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On November 10, 2023 June Robertson (Castle) passed away at age 97. She is survived by her sons, Brian and Leslie, daughter, Barbara, five grandchildren: Stacey (David) Colgan, Shawna Robertson, Dale Tucker, Daniel Robertson (partner Kathy), and Ashley Robertson (Aaron), four great-grandchildren: Connor Colgan, Cooper Colgan, Dallas Bignell, and Melanie Bignell. She was predeceased by her beloved husband Eldon. When they met, he was a Canadian soldier who was visiting her home in England that they opened to soldiers during the war. Sargent C. Eldon Robertson of King George’s Royal Canadian Army kept the roads clear with his Harley motorcycle for the ambulances to get to the front in WW2 in Europe.
On August 18th, 1945 at St. Margret’s church, Burnage, by the Rev. S. Revell, Eldon, Sgt. (R.C.A.S.C), son of Peter and Rose Robertson of Mafeking, Manitoba married June, only daughter of Alfred and Ethel Castle of 16 Ascot Parade, Levenshulme.
In 1942, June attended Junior High School of Commerce studying typing, shorthand and bookkeeping. After graduating, she worked for a yarn agency that arranged deals between cotton mills and dealers. Working in this industry exempted her from compulsory registration for military service which would have happened when she was 17.
June emigrated to Canada in 1946 at age 20 and had lived in the third largest city in England. She and Eldon settled In Dawson Bay, where Eldon worked as a commercial fisherman. It was a very small community. It had electric lights via a generator. Water was hauled from the lake. It was vastly different from her life in Manchester. Once they owned a house, they sponsored June’s parents to emigrate.
In 1952, they moved to The Pas. June taught Sunday School and was Superintendent. She joined the U.C.W. which she devoted many years to and enjoyed the fellowship. She sang in the church choir. June was on Church Council and represented U.C.W. at Presbytery. She visited a great deal of Manitoba attending meetings, in the north, Thompson, Flin Flon and Snow Lake. In the south, she visited Swan River, Gilbert Plains and Dauphin to name a few places, wherever there was a United Church that could handle their numbers. She served as treasurer for 19 years retiring in September, 2013 with a Northland Presbytery Certificate of Appreciation and a gift card for June and Barb to have dinner at T.J. McCoy’s in Clear Lake. Barb did all the computer work for June and helped prepare financial statements and reports. June went to a special meeting in Ontario where she spent 10 days. She travelled with Keith Lyons, Teenie Ross and Ethel Thompson who was from Flin Flon. June served as advisor to the congregation in Flin Flon and would travel there and stay with Ethel. June had great fun in Presbytery. Summer meetings at her cabin in Clear Lake were no hardship for anyone. Ron Marlin from Dauphin would attend and Steve Wilson.
When June became less mobile, The Pas U.C.W. held their meetings at her house so she could attend. They adopted Barb as an “honorary” member as she was often there visiting with June for extended stays when the meetings were held. As a little girl Barb helped at Rotary luncheons and teas and bake sales in the church with her mom and grandma. June did so much baking for teas and funerals that Barb never ate anything without checking first whether it was for some cause!
June served on the Group Committee for Cubs and later in Girl Guides as leader and District Commissioner. She conducted many week-end and week-long camps at the Girl Guide camp at Mile 25, Clearwater Lake. The Pas Girl Guides used to share the camp with Girl Guides from Churchill and Fort Churchill who came by train for summer camp. One camp, there were 5 Inuit girls from Rankin Inlet. She particularly enjoyed camping and playing tricks. One time June and the other leaders sent all the campers to the beach and painstakingly crept into all the tents and sewed the girl’s pajama sleeves and legs together.
Her Grandma gave her a precious gift. She taught her how to knit when June was five. June continued knitting into her nineties. People still have her treasured handknits. She generously donated knitting to Westminster United Church and The Pas Hospital Auxiliary. She was a lifetime member in both and volunteered her time freely. On June 5th, 2013, coincidentally June’s birthday, she received a Life Membership Award in recognition of 20 years. Shawna attended the presentation and lunch with her.
June worked at Western Grocers for 19 years. Her employment allowed funds to travel extensively in Canada and the U.S. She wrote interesting trip diaries of all her trips and continued to read them and reminisce.
She bought a cabin in Clear Lake. She loved it there because it reminded her of England. She discovered Clear Lake when she camped there at a leader’s retreat for the United Church. Eldon and June took their children there often for summer holidays. Her parents also vacationed there with the family. When she retired, she moved there for the full summer and continued to enjoy her time there with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and many friends. Whilst there, she joined the Onanole United Church and U.C.W. While travelling for Presbytery, June and a representative would stay over in her cabin enroute to the next meeting place. It was so convenient to travel to Winnipegosis to visit Mona and Ray Snyder, dear friends who retired there from The Pas. They loved to see the animals in the park when they came to visit, often spending the night. She welcomed family and friends for 40 happy years. Each summer at Clear Lake, on July 1st there is a citizenship ceremony. June repeated the vows she made when she became a Canadian. She was very proud to be Canadian.
June returned to visit family in England only once with Barbara and Leslie, the summer after her mother passed. Later, Brian took her dad, Alfred Castle, for a trip. She said it was too hard to say good-bye and never went again. Family in England: Maggie Lines, Heather Elizabeth, Janice “Tiny” Obrien, and Dianne Styles and family in Canada collaborated and produced a written record of family history, partly by the many newsy letters, emails and phone calls exchanged over the years. Everyone enjoyed listening to June’s stories and admired her sharp memory for details. She left a legacy to everyone. She had cousins from England, Dianne and Trevor Styles, visit her in Canada. Her junior bridesmaids from her wedding party, Ruth Downs and Joan Blakely, are both still living and they have kept in touch all these years.
June wanted to live longer than the Queen and she did!
Cremation has taken place and a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date which will be announced. If desired donations can be made to the charity of your choice, in lieu of flowers. The family thanks the staff of St. Paul’s Residence who took such good care of her and provided compassion and support in her passing. The family thanks Linda Buchanan and Keith Lyons for friendship and spiritual support, and Neil Hemauer for easing final arrangements.