AND SO WE SAY GOODBYE: Ma (Clarissa Ella Morris) has gone West. Ma was always at her best around horses. Indeed it was horses that brought her to Castlegar in 1974. Those who rode from the D – D know Ma. But as time moved forward, so did Ma. Many will remember her as a helper in the community. She served without title or office, from the very young to the advanced in years…those in need were those she served.
Ma was born in North Battleford Saskatchewan in 1923. In her early childhood her family moved 200 miles north by wagon train and horseback to Mudie Lake. Two family homes were lost to fires, but all ten children made it out each time. Because of the weight of such a large family, her mother’s parents back in England offered to look after one of the ten…Ma volunteered to go. 1940 saw a mid-teen Canadian girl crossing the North Atlantic through U-boat alley to England. Boredom motivated Ma to volunteer for the Service (Where the action was). A small lie added the required age and she was in. Nicknamed “Canada” by the British girls, she was posted to London in time for the Blitz. To her friends Canada was invincible! She remembered the Blitz as a great time….people were friendly, everyone was helpful and there was always Tea in the Tubes.
Ma was trained to be a cook and preparations for D-Day found her making sandwiches for the multiple thousands boarding ships for France. So Ma got to see Europe war torn and shattered, and in the debris people who needed help…Ma was always quick to share what she had. Somewhere in Europe she met Herbert Morris and came back to Canada with a war groom. They began building a ranch west of Mudie Lake, Saskatchewan. The endeavour was 7200 acres of raw land to be built into a home for a family of nine, (plus others unofficially adopted), 200 head of cattle and 100 head of horses. That milestone was reached after 26 years, just before the ranch was sold. Ma then took the 3 youngest children and moved to New Zealand. After a four months stay, Ma returned to Canada and shortly to Castlegar where she became a partner in the D – D riding stable. She bought out her partner in short order and ran it alone. It was the horse centre of the area where Ma combined her love of horses and helping people….As the horses tired so did Ma. It has been many years since she last took a ride but I imagine as she went west on February 11th, Ma was riding.
Ma was predeceased by her parents, Lewis and Elizabeth Sharp, five brothers and sisters, and many, many friends. She is survived by two brothers and two sisters, her seven children, 13 grand children and 7 great grand children, a load of nephews and nieces and many “adopted” members of a very extended family.
We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the staff at Talarico Place, and Dr. Merritt for their caring service to Ma in her final years. Although over worked you people are awesome.
In lieu of flowers, pay it forward like Ma did.