Ethel passed away peacefully on July 19, 2006 at Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan. Predeceased by husband Jack, parents Anna and Carl Swanson, sisters Edith Tiesu (Walter) and Bonnie Marley (Ed), Ethel is survived by sons Larry (Katharine), Donald (Margaret) and John (Sandy), grandchildren John, Michael, Simon and Sarah.
Ethel was born on Jan. 21, 1910 in North Vancouver, B.C., the second of 3 daughters of Carl and Anna Swanson, immigrants from Sweden who met in North Vancouver. During their time in North Vancouver the Swansons were friends with the Seversons and the Loutets who later had offspring settle in Lake Cowichan. In 1914 the family moved to Lake Cowichan and Ethel started public school at age 4 in order to meet the requisite number of children for a public school teacher to be hired.
The family lived on houseboats at various locations around the lake, depending on where Carl was working. On more than one occasion Anna had to rescue her daughters when they fell overboard! When the houseboat was anchored near Marble Bay the three girls either rowed a boat back and forth to school or walked the three miles each way.
After Grade Nine, Ethel’s teacher persuaded her father that she should continue school, which meant going to Duncan. Arrangements were made for room and board in exchange for light housework and babysitting, as going back and forth each day was impossible at that time. During her 3 years of high school in Duncan Ethel made many life-long friends. Upon completing high school Ethel was advised to go to secretarial school in Victoria, after which she worked in the parliament buildings in Victoria for 16 years in the Department of Finance.
In 1945, through her brothers-in-law, Walter Tiesu and Ed Marley, she met Jack Davis. They married on March 30, 1946 and had 3 sons. They lived in a 2 room cabin at Sunset in the North Arm of the lake for the first 5 years of their marriage, but when it was time for the boys to start school they moved into town to a house on North Shore Road for 4 years and then across the street to the house where Ethel lived for the next 50 years, right up to the last 2 weeks of her life.
Ethel was a warm-hearted person with a wonderful sense of humour which she kept even in her two final weeks at the hospital. She will be sadly missed by many, including her sons and daughters-in-law, her grandchildren, her nieces, and those friends who she did not manage to outlive.
Thanks to the nurses and staff at CDH for their care of Ethel in her final days, and to Drs. Toth and Froese for their medical attention in her later years. The family extends an invitation to a celebration of Ethel’s life at the home of Donald and Margaret Davis, 282 Hillside Road, Lake Cowichan, on Friday, July 28 from 1:00 to 3:00. In lieu of flowers those who wish might consider making a donation in Ethel’s name to the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation, #4 – 466 Trans Canada Hwy, Duncan, B.C. V9L 3R6.