When Gloria Mae Lefurgey was in public school in Saint John, the teacher asked who in the class was a Loyalist. Afraid and ashamed she wasn't, Gloria ran home to learn the Lefurgeys were indeed Loyalists, a proud and important legacy to her.
Gloria lived a life of extremes. Her whirlwind courtship and marriage at 17 to Ted Ingram, a 19-year-old Canadian Air Force recruit and emerging artist who was on his way overseas, began tumultuously. He was AWOL from the military at his wedding and subsequently hauled away by military police on his honeymoon. It was the beginning of a passionate roller-coaster ride through life that resulted in six children - Heather, Don, Linda, Ross, Beth and Scott. Gloria was pregnant with her last child while mother of the bride at the marriage of their eldest.
Protected by a fiercely jealous husband, Gloria remained fun-loving and young at heart, even when Ted's postwar trauma began to interfere. When he won a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, they lived with other artists on the Toronto Islands.
With the arrival of each child, Gloria wanted more financial security. When her husband won a competition for a place among the artistic staff of the National Museum of Canada in Ottawa, it was a dream come true. But it slowly deteriorated into a nightmare. There were wonderful years, but as life moved on so did the demons in her husband's mind.
In 1961, they finally saved enough to purchase their first house. The home became Gloria's security blanket. She refused a move to a better job for him in the United States; by then she was unsure he was capable of keeping work.
Ted was finally diagnosed as manic-depressive and took an early retirement. Her life, as she knew it, shattered. At 40, with children still at home and an ill husband, she was forced to enter the work force for the first time. She taught herself typing at the kitchen table every night after everyone was in bed. She worked odd jobs, eventually landing in customer relations at the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, where suddenly her wings began to spread.
Ted died in 1986. Grief-stricken, Gloria cried: "You promised you'd never leave me alone."
Although she lived on memories of the passionate love affair of their youth, Gloria rediscovered herself. She travelled and entertained, and her 15 grandchildren were her greatest joy.
At the celebration of her life, one of her children said: "Years ago I asked Daddy why he always painted Mommy looking so sad, and he replied, 'Because I have captured a butterfly.' "
Heather Rath is Gloria's daughter.