Marion Eleftheriadis.
Posted by Christine Nayler on February 5, 2020
'I truly never learned what the words ‘I miss you’ were until I reached for my mom’s hand and it wasn’t there"

Mommy I will miss you every day for the rest of my life but I will try to take comfort knowing that you are once again with your mom and you are making candy houses and butter tarts in heaven. 

Forever in my heart


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Recent Tributes
Posted by Tanya Nayler on March 8, 2020
It's hard to believe it's been more than a month since you left. I miss you every day and Penn talks about his great Nanny a lot. Love you always.
Posted by Tabetha McGowan on February 14, 2020
Some of my earliest memories are of spending time with Christy and your family. Hours and hours of fun and always felt so much love between our families over the years growing up on Driftwood. My heart is heavy for my dear friends as they grief for such a great loss. Maybe our mothers are having a tea together, reminiscing of old times and laughing as they share those memories. Lots of love to Janice, Pat and Christy ❤
Posted by Janice Weir on February 12, 2020
If ever a single person could show the rest of the world what unconditional love was, it was you Mom. You made me the woman I am today, through your love, your strength and the values that you taught us to live by. Your love for others extended beyond the reach of your family, and you will be forever remembered for your legacy of love. Your Loving Daughter, Janice
her Life

Wind Beneath Our Wings

Here are the words I wrote for my mom's Celebration of Life and a slideshow we played.

From the earliest age Mom realized that life isn’t fair, it was hard and there would be struggles. But she didn’t let that dim her light or use it as an excuse to feel sorry for herself and give up. She lived life with grace and gratitude. She considered life a gift and did her best every day to make the most of it, not just for herself but for all those around her.

For Mom family was first, family was everything! She was a single mom raising 3 children on her own, but she had villages to help her, and as a member of those villages she helped in the raising of so many other children as well. She had a huge influence on the lives of our many cousins, and on the children of friends in our neighbourhood “Jane and Finch”, which has a reputation for being a unsafe place to grow up. Yet nothing could have been further from the truth when we lived there. Everyone knew their neighbours, neighbours became friends and friends became family.

As we grew and our circle of friends grew, our table grew too to make room for those we would bring home with us. Mom always had an open door policy at her house, anyone and everyone was welcome to stop by for coffee and conversation or to spent the holidays with us if they had no other place to go.

Also as we got older our problems grew in size too, yet Mom never let that faze her, she was the rock that we all leaned on and she was the calm amidst the chaos that often overtook our lives. Mom was old fashioned in many ways but she kept up with the times and kept learning and growing as our family did. Her attitudes towards topics such as mental illness and addiction changed as she learned all she could about these issues in order to support family members that were struggling. She made you feel that no matter what was going on in your life, no matter what you were dealing with, you were going to be OK because you had what it takes, you had the strength to get through and keep carrying on.

When Mom got sick there wasn’t a question in my mind of what I would do or where I was going to be during her journey. I promised Mom I would be there for her and though these last 3 months were incredibly hard, they were also a gift. I feel so privileged to have been able to be there for Mom, to care for her and to share the strength and love she so freely gave to me.

I miss my Mom so much already but I know I and all of us are going to be OK because of the gifts and legacy of love that she left us. Thank you Mom for the strength you gave to me. You will always be the wind beneath my wings.

Love Christy

Forever Young (Mom's 75th Birthday Video)

Sharing the video I made for Mom's 75th birthday. Mom was so happy that day. It was the last party we had at her Thornton house (the house that everyone called home). Till the day she died Mom remained Forever Young. That is how she would want us all to remember her.

Recent stories

Remembering Nan

Shared by Tanya Nayler on March 8, 2020
Here are the words I wrote for Nan's Celebration of Life. Her story changed so many other stories and will live on forever:

The only reason I am standing here today, is because my Nan taught me when things are hard you have to push through since there’s really no other choice but to move forward. My Nan was the definition of a strong woman and that was evident from her earliest days to her last. So even though part of me wants to curl up into a ball and pretend this isn’t happening, I know the best way to honour her is to take a deep breath and share with you all just how special she was. 

Nan always said she was small but mighty. And although Nan was a strong, independent woman, she was also the most giving and selfless person I’ve known. She was the rare person who could balance it all. She was a dedicated worker until she retired at 69, kept an immaculate house, always had perfect hair, and took care of everyone around her. She lived for her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. She even treated our pets as part of the family, despite claiming not to be an animal person, and she catered to the special diets of whatever cat, dog, or bunny we brought home. 

She was the glue of the family, and also our voice of reason. She would always tell you to do the responsible thing, but still support you when you ignored her good advice. Nan was one of six children and her siblings Georgie and Judy have said she was dubbed “Goody Two Shoes” growing up by their older siblings Joanie and Jimmy. So I think it’s not just Nan’s grandkids who didn’t always listen to her wise words.

Nan wasn’t one to talk a lot about her past, and we’ve learned recently she didn’t have the easiest childhood. Her family didn’t have a lot of money and had to move frequently. In the summers, in order to rent a cottage for a week, they would spend the week before picking tobacco and strawberries. Nan, ever the rule follower, never ate any strawberries in the fields. Later in life, she enjoyed more leisurely trips like camping with her sisters’ families, going to Vegas with her cousin Peggy, and Florida with the grandkids. 

