Ferne Irene James (nee Bayless)

Ferne Irene James (nee Bayless)

June 29, 1930 - June 19, 2017

As published in the July 31, 2017 World-Spectator


Ferne Irene James (nee Bayless), of Moosomin, Saskatchewan, beloved wife of the late Frederick James, passed away at the Regina General Hospital on Monday, June 19, 2017 in her 87th year.

Funeral service was held from Trinity United Church, Welwyn, Saskatchewan on Tuesday, June 27 at 2 p.m. with Dawn Wilson officiating. Interment in Welwyn Cemetery.

If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made to MOTOH (Dial-a-Van) or to a charity of your choice, in memory of Ferne.

Ferne Irene Bayless was born on June 29, 1930 to Laura (Bowey) and Alfred Ernest Bayless, at the family home in the Ferndale district, north of Welwyn. Mom often joked that she was lucky to have survived, since she was delivered by Dr. Coffin and Nurse Graves. She was the youngest of three, with older siblings Harry and Doreen.

Until Ferne was 9 or so, she and Doreen and their Mom and Dad shared a bedroom, and Harry slept on the couch. They then moved to a larger home on the property that now belongs to Ken Bayless, where they had the luxury of separate bedrooms. Ferne was a bookworm and an animal lover from start to finish. She loved school and remembered her Dad pointing the horse in the right direction and sending her off to Ferndale school. She dreamed of becoming a stewardess, and the first step toward that goal was working in Snow’s General Store in Welwyn. Her plans changed when Fred James stepped into the picture. At the tender age of 20 she and Fred married in January 1951. Their honeymoon involved taking a train to Winnipeg, watching a hockey game and staying in the lovely CN Hotel. They returned home in three days with $2 in their pocket. Their wedded bliss began when they moved into the James home near Old Welwyn, with Fred’s Mom.

They had a good life on the farm, raising their four children—Marney, Marilyn, Bill and Joan. Ferne had to work hard, as did all farm women—cooking on a wood stove, using the hand pump for water, growing and preserving all of their meat and vegetables. They had no phone, so Ferne would get to call her parents once a week or so from the telephone office in Welwyn. They would usually visit family on Sunday—if we didn’t get away, we always knew that some family would drive in around supper time. Many Sundays would involve packing up food and kids and going to a sports day to watch Fred or the kids play ball. We have fond memories of going cranberry picking with the whole Bayless/Chilcott clan.

Ferne was active in the community—helping out with Old Welwyn School functions or the United Church Women. Often we were told “DON’T TOUCH THAT PIE, IT’S FOR THE RINK!” She modelled being a good citizen and encouraged her children to value learning and to pursue their education and career paths.

Ferne and Fred loved to dance, even dancing competitively. They would jump in their truck and camper, eventually driving all across Canada and into the States. They spent many hours exploring cemeteries for headstones of our ancestors and at night would attend dances or casinos. Genealogy was a great passion for Ferne and she amassed many bookshelves full of family facts, which we will happily share with anyone who is interested.

When the grandchildren arrived, Ferne always had words of encouragement for them. Once the meal was done, then the games began. Everyone learned how to play UNO and cribbage, but seldom did anyone beat Grandma at crib.

Ferne and Fred moved to Centennial Manor 5 years ago, as Fred’s Parkinson’s disease worsened. Ferne bravely helped Fred to cope with the disease until his death, 2 years ago. She missed her life long partner desperately, and even though she was losing her sight to macular degeneration, true to her strong and resilient spirit, and with the support of good friends and family, she lived on. She continued to go for coffee, to the casino, for steak nights. She was able to travel to Victoria for two vacations and attended many family gatherings. She was alert, engaged and thoughtful, up until the moment that her heart stopped. She leaves a huge void in our lives and will be greatly missed by her children—Marney (Archie Bangsund), Marilyn (Marvin Milner), Bill, and Joan (Murray Schuster), and her grandchildren Sarah (Jeremy), Adrienne, Jonathan (Kristen), Raina, Julia, Leon, Robert and Anna, and great-grandchildren Caitlyn, Ian and Marissa. Ferne is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Harry and Jeanne Bayless and brother-in-law Harlow Gough and many nieces and nephews.

Ferne was predeceased by her parents, Ernest and Laura Bayless, her husband, Fred James, sister Doreen Gough, and brother-in-law Vince Chilcott, also in-laws Blanche and Frank Taylor, Ted and Lorna James, Beatrice and Gregor Jamieson, Ethel and Cameron Jamieson, Josephine and Tommy Lynd, Pearl and Robert Bilkey.

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