By Lynda Richard
Bradner has lost one of its most beloved residents with the passing of Mary Fatkin on December 14th, 2015 at the age of 90. Mary was a hard worker who loved her community and family. She was close to her grandkids and spoke fondly of them, having been very lucky to live right next door to two of them for most of their lives. She loved the laughter and life that the grandkids brought to her home, which she shared with husband Les. Her love of community was evident, as she worked quietly, often forgoing the accolades of someone front and centre, preferring to stay in the background. People who knew her were well aware of how very much she contributed to our community.
Mary was also an artist, and her stained glass artwork was incredibly striking with the detailing and colour combinations. You may have noticed a lovely daffodil lamp front and centre at a previous Flower Show.
Mary was generous of heart, had a fun sense of humour and a really engaging smile. She is a lady that will truly be missed by all who knew her. She leaves behind husband Les, sons Bob, Bruce and Glen, their spouses and 5 grandchildren.
Mary will be honoured at the Bradner Community Hall on Monday, December 28th at 1:00 pm.
In honour of Mary, I have submitted 2 articles, that appeared in The Bradner Barker in April 2008 and February 1998, when Les and Mary celebrated their 60th and 50th wedding anniversaries. Hope you enjoy.
Bradner's Valentine Couple Celebrates 50
By Linda Richard, First Published in The Bradner Barker in February 1998
Right away, the good natured banter that goes back and forth between Les and Mary Fatkin tells you that these two have shared a lot of history together and have enjoyed every minute of it.
Mary Fatkin was born Mary Croisdae in 1925 at Bucher Saskatchewan just southeast of Regina. Her father, an Englishman from Leeds, jumped at the chance to homestead in Canada. He found, however, that his factory worker skills did not necessarily afford him the proficiency needed to be a successful farmer. There were eight children in the family, all hard working. Even though they struggled as farmers, they were a healthy and close knit group. The family moved around quite a lot, spending a good deal of Mary's childhood around and about northern Saskatchewan
She was 11 when she first came to British Columbia, settling for a time in the Ridgedale area on Matsqui Prairie, and finally coming to Lombard (near Baynes and Interprovincial).
Les Fatkin was born in 1921 at the family home on Myrtle Ave. in beautiful downtown Bradner. He quips that if his mom "wasn't there when we got up in the morning, then we knew she was out helping someone else get born".
He is part of the famous Fatkin daffodil dynasty. Les's father Fenwick started the first flower show in 1928 and was a driving force in instigating the daffodil industry in our area. Les had three brothers, all of whom helped on the farm. It was here that Mary first spotted her future husband.
Mary and here sister used to walk to the BC Electric Railway tracks from Interprovincial up to the store
on their way to school. When she started school at Bradner, there were two rooms, (where the Bradner School Library is now located), four grades per room, and approximately forty children in attendance. Les was already finished at Bradner.
Mary liked sports and was involved in various local activities, as was Les, and in a community as small as Bradner, it was not long before they met. Les used to hang out at the store and the Interurban Tram station. He had a friend there who informed him that he had a date with one of the Croisdale girls but she insisted on bringing her little sister and it would be appreciated if Les would come along to entertain her. Mary was only 12 or 13 at the time and wanted nothing to do with Les as a date. The two couples drove down to town to see a movie, and when Les tried to walk Mary to her door that night, he says, "she ran away so fast that Donovan Bailey would have eaten her dust".
When Mary finished school at Bradner she moved to Britannia Beach to work. She lived there with her sister. She went on to become an operator at the Langara exchange and during World War II worked
on Sea Island at the Boeing plant. At the time she lived on 8th Ave. in Vancouver. During the entire period Mary was gone, she and Les always kept in touch. When he went into the service in 1942, he gave Mary a locket containing his picture in uniform which she still cherishes to this day. Being a country girl at heart, Mary soon tired of the city and returned to Bradner where she picked daffodils and resumed her relationship with Les. Mary must have had a little other rather nomadic parents in her because she soon packed up and left for Port Alberni where she was employed once again as an operator. Les was left behind once more, but only for a while. This time when Mary returned they were married in the Bradner Presbyterian Church (in 1948), celebrating with a reception at Bradner Hall. On April 17th of this year the Fatkins will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Together they have 3 sons (Bruce, Bob and Glen) and 5 grandchildren all of whom they are extremely proud. They are close with their children, and their grandchildren who have greatly enriched their lives. Mary muses that the kids are very supportive, so they must have done something right.
