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Dorothy Mould died in Toronto of leukemia. She was 88.

Artist, mother, grandmother, wife. Born May 2, 1924, in Georgetown, Ont., died March 20, 2013, in Toronto of leukemia, aged 88.

In her late 70s, while out taking photographs near her cottage in Muskoka, Dorothy (Dot) Mould tripped and broke her ankle. With no one around for a mile, nor a phone to call for help, she used her shoelaces to hold her foot in place while she slowly scooted her way back to her car on her seat. Once there, she was able to call for help, reminding her family that she was a force to be reckoned with.

Dot grew up in Georgetown, Ont., with her parents, a First World War veteran and an English nursing volunteer, and older brother. As the more-awkward child, she took solace in the surrounding fields of her childhood home, inspiring both a fierce individualism and love for the rural Ontario landscape – characteristics that would mark her through her whole life. Some time during her adolescence, a paintbrush and palette found their way into her hands, and so started a life-long love affair with the art form.

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Camping and canoeing came easily to Dot. At the beginning of May, 1945, she and a girlfriend were on a canoe trip in Algonquin Park, immersing themselves in the landscapes she loved to paint. It was not until they were waiting at the train station to go home in the middle of May that they learned that the Second World War had ended in Europe and they had missed most of the V-E Day celebrations.

Dot decided she would become a painter and attended the Ontario College of Art, studying under the tutelage of Group of Seven member Franklin Carmichael. There she would meet Vernon Mould, a dashing (and younger) fellow artist. They married and went on to have two daughters, Valerie and Lauren, as well as a succession of mischievous but beloved dogs.

At 63, Dot became a first-time grandmother, and it was a role that came naturally to her. When the kids were small, she was the sort of granny who could be counted on to get down on her hands and knees to play with train sets; as her four grandchildren aged, she transitioned to a friend and adviser. She was thrilled when each of them went off to university and she took great interest in their individual subjects – going so far as to borrow their textbooks to better understand their areas of study.

Dot was diagnosed with leukemia in the fall of 2009 and the prognosis, according to her oncologist, was not good. In typical Dorothy fashion, she informed him that she was going to fight this and would need his help to do so.

She took on this new adversary with a determination that none who knew her will ever forget. As a voracious reader, she heavily researched the links between cancer and food, and completely changed her diet in order to better challenge this foe. Perhaps as a result, she was able to spend four more wonderful years with her family. And what a gift that was.

Caleigh Farrell and Madeleine Baigent are grandchildren of Dorothy.

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