Superb homemaker, failed hunter, dirt-digging granny. Born April 18, 1915, in Dunmore, N.S. Died Nov. 4 in Inverness, N.S., of natural causes, aged 95.
Cora Guest died peacefully in her sleep, surrounded by kind care, halfway through her 95th year. It was a quiet end to what was in many ways a quiet life - but by no means dull.
Cora was the eldest of five siblings she helped to raise, as their parents, Fred and Viola Cameron, were pressed by the cares of work outside the home, Fred as a cabinetmaker and Viola as a cook at the local hospital.
Cora helped instill in her siblings, and later her own children, an affinity for nature. Her passion was evident in her beautiful gardens, a knowledge of birds worthy of an ornithologist and a love of all animals great and small. She initially joined her younger brothers on hunting expeditions and surprised them all by being a crack shot. To their dismay, her brothers soon realized she didn't have the heart to kill a deer. She was left at home, as the family was unable to spare the ammunition.
Cora's keen eye served her better on the home front. She designed beautiful quilts, was skilled at sewing, knitting and handicrafts, was an excellent cook who preserved her own jams, vegetables and meat, and engaged in creative pursuits such as painting, playing Hawaiian guitar, singing and writing poetry.
In 1935, Cora married John Guest, a Home Child from Birmingham, England. They had eight children, Gloria, Marilyn, Cameron, Rosemary, Annie, Alice, Ruth and Edna. At her funeral, her daughters recalled Cora's eye for loveliness and noted that when she sewed - even something as simple and utilitarian as a baby's smock - she always added details such as dainty touches of embroidery.
Her life raising eight children was often fraught with challenges, yet Cora was the kind of woman who would admire the graceful curve of the thorn as much as the fragrance of the rose. She strove to teach her children the virtues of independence, self-sufficiency, kindness and tolerance.
As a grandmother of 10 and great-grandmother of 13, Cora would always crouch down to see from a child's point of view. She once instructed my weary mother to send me over to her house for the day when I was 3 and full of a toddler's typical charm. Together, we played in the sand and mud, with Cora commenting that she didn't have anything to do that day that couldn't wait for the next.
At her funeral, her son-in-law Cecil remarked upon Cora's life as a family leader and kind neighbour. He concluded by noting that, upon searching for her obituary in the local newspaper, he found the listing in Section D. It was the first time Cora had ever made the sports section, he said to a ripple of laughter, concluding that she had finally been drafted to a higher team.
By Vanessa Chiasson, Cora's granddaughter.