In Memory of




Obituary for Mary Schoeler (Colgan)

We are very sad to announce the passing of Mary who died on May 28, 2023 after a short illness.

Mary was born January 6, 1937 in Halifax, England to Winnie and Danny Colgan. She was the eldest of six children, three girls then three boys. She was an excellent student and went on to nursing training and midwifery. Here she met her lifelong friend, Maisie, and together they went on many adventures. One of the biggest was coming to Canada, first nursing in Montreal before reading an ad in the nursing papers of “nurses wanted for the Rockies”. They set off, taking a train across Canada and landed in Golden, BC. Plans to nurse for a while and keep travelling were thwarted as the both met their future husbands and settled down to married life.

Mary met Egon, an immigrant from Germany who had been living in Golden a few years before she arrived. He was a handsome, funny, and friendly man who she fell for. They got married on a crisp autumn day and went on to have three children, Joan, Daniel, and Anne. Mary worked as an RN in the Golden Hospital and later as an administrator of the newly built long term care residence. She was a member of the Catholic Church, teaching catechism and singing in the choir. She was a girl guide leader, babysitter instructor, and organizer of many children’s parties for the neighbourhood kids and cousins. Always saying they would move to the coast when the kids were grown, Mary and Egon moved to Gibsons, BC and then on to Surrey, BC where they remained. Mary continued to work as an RN/long term care administrator in Vancouver at Central City Lodge until she retired from nursing. She then became a long term care aid instructor which she did for a several years. Thankfully, their children eventually moved to the lower mainland and remained a tight knit family. Joan gave them grandkids, Ryan and Sarah, and they were the light of their lives.

Once retired, it was full steam ahead on travelling, seeing the world by cruise ship. When not cruising, flying to see friends and family around the globe. Cruises with the grandkids were highlights.

Mary remained very close to her siblings, even though they lived on two different hemispheres. Mary, Patrick and John came to Canada, and Sheila, Margaret, and Martin, and eventually her mother, moved to Australia. It was quite a distance but this did not stop her from visiting them as much as time and money would afford, either in Australia or Canada or somewhere in-between. Once together, they would laugh and tell stories like no time had passed.

Mary was always a joiner and organizer. She was never without a group to participate in. She loved singing. She joined and sang in every church choir in every town she lived in. She never sat in mass as a congregant, she was always standing proud in the choir. Later in life, she joined the seniors choir and loved the music and people. For years she was an active member of Toastmasters where she honed her public speaking skills. She loved the challenge of the topics and coming up with a talk to present to the members. Mary never stopped learning and joined the seniors computer club to keep up on technology and was very active in her senior centre with organizing, funding, and maintaining the programs.

When Egon died in 2013, it did not slow Mary from having a zest for life. She continued to travel and visit family and friends, she hosted family parties, maintain a connection to Egon’s side of the family, and keep up with the fast moving world of technology. Her kids surrounded her to ensure she was taken care of but need not worry as Mary was a strong, smart, and independent woman. She took the love and concern from her kids in stride and, in turn, loved them back fiercely.

Mary’s family and friends will miss her greatly. Joan (Hiro), Ryan and Sarah; Daniel(Janice); Anne (Peter), and her brother, Patrick, will keep her alive with memories, stories and songs she loved.

The funeral/celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

She is Gone

You can shed tears that she is gone,
Or you can smile because she has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love you shared

You can turn back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

-David Harkins