March 19, 1922 – January 13, 2014
Emma passed away on January 13, 2014 in her 92nd year. Daughter of Terrace pioneers, Edmund and Mary Hamer (nee Chambers), Emma was born in Toronto, Ontario March 19, 1922 while the family was there visiting her ailing grandmother.
Raised in Terrace, B.C. Emma moved to Prince Rupert, B.C. in 1942 when she married Rupert boy, Gordon Brochu, whom she had met at a dance in Terrace five years earlier. When Gordon died suddenly in July 1959, Emma sought a dry, sunny, community (anyone who has ever lived in Rupert will understand) where she and the kids could start anew. So in February 1960, she packed up her four children aged three months to fourteen years and made the move to Penticton, B.C.
In 1966, Emma decided it was time to return to her home town. She resided there until a stroke in 2004 forced her to sell her home and move in with her daughter, Gina, and son-in-law Len in Westbank, B.C. In 2008, Emma moved to Abbeyfield St. Peter’s House, an independent living facility in Victoria. She resided there until complications after a broken femur and hip in July 2013 made it necessary for her to move to a nursing home. Emma showed remarkable resilience, strength and dignity and was determined to walk again.
Emma was a fiercely independent, kind, honest, hard working, say-it-like-it-is person who always put family first. She enjoyed baking and would provide every family member with ice cream buckets packed full of her scrumptious goodies every Christmas. Emma made the best pies on the planet. She was also a gifted knitter and seamstress. Being practical and thrifty, Emma used to grow her own vegetables. Her pickled beets were legendary. Emma always had a soft spot for children and animals and was forever feeding neglected dogs and cats in her Thornhill neighbourhood. After being hit by a car, one such dog crawled to her home. Emma took him in and nursed him back to health with plenty of TLC and broth.
After retiring in her 60’s from a lifetime of waitressing, Emma enjoyed her bingo games, became an avid reader and was always ready to discuss politics and current affairs. To the chagrin of her family, who were worried she’d get mauled by a bear, Emma spent many happy hours in the bush on her own, subsidizing her income by picking pine mushrooms.
Emma lost her mother in1930 and her father passed away in 1944. She was also predeceased by husband Gordon (1959), siblings Bob (1972), Elsie (1990), Alice (1997), Ken (1999) and Ted (2009), and sisters-in-law Vivian, Verna, Wilma (2009), Marion and Margaret (2013).
She is survived by brothers George of Terrace and Harry (Carmen) of Duncan and sisters-in-law Jessie of Montrose and Jean of Terrace.
Emma is also survived by her children: Georgina Hamm (Len) of Victoria, Gordon Brochu of Victoria, Alvin Brochu (Christine) of Pentiction and Denise Brochu (Arlena) of Victoria. Her grandchildren: Yvette (Tory) and Ray; Tina, Gordon, Brett and Desha; David, Gary, Alandra (Shaun), Alvin, Andrew and step-grandchildren Floyd, Cinthia, Angelina and Jeopardy.
Great grandchildren: Spencer and Rhys; Erik and Trinity; Nathan, Mackenzie, Myla, Kyle, Emma-Lee and Madison. As well as numerous nieces and nephews in our extensive clan. She was also proud to have Debbie, Johan and Isabella call her their ‘Baby Grandma’, a name given to her by great grandson Spencer Kelly at a very young age in an effort to sort out his grandmothers by size.
Emma quietly accepted it was time for her to go after she was diagnosed with end stage pancreatic cancer on January 8th. She peacefully passed away in the presence of her family five days later.
Respecting Emma’s wishes, there will be no memorial service. Her ashes will be interred in the Pioneer Cemetery in Terrace, B.C. A family celebration of her life will be held there this summer.
The family would like to thank the Board of Directors and residents of Abbeyfield St. Peter’s House for their friendship, the 6th floor staff at James Bay Lodge for their caring and support, and Dr. Barbara Roback for being a compassionate advocate for Mom.
Thank you, Mom, for your unconditional love and support and for providing us with a welcoming home that always smelled like baking bread. You will be in our hearts always, Emma, Emma-Lou, Mom, Aunty Emma, Grandma, Baby Grandma.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the S.P.C.A. in Mom’s name.