Sudbury, Ontario — Winnabell Anne ‘Winnie’ McRae (née Bembridge), 88, died peacefully at home, surrounded by family, on Sunday, May 8th, 2022. Winnie was born in Brockington, Saskatchewan on February 2nd, 1934, to parents Lucille (née Vold) Wikman and Burton Bembridge. After Burton’s passing Lucille remarried Anders Wikman, Winnie’s stepfather. The third of eight children, Winnie cherished her childhood with her family on the farm in Beatty, Saskatchewan, which inspired her deeply caring and compassionate nature, an enduring devotion to her Christian faith, as well as a lasting love for animals. She first met her husband, Lyall McRae, in Melfort, Saskatchewan, in 1949, when he was passing through town. Winnie and her mother offered him a place to stay for the night. As a young woman, in 1952, Winnie moved to Sudbury, Ontario, to live with her beloved aunt and uncle, Rena and Fred Longul. In Sudbury, Winnie and Lyall again crossed paths when he walked into the restaurant where she was working. They reconnected and ultimately, they married on July 11th, 1953. Winnie lived the remainder of her life in Sudbury, where she and Lyall made a loving home for their children, whom they both adored. Ever the optimist, Winnie always saw the best in others. She was tender, generous, tolerant, and forgiving, making the McRae home a place to which people constantly gravitated, and where extended family, friends, and later grandchildren and great grandchildren were welcomed frequently and affectionately. Winnie loved it best when her home was full of people, activity, and laughter. She treasured her lifelong friendships with Mary Pilkey, Lucille Moore, and Virginia Doniec. A part of Winnie always longed for her home and family in Saskatchewan, speaking reverently of her mother whom she missed right to her final days. However, Winnie proudly came to consider Sudbury her home, where she was loved and admired by her family, friends, and community for her intelligence, sympathetic ear, great advice, warm shoulder to cry on, and genuine support for all who had the pleasure of knowing her. Winnie is predeceased by her husband, parents, stepfather, siblings (Wilma McCrea and Lorne Wikman), brother-in-law (Leonard McCrea), son-in-law (Denis Lavigne), and granddaughter (Kandis Mick), who are happily now reunited. She will be deeply missed by her children Brenda (Warren) Heimbecker, Wanda (John) Fowler, Lila (Neil) MacDonald, Rena Lavigne, Faye (Gilles) Labranche, Lori (Andy) Giroux, Pat (Blain) Ransom, Carmen (Joe) Zoldy, Tracy (Bill) Maillet, and Shawn (Ann) McRae, grandchildren Penny, Jason, Richard, Chris, Sherry, Mathew, Jake, Joel, