Marilyn's nearly 91 years of life ended peacefully at Moog and Friends Hospice House in Penticton, BC, on July 12, after a short illness. She packed an amazing amount of fun and adventure into her years, and brought great joy to friends and family through her enthusiasm, gentle nature, and positive attitude.
Marilyn was born in Toronto on August 2, 1930, daughter of William T. House and May (Attrill) House, and grew up there in The Beaches area. In her teens she became enthralled with flying and at age 17, shortly after graduation from Danforth Technical School, she earned her private pilot's license and flew Aeroncas and even a Tiger Moth biplane. This opened up lots of avenues for adventure, especially after she moved with her parents to Gravenhurst, Ontario, in 1948 and got her floatplane endorsement.
In Gravenhurst, Marilyn met W. George Long, a neighbour and co-worker at the Rubberset factory. They were married at Bethune House (at the time, the Gravenhurst United Church manse) on September 30, 1950. Both she and George shared a love of the outdoors and nature. As a couple, and later also with their son, Gary and daughter, Barbara, they enjoyed canoeing, camping, hiking, and nature photography. After George's retirement from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 1986, the pair embarked on annual adventures in their Volkswagen camper van (often topped with a canoe), travelling to all the provinces and territories, exploring back roads and interesting places off the beaten track, and making a host of friends across the country.
Marilyn loved music and art. A guitarist in earlier years, she later took up the fiddle, attended fiddle-camps, became quite an accomplished player, and composed a number of lively tunes. She and George were regulars for many years on the square dance circuit—she played, he called. Jam sessions with daughter, Barbara (piano) and niece, Suzanne (fiddle) were a highlight in recent times. As an artist, Marilyn created sprightly pen-and-ink drawings, and her oil paintings were often mistaken for Group of Seven sketches. Friends and family delighted in and treasured her original Christmas cards each year.
For most of her adult life Marilyn and her family lived in the Muskoka region of Ontario. However, she had fallen in love with the mountains of BC on a family trip there in 1970, and in 2004 she and George moved permanently to BC, settling in Oliver, near her daughter's young family.
Marilyn leaves behind George, her husband of 70 years, son, Gary (Lorrie Szekat) of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, daughter Barbara Lacy (Gordon) of Penticton, and grandchildren, Robyn Lacy (Ian Petty) of St. John's, NL, and Brendan Lacy (Brenda Reid) of Kitchener, ON. She is also dearly missed by nieces, Suzanne House, Carol McKenna, and Kathy Mueller, daughters of her brother, Melvin House, who died in 1994.
There will be no funeral. Marilyn's ashes will be scattered in favourite haunts in the mountains among the trees and wildflowers.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Marilyn Helene (House) Long, please visit our floral store.