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Obituary of Muriel Jean Minaker
Muriel passed away peacefully at Quinte Gardens, on Monday, December 14, 2020 at the age of 96. Happily married for nearly 63 years, she was predeceased by her beloved husband Grant who died in 2008. Lovingly remembered by daughter Lora and her husband Dave Stratton of Brampton, and son Larry and his wife Gerry Tullio of St. Catharines. Loving Grandma to five grandsons (and the granddaughters who joined the family): Jamie (Mary Louise Duncan), Jeremy (Gina), and Brent (Nichola Cross) Stratton; Daniel (Kate Walker) and Devin (Lori Bryant) Minaker. She was a proud Great Grandma to two beautiful little girls – Lyla Minaker and Alice Stratton. Muriel is predeceased by her parents William and Edith (nee Lauder) Burkitt and by her brother Harry Burkitt. She is survived by three sisters-in-law, Bernice Adams, Marie Minaker, and Dorothy Burkitt.
Muriel was a long-time resident of Prince Edward County. She lived most of her married life in the home where she was born, built by her maternal grandfather. A farmer’s wife, she drove the tractor during haying, then rushed into the kitchen to put the finishing touches on a big noon meal. She froze, canned, and made pickles each year from the bounty of Grant’s garden. As her children grew into their teens, she began to work outside the home. Although she did not have the opportunity to go far in school, her quick thinking, intelligence, and creativity quickly showed through. Her first job at Weese’s Greenhouse doing transplanting soon expanded to working with the public and designing flower arrangements. Working next at Bishop Seeds, she quickly developed competence in many aspects of the business. Her last job before retirement was at Bristol Myers, where she continued to make many friends. In addition, she was a caregiver for her parents as they aged, all living together in a multi-generational home. She was active in her community and church. She also developed quite a reputation as a cook and baker - pies and butter tarts were her specialty.
Muriel and Grant really enjoyed their retirement – cross country skiing, riding bicycles, walking, card parties and even some travel with their friends to see a bit of the world. However, when Grant started to show signs of dementia, she organized the downsizing and sale of their beloved home, culminating in a huge auction sale, and orchestrated their move into an apartment in Belleville. When Grant finally needed more care than Muriel could provide, he was fortunate to move into a nursing home right across the street from their apartment. Muriel visited him faithfully several times a day – as well as chatting up everybody who lived or worked there. She had a reputation for knowing everyone.
In 2014 she made the decision to leave her apartment with her beautiful view of the Bay of Quinte and move into Quinte Gardens. Again, she orchestrated the move herself. She quickly made friends with both residents and staff and loved her time there with activities and games, good friends and of course her favorite, bid euchre. She was a force of nature, never afraid to express an opinion, give advice, or as she would say “tell it like it is”. Even as she aged and had increasing health issues, she remained feisty and positive and fiercely guarded her independence.
As per Muriel’s wishes, cremation has taken place. Due to present COVID conditions, no service will be held at this time. It is hoped that a celebration of her life can be held in 2021 as restrictions are lifted. Interment in Burr Cemetery beside her beloved husband Grant will take place at a later date. If desired, memorial donations to Eastminster United Church or the Belleville General Hospital Foundation would be appreciated by the family.