Today we announce the passing of our mother Mary Kathleen “Kitty” (Dooly) Bourne, who died peacefully in the company of friends on October 15, 2023 at the Doctor Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, New Brunswick at the age of 73. Kitty leaves behind her sisters, Lynn Marek, Mary Lou Shotbolt and Paola Dooly, her sisters-in-law Vicky Merrick and Sheila Dunn, her brother-in-law Brian Bourne, and many beloved nieces and nephews. Her family and friends, along with children Amy and Chris, and daughter-in-law Julie Blais, all miss her very much. She was predeceased earlier this year by her husband and love of her life of over 53 years, Peter Bourne.
Kitty was born to parents Peter and Kathy Dooly, on October 24th, 1949 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her father had been a sailor in the Royal Navy but was injured in London during the German Blitz. He was recuperating in South Africa when he met Kitty’s mother, the daughter of Darcy McGreer, a Canadian diplomat. Shortly after Kitty’s birth, the family moved to Canada due to their deep discomfort with South Africa’s apartheid regime.
Kitty’s young life was spent mainly in Montreal and England. She worked as a fashion model and later a perfume salesperson at Ogilvy’s Department Store where she met her future husband, Peter. After their second date they decided to get married, and she and Peter enjoyed married life in Montreal for many years before moving to Toronto to pursue academic and career prospects. Ultimately, they decided to seek a peaceful life by moving to Fredericton in 1980 where they raised their family.
Kitty’s life in Fredericton was immersed in the arts, literature, and friendship. From her first job in the city at Westminster Books, to other work at Dance Fredericton and the New Brunswick Crafts Council, she adored the cultural life of the area. She was also a scholar of literature, completing a Master of Arts and much of a Doctorate (ABD) at the University of New Brunswick in English Literature. Her scholarly interests included the writings of Dorothy Wordsworth and women’s travel literature. She could often be found at gallery openings, craft fairs, or pouring over architectural and home décor trend magazines. She was also an avid knitter and loved making gifts for friends and family.
Those who knew her will remember her warm smile, sarcastic humour (including a surprising love of fart jokes), and love for socializing. Kitty’s house was the gathering place for neighbourhood holiday meals where she would invite a motley crew of friends and neighbours who had no extended family in the region to come together and celebrate over food and drink. Her Christmas rum cake was not to be missed and continues to find a place at her children’s tables.
Kitty was a greatly generous and giving soul. Always thinking of others, she encouraged and asked after their interests, encouraging their artistic, literary, and intellectual pursuits. When her daughter-in-law Julie took up knitting -one of Kitty’s many passions- she very quickly became the delighted recipient of many knitting sundries.
A celebration in honour of Kitty’s life will be held in the late spring on the shore of Lake Simcoe, Ontario where she spent some of her childhood and her family has deep roots. In memory of Kitty’s life and passions, please consider supporting a local artist or artisan during the holiday season.
Special thanks go out to Kindred Home Care and their personal care workers Kayla, Kim, and Bless who enriched both Kitty and Amy’s life at home. A heartfelt thanks goes out to Rachel St. Laurent, long-time friend of Amy, who helped the family before, during, and after both Peter and Kitty’s passing.