J. NORELLE LONGHURST
(nee STANLEY BARNES)
June 23, 1922 – January 8, 2021
Our family contemplates the legacy of a quiet and gracious woman. Born June 23, 1922, near Nottingham Road, South Africa, J. Norelle Longhurst (nee Stanley Barnes) and her siblings always remembered their farm, Breezy Brae, as the childhood garden of Eden. As a teenager, she played tennis on a clay court made from crushed termite mounds. She developed a fierce style and the conviction that a woman athlete could be strong and the match of any man. Women were equal, how could anyone think otherwise? Norelle attended Durban Girl’s High. In 1945, she married Jack Longhurst (1922-1996) leaving her “beloved country” for war-torn England. In 1955, Neil, Alan and Janferie immigrated to Canada. Colin was born in 1961. The family resided in Grimsby, then Ottawa, until Jack and Norelle moved to London in the mid-80s. Norelle created gardens and homes. She knit gorgeous sweaters, toques, mittens and socks to keep children and grandchildren warm through long Canadian winters. Every few years she disappeared to visit her extensive family in South Africa. Strongly independent, she worked in administrative positions over the years, her favourite being as parish secretary at All Saints Anglican Church, Westboro. In London, she volunteered at local public schools and served as a polling officer in elections. She attended the Church of St. Jude. She and Jack founded the Protea Club to celebrate South African culture, to stay in touch with changes in her country of birth, and to come together over delicious food at braais (BBQs). She was a practical ecologist for more than 30 years, walking miles every day, picking up cans and bottles to recycle. She donated the proceeds (often more than $1,000 a year) to Daily Bread Food Bank. For the last 10 years McGarrell Place has been her residence, providing considerate support for our family. It is impossible to name each and everyone, so thank you to Jennifer, Jonas, Bonnie and all the other caring spirits. She is survived by her brother John in South Africa, and many nieces and nephews around the globe, her children (except Alan d. 2002), and grandchildren Charles, Ryan, Noelle, Erin, Celeste and Jordan – and their loving families. In her memory, please walk your neighbourhoods, clean up the world, and if you can, make a donation to the Daily Bread or your local food bank in her honour. Hamba Gashle Mum, Nandi to your grandchildren. Go safely. We are the fruits of the century of your labours; we are your memory bearers.
J. NORELLE LONGHURST