When asked what their secret for such along and happy marriage has been, Mary is quite candid. She says that "No marriage is perfect. Times can be tough, but you just have to get through it. You must always consider family obligations before making any rash decision." Their mutual respect and admiration for each other is quite evident. Les cracks that his 2-3 years in the service got him used to taking orders. He figures that Mary hung in there because she could have done worse than him, and he hung in there because he knows he couldn't do better. Mary and Les have always tried to be supportive of each other's interests even if they don't always agree. They have tried, over the years to do what it takes to get by. They both agree that the daffodil industry hasn't produced many tycoons, but they've never quarrelled about money (or lack of it). They've always managed to be home for the kids, and always been able to stop work long enough to get them to their activities. Both Mary and Les have been very active members of the Bradner Community. Les joined the Bradner Community Club when he was 14. It cost 25 cents to join, and kids weren't allowed to say much at the meetings. He helped build the current Bradner Community Hall, was active with children's sports and was named as a Freeman of the now defunct Municipality of Matsqui. Both are honorary members at Bradner Community Club. Mary served as president of the Bradner PTA, worked hard at Bradner community events and looked after her mother-in-law Charlotte for 16 years until shortly before her death. Currently she does stained glass as a hobby, and the lovely creations around her home are evidence of her immense talent.
The Fatkins say time has slipped away so quickly, that it is hard to believe it has been 58 years since that first date. They can count on two hands and feet the times they have been apart. And how will
they begin their next 50 years? Well, there's no definite plans as yet, but you can bet they'll be together. Happy Valentines Day!!
Sixty Years and Still Going Strong
By Lynda Richard, First Published in The Bradner Barker in April 2008
April 17th of this year will mark a very special day for two of Bradner’s most beloved residents. Les and Mary Fatkin will celebrate sixty years of marriage and almost seventy years of knowing each other. They met on April 10, 1939 (Les still remembers the exact date), on the railroad tracks in Bradner. Mary lived in Lombard (Myrtle Road & Baynes) and Les lived in the family home on Myrtle. He often saw Mary (Croisdale) and her sister walking up the tracks to the store or to school and managed to meet her when she was just 12 on a double date with a friend. Mary was not particularly interested in Les at first and when she finished school in Bradner, she worked in several different jobs and moved around a lot. Although Mary was gone, Les was kind of stuck on her and he made sure they stayed in touch. During this time Mary would come out to Bradner to pick daffodils each season, and they did some dating.
In 1942, Les went off to war and soon after he returned in 1945, they became engaged. The engagement was short lived, however, when Mary decided to cut Les loose. Luckily for him, she saw the error of her ways and reconsidered. They resumed their engagement in 1947 and were married in Bradner Presbyterian Church and had their reception at the first Bradner Hall. The wedding took place on April 17, 1948, the same weekend as the Bradner Flower Show, which that year was held at the Orange Hall in Abbotsford. This must have been an extremely hectic time in Bradner, considering that the Flower Show was started by Les’s father, Fenwick.
Les and Mary are still happy together after all these years and at the ages of 86 and 82 respectively, are a model couple for anyone looking to make their marriage a success. They still look at each other lovingly and still joke good naturedly with each other. There mutual affection is obvious. They have no particular plans to celebrate their big day, but seeing them together makes you think that every day they spend together is a celebration. Congratulations Mary & Les, and all the best for many more!
Mary will be honoured at the Bradner Community Hall Tomorrow - Monday, December 28th, 2015 at 1:00 pm
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