'I loved pizza': Grandson pens touching tribute to 102-year-old grandmother
Published Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:33PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, March 14, 2019 2:39PM ADT
Gwendolyn Vivian Tobin loved pizza.
She also loved lobsters, ice cream, yogurt-covered pretzels, and just about any other food you could think of.
“An appetite is one thing I was never short of,” reads the beloved Cape Breton woman’s obituary.
“The only thing stronger than my appetite for food was my appetite for laughter.”
Gwendolyn died Monday at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, N.S. She was 102.
Her grandson penned the touching and unique obituary, as if in her own words.
“Her best quality, I think, was her strength and determination in being an independent woman,” says Steven Tobin.
The centenarian was a prize-wining pie maker, an expert at frying and baking dough, and she loved to read -- especially the weekly church bulletin.
Affectionately known as “mum”, “ma”, “grannie”, “nan”, “Gwen”, “Mrs. Tobin” or more simply “Gwen dear,” she cherished her friends and family, which included seven children, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
“I lived a wonderful life surrounded by warmth, love and community,” the obituary reads.
Her family says she rarely complained and kept a positive outlook until the very end, despite having faced more than her fair share of tragedy.
Born in Alder Point, N.S., Gwendolyn lost her mother at the age of 11, and it wasn’t the only death of a loved one she would face.
“One of the hardest things I ever had to do was outlive 3 of my children,” the tribute reads.
Tobin also outlived her husband, a grandson, and half-brother.
“If you know me though, the last thing I want you to do is feel sorry for me. There is no place for that,” Steven Tobin wrote.
Gwendolyn’s family says her strength has inspired them over the years, and hearing her inner voice in these final written words is helping them through a difficult time.
“I laughed and I cried and I laughed again. And that’s what Granny would want, is more laughter,” says her granddaughter, Donna MacIntosh.
“I think she was my idol.”
The obit goes on to thank Gwendolyn’s caretakers, who became like family in her final years.
But her most impassioned words are for her daughter, Cathy.
“You were my daughter, caretaker, cook, cleaner, chauffer and so much more. You allowed me to stay in my home until the very end. You took me for Sunday drives and over the past 15 years or more became my best friend. You gave me dignity.”
While Gwendolyn wouldn’t enjoy all the attention she is now receiving, her family says she would take it all in stride.
As for Gwendolyn’s final message, MacIntosh says it would be to enjoy your food and stay positive.
“Enjoy your food! Eat well, and eat a lot! But the biggest thing is the positivity and the strength.”
Gwendolyn’s life will be celebrated Saturday morning at St. Joseph Church in Bras d’Or, N.S.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald