Beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Nina Cameron Phillips passed away on December 21, 2018 in Ottawa. She is survived by her daughters, Carolyn Phillips (John Cordeau), Melanie Phillips (Martin Adelaar), and Dianne Phillips (Joseph Wawrykow); her grandchildren, Nicole van de Leuv (Jon van de Leuv), Matthew Cordeau, Samuel Adelaar, Nadine Adelaar, and Nicholas Wawrykow; her great-granddaughter, Madeleine van de Leuv; her sister, Lorna (Maury Sullivan) and brother, Colin Walley. Nina was predeceased by her husband Tom; her parents Cecil and Nina Walley; her brothers, Graham, Kenneth, Keith, and Bruce; and her sisters, Fiona, Marna, and Marian.
Born in Winnipeg on August 24, 1924, Nina earned a B.A. in 1946 and, later, a B.Ed. from the University of Manitoba. Her first teaching position was in Roblin. She met her husband-to-be, Tom, when both were enrolled in summer school in 1948. They married at her family’s home in Balmoral in 1949 and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2009, a year prior to Tom’s passing.
While Nina moved to Ottawa in 1998 to be closer to family, much of her life’s work occurred in Winnipeg. Passionate about politics and civic responsibility, she was committed to the CCF and then the NDP, to the cooperative movement, to the pursuit of peace, and to the equality of women. Having lost two brothers in World War II, she was a charter member of the Manitoba chapter of the Voice of Women during the 1960s, advocating for nuclear disarmament and protesting the Vietnam War. After staying home to raise her daughters, she returned to teaching in 1964 and worked as a guidance counsellor in several Winnipeg high schools, including Gordon Bell, where she devoted herself to addressing the needs of inner-city students. During her 20 year teaching career, she served as president of the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association and then on the board of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. Active in the University Women’s Club, she assumed the role of president from 1983-84. Leaving Winnipeg to live in Tom’s hometown, Winnipeg Beach, Nina continued to pursue her commitment to education by serving as a school trustee on the board of the Evergreen School Division.
Nina’s feminist commitments found expression in her role as a loving grandmother, always quick to offer her time and help so that her daughters would be able to fulfill their professional responsibilities. She was an eager and knowledgeable participant in discussions about politics and world affairs, never afraid to voice her convictions. As outgoing as she was, Nina also enjoyed spending quiet time reading, sewing, knitting and crocheting.
Her family will always treasure the model she provided of enthusiastic and informed engagement in the world and will remember the loving pride that she took in their achievements. They are grateful for the care and support she received at the Lord Lansdowne retirement Residence over the past 9 years.
A private memorial service will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in Nina’s memory to the Tom Phillips Scholarship at the University of Manitoba or a charity of one’s choice, would be much appreciated. Messages of condolence may be left at hpmcgarry.ca.