Ellen “Dolly” Gibb died suddenly and peacefully at the age of 114 years old and 40 days on June 5, 2019 at Cassellholme care home in North Bay, ON with her daughter Sue Crozier and caregivers by her side. She was both Canada’s and North America’s oldest person and 9th oldest in the world according to the Gerontology Research Group (grg.org). She had been Canada’s oldest living person since January 2016 and is the 5th oldest Canadian of all time.
Her family credit her long life to great genetics and diet, regular walks, a love of family and generosity to others. She had a sharp mind in spite of hearing challenges and more recent mobility challenges. She remained serene, content, grateful and positive to the end. She had no chronic ailments and only had one short stay in hospital since she gave birth to daughter Sue in 1939.
She was featured in Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's national tour as he spoke about Dolly and her zest for life with her picture projected. She was also featured in Macleans magazine's Canada 150th Birthday issue in a story written by her great-grandaughter Brittany, and in many magazine and newspapers stories across the country.
Dolly was born in Winnipeg as Ellen Box on April 26, 1905. Dolly outlived her five siblings, Nora (Tuck), Art, Jimmy, Alex and Elizabeth, most of who lived well into their nineties.
Her parents were Virginia Beauvette, a woman of Metis heritage who sadly passed away after giving birth to Dolly’s sister when Dolly was five, and John Box, a Scottish-Canadian prospector for most of his working life who sought his fortune in the Klondike gold rush. Her father continued to raise the family, with the help of her older sister Nora and her mother’s sister on a small farm in St. Vital (now part of Winnipeg).
Dolly was predeceased by her husband Dave Gibb (in 1968 after 40 years of marriage), her daughter Eleanor Duggan (1991), son-in-law Dave Crozier (2007) and granddaughter Kathryn Duggan (2005).
She is survived by her daughter Sue Crozier, son-in-law Terry Duggan, and her 9 grandchildren: Michael Duggan (Diane), Rick Duggan (Mo), Maureen MacKinlay (Ken), Terry Duggan Jr (Bunny), Sue Nickel (Wolf), David Crozier, Marcie Crozier (Peter), Jane Wilkinson (Derek) and Jim Crozier (Kerry).
Dolly is also survived by 22 great-grandchildren: Kathleen Holton (John), Brittany Cutheill (Kyle), Meghan Duggan and Jill Duggan, Sarah Graham (Steve), Joanna Graham, Kathryn MacKinlay (Christian), Jayne MacKinlay (Devin) and Claire Mackinlay (Ben), Mitchel and Blair Duggan, Alexandra Buchanan (John), Elle Reay, Michael, Ryan and Kyle Wilkinson, Spencer, Graham and Ivy Crozier-Campagnolo and Tristan, Maxwell and Julianne Crozier. She is also survived by 12 great-great grandchildren and a number of nieces and nephews and their children from Winnipeg and westward who were always so good to visit and keep in touch.
Special thanks to her daughter Sue Crozier who she lived with and granddaughter Jane Wilkinson and husband Derek and their boys in North Bay for their years of local support as her son-in-law and her other 8 grandchildren all live in Kamloops, the Okanagan and Calgary.
Her family are also very grateful for the help of kind neighbours and friends, the home care teams from Cassellholme and Paramed nursing, the staff on the third floor of Cassellholme, Dr. Wendy Graham and Dr. Nicholas Prins. We are also so grateful for the special support of Alva Chapman in North Bay, and to Ruth Friederich and Virginia Kohar who helped Dolly remain in her home in Thunder Bay until she was 100.
A Celebration of Life visitation Drop-In will happen on Saturday June 15th from 2-4 pm at the home of Jane & Derek Wilkinson at 12 Beverly Rd, North Bay. For more info, call or text 778-443-4000.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice in Dolly’s memory.