More Family Obituaries

As I continue to probe the details of old editions of the Toronto Star newspaper, I have been focusing on finding family obituaries. Two obituaries I found are of particular interest to me.

The first is for ‘Gerald’ Foley, my mother’s favourite uncle and my namesake. I have posted previously about how difficult it was to find Uncle Gerald’s birth record. He was born February 17, 1895 so there should have been no reason to have a difficulty finding his public birth vital record. Eventually, the birth registration record was found as was his baptismal record. In the civil registration, he was named as Louis Fitzgerald Foley, Fitzgerald being his mother’s maiden name. He was baptized at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Toronto, Ontario on March 3, 1895 and his name is listed as Louis Fitzgerald Foley, son of John Foley and Mary Jane Fitzgerald. Throughout his life however he went by the name Gerald.

When Uncle Gerald passed away, his was the first funeral I attended. I remember the trip to the Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home, the ‘family’ funeral home as my mother explained to me at the time and I remember the ‘wake’ after the burial at Mount Hope Cemetery. Although I remembered these events, I could only put an approximate date as to when they occurred, that is until I found Uncle Gerald’s obituary which appeared in the Toronto Star newspaper on February 7, 1968.

The obituary maintained the name confusion as it lists his name as “Foley, Gerald Lewis.” My transcription of the obituary is as follows:

“At the Toronto East General Hospital, on Tuesday, February 6, 1968. Gerald Foley, dearly loved husband of Catherine Helen Simons, dear father of Mrs. Al Sherman (Veronica), Mrs. A. Asselin (Mary), John, James, and Sister Catherine Foley of the Congregation of Notre Dame, Kingston. Friends may call at the Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home, 467 Sherbourne St. (near Wellesley), until 8:30 a.m. Friday. Funeral mass at St. Brigid’s Church at 9:00 a.m. Internment at Mount Hope Cemetery. Parking adjacent to the funeral home.”

The second obituary of note that I found was for Mary Elizabeth Gaull, the wife of George Irvine Gaull (named after his father’s twin brother), a brother of my great grandmother, Jessie McKenzie Hadden (nee Gaull). My family’s oral tradition holds that Jessie (with her family) came to Toronto, Ontario from their home in Saskatchewan around 1926 or 1927 to visit her brother George and that Jessie liked Toronto much more than the farm life of Saskatchewan so they decided to stay.

George Gaull had left Scotland for Toronto, Ontario in 1910 and the 1911 Canada Census shows George, listed as a “Lodger,” in the home of the Coulson family. On July 1, 1913, George married the youngest daughter of the Coulson’s, Mary Elizabeth. Although the 1911 census record indicates their Mary was seven years older than George, their marriage record states that Mary was only two years older. Mary’s birth record has not yet been found. Many records confirm the family’s oral tradition that George operated a small neighbourhood grocery store at 87 Pickering Street in the east end of Toronto, Ontario.

Mary’s obituary appeared in the Toronto Star newspaper on July 20, 1961 and read as follows:

GAULL, MARY ELIZABETH – At St. Michael’s hospital, Toronto, on Wednesday, July 19, 1961, Mary Elizabeth Coulson, late of 98 Lyall Ave., Toronto and dear mother of Leonard Gaull. Resting at the Sherrin funeral home, 873 Kingston Rd. (at Birch Ave.), Toronto. Service in the chapel on Saturday at 11 a.m. Internment St. John’s cemetery, Norway.”

Based on these ‘new to me’ obituaries, some cemetery visits need to be planned as especially as I was struck by the fact that George’s relationship to Mary is not mentioned. As a young boy, I walked past the Gaull store many, many times but don’t recall ever meeting either George or Mary and I have no idea as to what happened to George, but intend to find out.