May 2, 1934 – December 26, 2022
We are sad to share news of the passing of our Mother and Nana, Daisy Pauline Williams (nee Popoff).
Mom was born in Blaine Lake, Saskatchewan, the 2nd of 4 children born to first generation Canadians, Moses Popoff and Frances (Juravinski) Popoff. The Popoffs were Doukhobor immigrants who farmed in the area, and Mom shared early memories of horse-drawn sleigh rides across snowy prairie fields on Christmas Eve, and autumn days watching First Nations families setting up tipis in the field and helping the family with the potato harvest. Prairie farming was a challenge during the “Dirty 30’s”, and so the family moved to Kelowna BC, following relatives who had found work picking fruit. The family was forced out of Kelowna when Moses, a carpenter, attempted to organize a union, and they settled in Port Alberni, BC, where Mom – a shy girl but keen student, graduated from High School.
Mom went on to attend the Provincial Normal School in Victoria BC and after graduating with her teaching credentials, taught elementary school in the lower mainland. In the late 50’s, she came to Calgary to visit a friend and was introduced to Michael Williams, a UBC graduate articling as a CA in Calgary. They married July 18, 1959 in New Westminster and settled in Calgary, where Mom continued to teach until the couple started a family. Mom truly loved to teach, and the educator inside her was a constant throughout her life.
Mom and Dad raised three children – Susan, Jennifer and John, in Varsity Village in Calgary, later moving to the Bearspaw area. Mom devoted her time to being a mother and making a lovely home for the family, and became a dedicated volunteer for a number of organizations once her children were of school age.
Mom began her volunteer career as a docent at the Glenbow Museum, introducing school children to local history for many years. She also taught Sunday School at Pleasant Heights United Church, volunteered for Meals on Wheels, helped the Muttart Art Gallery develop their education program, and in the 90’s dedicated her time to fundraising and managing volunteers for UNICEF.
Mom’s creativity shone through in her talent for sewing and decorating, and later in her beautiful paintings. She loved flowers and ran her own florist business for several years. She was a lifelong learner, and a lover of the arts, and she and Mike were steadfast patrons of Calgary theatre groups, the CPO, and Calgary Opera. Mom adored her grandchildren, and their frequent dates with Nana were often spent in learning and discovery, at the science center or local theatre.
Mike and Daisy spent time much of their time as empty nesters exploring – from hiking trails in the Rockies, to discovering art and culture around the globe including Mexico. Italy, Turkey, Vanuatu, Morocco, and Russia. Despite various health issues in her later years, Mom never lost her curiosity about the world or her interest in helping others.
Mom will be missed by her daughter Susan Williams Brawn and son John Williams (Joanell Shykora) and by grandchildren Nicholas, Sam, Derrien, Kendra and Alyssa. We trust as she left this world she found Dad and Jennifer’s welcoming arms and lasting peace in the next. We imagine her Heaven has limitless libraries, museums and galleries.
Our thanks to the kind staff at Bethany Harvest Hills who took wonderful care of Mom in her last days.