Vera Glenda Doreen Galloway Drewery
After 87 years of hanging around Chatham-Kent, as the sun was rising on Sunday, April 18, 2021, she flew out of her body and rose higher and higher. Vera Glenda Doreen Galloway Drewery was born on the family farm September 13, 1933 near Merlin. She was the Daughter of the late William and Hazel Galloway and the Wife of the late Victor Melvin Drewery. She became Mother to Karin Drewery, her husband Peter Schoeler, Sally Joyce, and Brad Drewery. She was a fun and loving Grandmother to Brennan Drewery-Schoeler, Jessica Joyce, Chloe Joyce Grim and Bryce Drewery-Schoeler. As one of a family of nine children, Vera was the sister of the late Margaret Forzley, Stella Van Den Spiegel, Mary Galloway, Florence Galloway, Diana Medizza, Roy Galloway, the late Keith Galloway, and the late Ray Galloway. Family was always an important part of her life.
She lived through her first lockdown quarantine as a child with her Mom, Aunt and Siblings and dealt with long term effects from Scarlet Fever. She told stories of her Mother posting the grocery list on the tree in the front yard so that the grocer up the block could collect it and fill the order. He would then return with the order and collect the cheque for the food that was now pinned to the tree.
As a child of a Veteran who was injured during WWI http://www.gatheringourheroes.ca/hero/gallaway-william-g/ , Vera was industrious and started working early in life to help her family. Her first job was most likely looking after her younger siblings along with her Aunt Mort who lived with the family. As she grew, she gathered coal lumps for the family furnace from the railroad tracks behind her house. By age eleven she was folding sheets at the William Pitt Hotel. She did a stint as a Soda Jerk at Liggetts’ Drug Store, then moved on to be a candy selling clerk and then fully uniformed (including epaulettes and striped trousers), and flashlight armed, Usherette at the Centre Theatre. When Me Too moments became too much for her at the theatre she resigned and quickly was hired by Bell Telephone as a switchboard operator. Her quick mind and management skills had her rising through the ranks in the switchboard world at “The Bell”. After marrying Mel who she met at a Rondeau Pavillion Dance, they enjoyed a few years together before their firstborn, red haired beautiful Karin came along, and Vera “retired” to become a fulltime Mom, adding dark haired Sally and blonde Brad to the mix, all within four years. She was probably the first generation of women of her family lineage to raise her children mostly on their own, without the daily helping hands of Aunts or Grandmothers. In the 1970s it was time for her to re-enter to workforce and she found a fun and friendly position behind the counter at McDonald’s, doling out fries and burgers to many locals, and earning “Employee of the Month” status several times. When it was time for lineman Mel to retire from Ontario Hydro, she hung up her McD uniform and went on the road with him in their small, cute and comfortable Mazda powered RV.
She had fond memories of RV Road-tripping – even finding Sally in the backcountry of the Rockies one year. From West Coast to East Coast they went, exploring the country without any schedules or deadlines to meet. They enjoyed a vacation with Karin & Peter to the to Dominican Republic, and Brad kept them informed of the best fishing places when he lived in the Bruce and North of GTA. After being on the road long enough they traded Putt Putt in for a spot at Summer Place on Rondeau Bay, where they enjoyed many summers with small Grandchildren visiting and crawling around their ankles.
When work schedules were far behind them, family reunions, gatherings, and wedding anniversaries were highlighted on the calendar.
During her life Vera sewed, buying her first Singer sewing machine on layaway from Star Furniture. She was an active member of Sprucedale United Church, and the UCW. She was a CGIT leader. At Christmas time she addressed over 100 cards and baked many treats. Around age 40 she took swimming lessons for the first time, and enjoyed her time on the boat with Mel a bit more after that – she read while he fished. She became quite the reader when she finally had the time to immerse herself in books. Many of the books were passed from one sister to another, with their thumbs up or down recommendations.
After a time living with Parkinson’s, Mel passed in 2005, leaving Vera alone in a home for the first time in her life. It was tough at first, and then she began to realize the benefits of finding something where she last left it, and the other upsides of living alone.
In the fall of 2017 Vera moved to Riverview Gardens where she had excellent care and learned to live with others around her again. Some of the Staff nicknamed her “Trouble” – we will let them tell those stories. To help her pass the time Brad got her hooked on the Toronto Blue Jays and the RVG staff helped her keep up with the team’s schedules and standings. Her childhood friend Mary Elgie Rabideau lived down the hall from Vera at RVG, and is missing her tremendously. Vera’s family is ever grateful for the wonderful care and compassion she received while living at Riverview Gardens. Her Sisters were lifelong companions, friends, helpers and cohorts and the Galloway Gals miss Margaret and Vera enormously.
Vera’s family will be remembering her privately and interring her remains in Pardoville Union Cemetery at a later date. Those wishing to make a memorial donation are asked to consider Parkinson’s Canada or the Heart & Stroke Foundation.