Sylvia grew up in Glen Eden, near Salmon Arm. She attended public school there until the end of grade 8. She was involved in softball and gymnastics, and spent her summers swimming in Shuswap Lake.
After her schooling, she first spent some time working in Salmon Arm before moving to Revelstoke to work as a maid for a doctor there. She met her husband, Sylvester (Tim or Sibbie) while walking downtown one evening (as people did at that time) and he approached and asked if he could walk with her. She replied with something to the effect of, “It’s a free country, isn’t it?”. Their life together began from this random meeting and they were married in November 1937.
It was hard raising a family during the war years, but by hard work and pulling together, they managed to do it. During this time, they moved to Field, B. C. to secure employment at the Base Metals Mine there. After the war, they moved back to Revelstoke and permanent employment with the CPR. Sylvia worked at the Club Café on and off around this time to help with the expenses of raising three boys.
Sylvia attempted to get her driver’s license when the Cretelli’s bought a new 1953 Chevy pickup, however, after a few traumatic driving incidents while she had her Learners Licence, she decided not to pursue it after all and was quite content to let Tim or her children do the driving after that. She also was an avid fisherwoman, however, this ended abruptly after getting caught fishing without a license although the game warden had let her off with only a warning. The out of town grandchildren loved to visit Grandma Sylvia when they were in town. Her local grandchildren were fortunate to be able to see and spend more time with Grandma on a regular basis. All her grandchildren remember Grandma’s wonderful spaghetti and meat ball dinners.
After her husband passed away, Sylvia went on many trips to Reno with her family and her sisters in law. The luckiest one in the family was always Sylvia. She always played the same lucky numbers in Lotto 649 and a number of years ago she almost won the “big one”. Sylvia took up bowling at this time as well. She had a lot of fun and carried on bowling for as long as she was able. Sylvia loved to go out to eat, and Wednesday “Family Lunches” became a ritual right until the end.
In her later years, Sylvia became a member of and held administrative positions in the Pythian Sisters and the Nomads of Avrudaka. She was still a member of both groups at the time of her passing. Although her urge to travel had slowed down, she still travelled to the Okanagan or as she called it “Little Reno” with her son, Ray, whenever she could. She also participated in weekly Bingo games at the Community Centre, rarely missing a Thursday night Knights of Pythias Bingo. Everyone there knew where her spot was and it was always saved for her. As her mobility declined, her granddaughter Kim and Heather attended the bingos with her so she could keep on going to bingos into her 90’s.
Sylvia’s good natured personality will be sadly missed by all who knew her.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at the Revelstoke Senior’s Center from 2 – 4 p.m. (Please note: this is a change of venue from the Knights of Pythias Hall).