Laurie Milley, Halifax - New Waterford

Laurie Milley, Halifax - New Waterford

1956 - 2024

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Laurie

Obituary of Laurie Milley, Halifax - New Waterford

It is with profound sadness and the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved Laurie on May 5, 2024. Born October 6th, 1956, Laurie was the ninth child, and youngest daughter of the late Joseph and Mary Ellen (Desveaux) Milley. Even as a young child Laurie was the “social butterfly” of our family. She established relationships with a core group of friends in our hometown of New Waterford (Karen, Ronalda, Donna, Casey, and Linda) that she maintained throughout her entire life – as was evidenced by all the love and support she received from them as she journeyed through her battle with cancer.

Of all the Milley clan, Laurie was without question the most adventurous. She began charting her young adult life in Halifax where she joined her older sisters and worked at a number of jobs including with Nova Scotia Power and the Department of National Defence. In Halifax, Laurie continued to forge new and meaningful connections with friends and coworkers. She was the consummate organizer and was consistently the one who made all the social arrangements and brought people together. In addition, she made frequent trips back to Cape Breton, continuing to nurture her family ties and friendships there.

Eventually Laurie got “Itchy Feet Syndrome” and decided to go West. She headed for Alberta, joining a couple of her younger brothers, and began to sow the seeds of her infectious personality there. She worked in Edmonton for a period of time and then began employment with a travel agency in Medicine Hat, which was a perfect fit for her. She travelled world-wide and even in the briefest of stays in places she again made significant connections with people. Following her time in Medicine Hat Laurie lived, worked, and enjoyed life in California and Florida where, yet again, she touched the hearts of many people. No matter the place Laurie found herself at any point in time, she lived life to the fullest and with gusto. She loved music (especially the many family gatherings where the guitars came out), good food, fine wine, and doing the New York Times crossword puzzle—IN INK!!

Throughout all these adventures Laurie always returned home to Halifax and Cape Breton to reconnect and recharge. Eventually though she came back to Halifax for good. In 1999 she met the person who finally managed to get her to settle down – the love of her life, Dave Thomson. This relationship presented somewhat of a learning curve for Dave who, as an almost only child growing up, had to adjust to not only a whirlwind social life with Laurie, but also to a large, boisterous, and tight-knit “in-law clan” – the Milleys. Obviously, the adjustment was successful, and Laurie and Dave have spent the past 25 years loving each other and enjoying a happy life together. They shared many good times that included a variety of travels and events involving good music, good food, and the great company of family and friends. In addition, Laurie absolutely treasured her connection and time spent being a mother to Vesta and grandmother to Amelia, and Julianna.

Laurie cherished all of her nieces and nephews and loved to spend time with them whenever possible. She considered herself very lucky to be able to spend even more time with those who lived in the Halifax area—Corry, Kaitey, Ronnie, and Maggie Jo. In addition, Laurie was thrilled when Kayla finished her studies and moved to Halifax to start her career, and quickly appointed herself to be Kayla’s “Halifax Mother”. Everything Laurie gave to them over the years was returned in spades as they all went above and beyond the call of duty to do whatever Laurie needed done, and to be there for her throughout the course of her illness.

In addition to family and work responsibilities, Laurie was involved in a number of ‘giving’ activities. She volunteered for a provincial Immigrant Settlement Association and assisted a young family over a period of several years as they adjusted to a new life in Canada. She also volunteered for a number of years at Hope Cottage and brought her compassion and joyful spirit to that service. We are sure it was not just a coincidence that the painting hanging directly across the hall from Laurie’s palliative care room was of Hope Cottage. Laurie also did a tremendous amount of “individual” volunteering, assisting many friends, neighbors, and anyone in need with whatever was necessary – meals, cleaning, accompaniment to appointments, and overall friendship, caring, and concern.

It is not lost on us either that Laurie navigated her cancer journey as courageously as she did as she had made the journey a number of times over the years--supporting family members and close friends on their own journeys. Throughout these past years and months since her diagnosis, Laurie has been nothing short of amazing – strong and stoic, and consoling us as much, if not more, than we consoled her. She was adamant that we not mourn her with tears, but celebrate her with love and laughter. She expressed gratitude for the wonderful life she has had, having been blessed with a loving family and a wide circle of close friends and acquaintances. We too are filled with gratitude that we were able to spend exceptional time with Laurie, especially in her last days. Every one of her brothers and sisters were able to be with her in her final week. She was able to share everything she needed to share with family and friends. We laughed with her, we cried with her, we sang with her, and she was surrounded with love until she drew her last breath.

Left to mourn Laurie’s passing are her husband Dave, daughter Vesta, son Aidan, granddaughters Amelia and Julianna, and their father Derek (“Eddie”). Laurie is also survived by sisters Linda (Ron), Jeanette, Florence (Isabel), Marina (Ernie, deceased); brothers Freddie (Mary), Stephen (Tina), Weldon (Bev); sister-in-law Darlene Milley, brother-in-law Ron Beaton; numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews, all of whom adored their Auntie Laurie and who are left with many happy memories of time with her. Also sharing in our sorrow is close neighbor and very special friend, Mary MacMillan, as well as cousins in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and the United States, and a large circle of friends.

Laurie was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Mary Ellen, brothers Ronnie (1974), Glenn (2005), and Joey (2009); sister Joanne (2024), sister Mary and nephew Joseph (both in infancy). She was also predeceased by Dave’s mother Frances for whom Laurie and Dave provided loving care, especially in her later years, and by Dave’s brother, Bobby.

Dave and Laurie’s families would like to express their gratitude and thanks to all the medical professionals involved in Laurie’s care including the VON and, in particular, the Palliative Care Team and Unit 7A at the Victoria General Hospital. We would also like to give special thanks to Monica Flynn and Dr. Kieser. In addition, we are profoundly grateful to all of Laurie’s good friends who provided comfort and support throughout the course of her illness and in these past weeks and days; and most especially to Cat and Bonnie who were always at Laurie’s beck and call providing transportation, meals, and unfailing love and support at a time when she needed it most.
Dave and his family would also like to express their gratitude to the Milley family for their on-going love and support throughout Laurie’s journey, and most especially over the past several months and her most recent hospitalization.

Cremation has taken place. There will be no visitation or service as per Laurie’s request. A Celebration of Life will take place in New Waterford, where her ashes will be interred, at a date and time to be announced later. Donations in memory of Laurie can be made to the Palliative Care Unit, floor 7A, at the Victoria General Hospital, or to a charity of choice.

“Rest in your well-earned peace dearest Laurie. We will always love you, we will miss you terribly, and we will never, ever forget you.”

Online expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at: www.vjmcgillivray.ca.