Katherine Dickson, New Waterford

Obituary of Katherine Montgomery (MacDermid) Dickson, New Waterford

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Katherine (Kaye) Dickson, age 89, at Northwood in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 14, 2020. Born in North Sydney on August 2nd, 1931 and raised in Cape Dauphin, she was the eldest of five children born to Malcolm and Isabel (MacInnis) MacDermid. Upon graduating from Sydney Academy, Kaye completed her teacher training at the Nova Scotia Normal College in 1952, and later returned to university to further her education, receiving her diploma in Special Education from the Nova Scotia Department of Education in 1972. Kaye’s first teaching job was in a one-room schoolhouse in Ross Ferry. Following her marriage to James “Buddy” Dickson in 1955 she moved to New Waterford, where she taught at Central School until her retirement in 1986. Although she taught in elementary school for much of her career, she became the first special education teacher in the Cape Breton Regional School Board in 1972. Teaching brought her great joy, and even years after her retirement many of her students sought her out to express their gratitude. Kaye’s strong faith and caring nature were evident in her devotion to church and community. She was a member of Calvin United Church, Calvin Choir and United Church Women and was a long-time member of the Cape Breton Presbytery of the United Church of Canada. She was also a member of the board of the Bairncroft Foundation, a life member of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire and a member of the Retired Teachers Organization. But some of Kaye’s greatest acts of kindness occurred in private, as she was not a person who sought public accolades. Kaye and Buddy enjoyed rich friendships and good times with their family in New Waterford, but their cottage in Cape Dauphin was also a hub of activity. There, Kaye was able to spend time with her family, appreciate nature’s beauty, tend to her extensive gardens and watch the hummingbirds who often visited. During retirement, Kaye and Buddy also enjoyed travelling within Canada and abroad, and spending winters in Florida. Along with their many friends, they enjoyed swimming, long walks on the beach, card games, shuffleboard and visits from family. Kaye was an accomplished needlepoint worker, a superb cook, a gifted story teller and a loyal friend to many. Kaye lost Buddy in 1994, but her love for him never faded. She showed great courage in maintaining her independence and positive outlook well into her 80s. One of Kaye’s greatest joys in life came from spending time with her grandchildren, Christopher, Katherine, Andrew (AJ) and Elizabeth Jane. “Grammy Kaye” or “Gram” as her grandchildren called her, loved to bake cinnamon rolls and cookies for friends and family, and especially enjoyed tasting them over a cup of tea. She could always be counted on to find just the right outfit for a game of dress-up with her granddaughters, and to wait up for her grandsons to return from a long day of fishing and ask what they had caught for her. She was a loving Auntie Kaye to her many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, and best friend to her loving sisters. Kaye is survived by children Bonnie Salsman and James (Jim) Dickson (Sara Jane Snook), grandchildren Katherine Salsman (Martin Noel), Andrew Dickson, Elizabeth Dickson, great-grandson Theodore Noel and sisters Christine (Duncan) MacVicar and Connie (Wayne) Rogers. She was predeceased by her husband James “Buddy” Dickson, brothers Donald MacDermid and Kenneth MacDermid, grandson Christopher Salsman and son-in-law Richard Salsman. The family extends thanks to the staff on 8 Centre at Northwood, Dr. Claire Nowlan and the many family members and friends who provided support to Kaye through the years. There will be no visitation. A private family memorial service will be held on Oct 19, 2020 at Calvin United Church, Rev. Duncan Roach officiating, with committal at Forest Haven Memorial Gardens at 1 p.m. Friends and family welcome at committal service, observing Covid restrictions. Funeral Arrangements have been entrusted to V.J. McGillivray Funeral Home, New Waterford. Memorial donations may be made to Calvin United Church or the Boys and Girls Club of Cape Breton Literacy Program https://www.bgccb.ca/donate.Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at: www.vjmcgillivray.ca.
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