Cheerleader, keypunch operator, wife, mother, singer, party animal. Born Oct. 23, 1925, in Toronto. Died Sept. 7, 2011, in Toronto of heart failure after fighting cancer, aged 85.
Lyn Ackroyd enjoyed the occasional dry Manhattan. In fact, she made a personal survey of the cocktail on trips to New York, and decided that the Oak Bar at the Plaza made the best.
Born Ethelyn Elizabeth Brown, Lyn was the first child of Maudie Viola Burton and Harry Brown, followed soon after by her brother, Lorne. She disliked the name Ethelyn and insisted on being called Lyn.
Growing up in Toronto during the Depression and war years, Lyn attended Bloor Collegiate, where she was a cheerleader. One of the young men she dated there was Jack Ackroyd, but they went their separate ways.
Lyn thought of training as a nurse after graduation, but had fallen for a handsome football player named Bill Stockman and "couldn't let him get away." They married and eventually ended up in Ottawa, where Bill worked for Bell Canada and played tight end for the Ottawa Rough Riders for several years.
Lyn and Bill had two children, Lynda and Kevin, but later divorced. As a single mom back in Toronto in the late fifties, Lyn needed a job. She heard that computers were the coming thing and that IBM was giving courses for its staff on keypunch operating. Lyn was not an IBM employee but managed to wangle her way in to one of these courses. She eventually got a job in the field, earning $75 a week.
Lyn was entitled to child support payments, but never received any. Her mother suggested she call Jack Ackroyd, who was then with the Toronto police, to ask him for advice. Lyn and Jack reconnected and the rest is history.
They married in 1962. Lyn became stepmother to Jack's three children – two older daughters, Karen and Vivyan, and a young son, Earl, whom she raised as her own. With Lyn's support, Jack went on to become chief of the Toronto police and later chairman of the LCBO.
Lyn and Jack travelled widely, had good times with their friends and took pleasure in their grandsons, Jonathon and Matthew. Lyn also had fun with the Sweet Adelines, a female barbershop chorus where she sang bass.
Jack died in 1992 and Lyn missed him sorely. But her brother, Lorne, was by then a widower and the two of them reconnected, going on road trips to Myrtle Beach and hanging out together. Even though Lyn had been estranged from Kevin, she was brought low when he took his own life in 2005. But she pressed on with living.
With her eyesight failing, in later years Lyn had to give up some of her favourite activities, such as bridge and poker, reading and driving. But she still liked to party – witness her regular visit to the annual "old farts" party that Earl and his wife Bernie enjoy with friends and neighbours.
The other old farts will miss her, and so will the rest of us.
Lynda Ackroyd is Lyn's daughter.