Nan learned a lot from her parents, but most of all, the importance of hard work and family. Before her surgery, Nan shared fond memories of how her mother made every holiday special and how they enjoyed making candy houses together. She also talked about gardening with her father. These are things she carried on as her family grew. 

As the years went on, things didn’t get easier for Nan, but they were filled with joy. She became a single mother of three and had to wear many hats. Looking back at pictures though, it is clear Nan didn’t need much to be happy - all she needed was her family. Whether she was at home with her kids or being a social butterfly at family gatherings, she was happiest when surrounded by loved ones.

Nan was a hands on mom, from jumping rope with my Aunt Jan and her friends at Driftwood to making butter tarts or her award winning Halloween costumes. Like her mom, Nan made holidays special, but she also made the little things special too. She turned them into traditions tucked into everyday life. My mom recalls their monthly shopping trips to Jane-Finch mall where they would have milkshakes with their lunch before taking a taxi home with a trunk full of groceries. I remember stopping at Bak’s Market on Friday nights where we would get apple cider on our way in. Even in retirement, Nan made Friday night grocery shopping with Aunt Jan an event worth curling her hair for. She loved to feed her family, and that was obvious if you opened her fridge or cupboards. She made sure people’s favourites were on hand as well as specialty items for those with dietary restrictions.

Nan was also a proud hockey mom, especially the year my Uncle Pat won the “Most Improved Player” award after scoring the tying goal in the championship game. She fostered a love of the game with her grandkids too, with Saturdays often turning into Hockey Night in Thornton. Nan was a Red Wings fan, while Uncle Lyle cheered for Black Hawks, my brother and I for the Penguins, and just about everyone else for the Leafs . Despite the rivalries, it was always fun to watch the games together.

Nan didn’t just sit and watch sports though. She was one of the rare grandmothers who would play soccer in the backyard with the kids, and maybe the only great grandmother to do so. She gave Ryan, Dustin, Megan, and I a run for our money, but she met her match with great grandson Nathan, the soccer star of the family. Still, Nan’s stamina and array of skills would surprise many. She would cut her grass in the middle of a heat wave, do car and home repairs with my Dad, and whip up a mean toasted Western sandwich in a flash.

When Nan settled in Thornton she was happy for it to serve as the home base for her family. There were so many memories made in that blue house and the big backyard with the giraffe tree. Over the years, as the family grew Nan welcomed our partners with open arms and delighted in the babies that kept coming. In Nan’s eyes, once you became part of the family, there would always be a place for you regardless of where life’s path led. She was the type of person who believed there was always room for one more at the table. 

When Nan retired, she finally gave herself permission to relax. After years of waking up at the crack of dawn to commute to Vaughan, she started to sleep in. She enjoyed her daily line-up of shows, working on puzzles, and getting out to trivia nights and Ottawa festivals. But most of all in her final years, she loved watching her family grow and getting to know her great grandchildren.

Nan loved getting gifts off the kid’s wishlists for their birthday or Christmas and would have them bought and wrapped well in advance. She enjoyed trips back for celebrations like Lily’s first communion, Violet’s birthday, Ivy’s baptism, and holiday dinners at Nick and Leah Anna’s house. But she also stayed connected when she was far away. I know she looked forward to her Saturday morning phone calls with Annabel and video chats with Colton. And this summer, Nan took an extended trip back to Barrie to support Megan and Greg as they welcomed her youngest, tiniest great-grandchild, Chloe, into the world.

I’m so grateful to have had Nan closeby the last few years since I became a mother and that I got to watch the special bond she formed with my sweet Penn. Sundays at Nan’s house became a tradition for Braden, Penn, Tenley and I. Penn adored his Great Nanny and not just because she gave him his first ice cream or had cool lawnmowers. She held him while he was sleeping, fed him, danced and sang with him, and made him feel like the centre of her world. She had a way of making everyone feel that special.

One evening when Nan was in the hospital and we were heading home for the night, after we stepped into the hall Penn said we had to go back because he had “more kisses for Great Nanny”. I think we all feel there is more we wanted to share with Nan and we weren’t ready for her to go. But she will live on in all the wonderful memories, the traditions, and everything she taught us. We will carry pieces of her forward.

I didn’t know until last week that the name Irene means “peace”. Nan said before her surgery that regardless of what happened, she had lived a good life and that she was lucky to have had three children, five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. So even though we weren’t ready for her to leave, I believe Nan is at peace now and that she has left a legacy of love.

So thank you Nan for being a role model and for giving so much to your family. I love you now and always.

