Honoured by the Lisk family.
My sister was many things to many people. She was a daughter to my parents, Barry and Teresa-Jo Rawlings, a sister to myself, Diane Newton and Joan Rawlings, a mother to her son, Terry Seguin and a wife to Chuck Seguin and then, Kenny Wilson. Throughout her life, many were left with a valued friend.
Jill was the third of four girls in our family. I am the eldest, and being 5 years older than Jill, meant that I was in high school when she was in grade school, so we were involved in different circles at that time in our lives. The next thing I knew, she got married and moved out west.
When she moved back, we began to get to know each other as adults. We were the only siblings living here at the time, and I was happy to have her back.
As a child, she was a day-dreamer, often not hearing us when we spoke to her because she was lost in a dream. She was very social, but always preferred to blend into the crowd. Being the center of attention was not the place for her. So, surprise parties were out of the question.
She loved to run, play badminton and basketball, but she excelled at volleyball. This game was her passion. She played in high school and went on to play in open and ladies leagues, throughout the city. She even dragged me to the Waterfront to play in Beach Volleyball Tournaments. We had a blast! The Waterfront was one of her favourite places. We spent many hours there, sitting at the beach, walking our dogs, enjoying the ducks, talking, laughing and giggling, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. It is fitting that she will be remembered on the Pergola there.
Jill lived most of her life in North Bay. A lot of our time was spent at the ballpark, watching her son Terry. She enjoyed watching him excel at sports, introducing him to volleyball as soon as he could hold the ball. It was something, to watch her hit the ball to him and have him bump it back to her perfectly, at four years old. We watched him play many games as part of the Varsity teams at St.Joseph’s/Scollard Hall and Nipissing University. She was very proud of his skill and talent. He resembled her and I still see that today.
My sister was a very private and sensitive person, with an inept ability to read people’s emotions. We would enter a room and she would eventually know who was upset and needed someone to listen. These people would migrate to my sister and end up sharing their situations with her. Being kind and empathetic, she would always listen. It was challenging for her to keep her distance, emotionally, but she thought someone had to listen.
An amazing sense of humour, got her through many of life’s ups and downs. We would spend an afternoon together and laugh, incessantly, at life’s situations and crazy TV shows we had watched. She would imitate Scotty from Star Trek and we would roar.
During the second half of her life, she decided she liked to fish, enjoying the peace and tranquility that was involved with the sport. At the cottage in Bracebridge, she would spend hours on the dock casting, rarely catching a fish. Mostly, she caught weeds and it was my job to take the weeds off, so she could cast again. She caught her limit in weeds!
The way she cared for animals was a shining example of the compassion she showed in her life. She would take me to the Humane Society and we would walk the dogs from the shelter. She felt they needed to get out, for a change of scenery and then, would want to take them all home.
Whether it was a chipmunk at the campground, the birds in the trees in her yard or the deer in the field next to her home, she enjoyed them all. I’ll never forget when she told me she had purchased a dog, at the 400 Market in Barrie. When I finally saw Spike, he was a little ball of white fur with
a very prominent under-bite. Then she said to me, ’“Don’t you love his beautiful smile!”’. Really? He was the runt of the litter and the last puppy in the box. Jill had a soft spot for the underdog and could not leave him there all alone. That pretty much sums up the way my sister lived
In the last year of her life, she fought a brave battle, with dignity and courage. She passed away, from Melanoma, on April 25, 2009.
Jill did not design tall buildings or run a huge corporation, but in her own private way, she lived her life with love and compassion for all living things. If I live my life with half the integrity she had, I’ll consider it a success. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her. Until we meet again – my sister, my friend.