Beryl passed away peacefully on Monday 14 June 2021, at The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus, after a brief illness, at the age of 92. Beryl was the beloved wife of the late Jaroslaw Wladyslaw (Wladek) Gawel and the cherished daughter of the late Edward and Theresa O’Neill Reid of Dublin, Ireland. The greatly loved mother of Peter and Angela, mother-in-law of Shafiuddin Ahmad, and grandmother of Kristen and Miriam Ahmad-Gawel. She also leaves behind her dear brother Brendan (Brian) Reid and his family in Dublin.
Always a glass-half-full optimist, Beryl lived her life with compassion, good humour, and a deep inner well of great joy. She was always proud of her Registered Nurse qualification from Mile End Hospital in London. Following her graduation, and Wladek’s graduation in Engineering from the University of London, Beryl and Wladek emigrated to Canada from the UK in 1954, settling in Montréal. Beryl worked as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in N.D.G and later at the Reddy Memorial Hospital in downtown Montréal. With great strength and compassion, Beryl was Wladek’s primary care giver for the over 40 years he lived with quadriplegia due to MS. After Wladek’s passing in 1998, Beryl relocated to Ottawa to be nearer her grandchildren. Blessed with a beautiful singing voice, Beryl was choral singer throughout her life, including at St. Monica’s Church in Montreal and at St. Patrick’s Basilica in Ottawa. Beryl was herself practical and unsentimental, but she could bring a tear to your eye with her rendition of Maidin i mBéarra.
When she was a young girl in Ireland, an old woman told Beryl she would make a happy marriage to a foreigner, sail across the sea and settle in a distant land, have a son and a daughter, a wheelchair would feature in her life, she would live a long, long life, and be wealthy when she died. And so she was: rich in good health, great happiness, deep faith, and most of all in love.
In lieu of flowers, a donation in Beryl’s memory to the charity of your choice would be appreciated.
What a lovely, lovely tribute to your Mum. We shall raise a glass to a life well lived and wish her well on her continued journey. To Auntie Beryl
Love and best wishes from the Irish Clan
Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Stay safe!
Kartika Wisjnu-Lim and FungPiew Lim