Aunt Rene

Shared by Susan Stronge on February 16, 2020
My mother is the last of the Milroy girls and I would like to share with you the memories of Rene that have impacted by life. I would like to start out with a quote from the poet Siegfried Sassoon. He said that, “Life, for the majority of the population, is an unlovely struggle against unfair odds, culminating in a cheap funeral”. Rene’s life owes itself this universality: in many ways it was unlovely and it was difficult. There are moments in her life where she must have felt she was fighting an uphill battle. It would be easy to sweep those moments of difficulties under under the rug and focus on what was good about her life. But if I did that, if I focused on only the good things I would be missing the important moments that shaped her into the person she became. Rene was always a warrior. This woman who probably has never weighed more than a hundred pounds her entire life was nevertheless one of the strongest people I know. Her courage does, and always will astound me. I always was proud of the fact that she defied a social norm and left a marriage that was unhealthy for her and for her children. She raised her children, and to a certain extent, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren alone. She did what her own mother couldn’t and built her own autonomy with a child in each hand. 

You could not know Rene without knowing the incredible dedication that she had to her family. This dedication extended past her immediate family and onto the lives of her extended family. Her siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews all experienced some aspect of her seemingly endless supply of love. Of course, watching her sit and talk with her siblings and cousins, you would never know they liked each other. Milroy get togethers are always marked by two things: loud opinions, and a salad with a total of three ingredients. Maybe four if someone was feeling adventurous. Rene was as opinionated as the rest of them. Perhaps even more so depending on who you asked. She had no problem giving people her opinion, especially if she disagreed with you. I think she even revealed in disagreeing with her family members. Yet despite the loud and forceful exchanges of opinion, no one ever left permanently scarred or angry from these events. Despite any and all disagreements, you were still family. In fact, you were quite possibly more than family. Rene always said her best friends were her cousins Peggy and Frannie. Spending time with family was an intentional choice for her that was not bred out of a sense of duty or responsibility. Her dedication to her family was there because she wanted it to be there. If a woman has the determination and gumption to quit smoking after over 50 years then she can easily decide who she does and does not want in her life. And she chose us. All of you here today she chose to put her time and energy into and we are all better for it. 

Her profound love for children, all children was felt by myself and my siblings when we were young. We would go over to her house every Saturday to a house full of food. Her grocery shopping excursions were legendary for the sheer amount of food she would buy. You knew there was no way that she would be able to eat everything she was buying, But that was the point. Like many things in Rene’s life, the effort she put into things was not for her benefit but for the benefit of others. Those shopping trips were one of many examples of the ways in which she would show you that she loved you. Those tangible expressions of love and of plenty were so important to me growing up. The simple act of eating sugar cereal in front of the TV watching Scooby Doo on a Saturday morning with my cousins and siblings was one of the highlights of my childhood. These were things I was never allowed to do in my daily life and that made aunt Rene’s home seem all the more wonderful and exciting. I have always supposed that there was a reason behind the bounty that her house became known for. I remember one Christmas when my kids were still little we had opened presents and my husband Ken had begun cleaning up and putting things in the car. He had gone to take the toys Rene had given to Ben and Robyn so they could be packed away and she slapped his hand and told him not to touch those. “Those toys are for the kids. They are not for you” she said. 

I think Rene’s desire to show love was a direct result of her own childhood. Growing up, her family was made to pick tobacco for a week just so that they could spend a week renting a cottage.  Anyone who knows anything about her parents, especially her father, knows that the tangible expressions of love she was known for and that she needed were not given by him. But Rene was not defined by the hardship but instead by the way she reacted to it. Her childhood was not easy, and her life was not easy. But she could make life a little easier for others. She could make sure the people around her knew that they were loved. She could make sure that someone else did not have to go without like she did. She derived so much joy from making sure others were happy and never had to go through the things that she did. Rene was known for making candy houses at Christmas, much like her own mother did. But I always thought of her actual house as a candy house. I never spent time there where it wasn’t absolutely bursting with candy and food. Her house was known for being plentiful, not just in the food that she bought, but also in the love that she showed to the people who entered it. 

Here we sit at the cheap funeral Sassoon was sure the majority of people must have in order to grieve. To honour a woman who all of us have known. A woman who has touched all of our lives in various ways and I can’t help but think that this experience is far from cheap. Not because of the amount of money that has been spent to have you all here and not because of the amount of money that you have donated to a charity in her name. This moment is rich in the love that we all shared for Rene. I can not repay her for the kindness she has shown me over the years and I am sure many of you feel the same. So I hope you will take this last opportunity for us to collectively honour this amazing woman to take a page out of her book. Life will always be full of struggles. It will be unfair and sometimes it will feel like you are fighting an uphill battle. We cannot change that. But we can change how we react to a situation and even if things cannot be better for us, we always have the opportunity to make things better for someone else.

Woman Of The Week

Shared by Christine Nayler on February 5, 2020
  1. In the70's and 80's Mom used to listen to a country music radio station called CFGM. The morning DJ was Big Jim Marshall and he did this feature called Woman Of The Week.  Mom really loved listening to Big Jim and all her favourite country music. I thought she would love to be featured as the Woman Of The Week. I wrote a letter to Big Jim and included a poem I wrote for Mom and Big Jim decided Mom deserved to be his Woman Of The Week
 Mom was surprised and delighted by the honour. She got flowers delivered to the house. A night out at a fancy restaurant and a song dedicated to her each day. When we were going through Mom's boxes of memories we found the cassette they sent her.