Mother, grandmother, judge, social pioneer, children’s advocate, lifelong scholar. Born Feb. 14, 1919, in Halifax, died April 9, 2012, in Fredericton Junction, N.B., of natural causes, aged 93.
Doris was a woman ahead of her time. Undaunted by the predominant social standards of her youth and adulthood, she pursued multiple university degrees (a bachelor of secretarial science and a bachelor of civil law), held office as a deputy judge in juvenile and provincial courts, and served as a commissioner on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, and as chairwoman of the Canadian Commission of the International Year of the Child.
Always an advocate for the rights of women and children, she helped forge the way for greater legal equality in Canada. In the courtroom, she made her rulings in a just manner and with the best interests of those who had no voice in mind.
To her family, however, Doris will be remembered for so much more than her professional achievements.
Doris married Robert Ogilvie, a dentist, in 1942 and they established their home in Fredericton, where they had four girls: Mary, Anne, Jane and Susan. Always valuing her children over herself, Doris waited until her youngest had started school to continue her education and pursue a career.
At home, Doris delighted in welcoming guests, particularly her grandchildren, serving them ice cream from her seemingly endless supply.
Doris was the “cool” grandmother. She watched The Simpsons, played cards and board games, drew pictures, was happy to carry on a conversation about any topic brought up, hosted sleepovers, and allowed as much dessert as was desired.
We simply called her Doris, not grandma or nanna or grammy, and we considered her a friend above all else.
Devouring three newspapers a day, including their cryptic crosswords, Doris stayed intellectually active long after she retired. She was a bridge and cribbage player and continued to be in high demand socially. She was particularly adept at coming up with unique and interesting answers in Balderdash, as well as being unreasonably skilled at Crazy 8s..
A lover of music, Doris always requested a song on the piano when her grandchildren came to visit, and she clapped enthusiastically at the end, regardless of the skill displayed in its playing.
Towards the end of her life, Alzheimer’s disease stole much of the woman we so loved and cherished. But even as this cruel disease clouded her memories and progressed to the point that she could no longer live on her own, remember the names of her family, or, in the last few years, carry on a coherent conversation, Doris retained the predominant aspects of her personality.
She still had a smile for visitors, greeting them with an enthusiastic, albeit neutral, “Oh hi, you!” and asking them if they needed anything.
And she continued to enjoy a bowl of ice cream with anyone who cared to share one with her.
Faye Simmonds is Doris’s granddaughter.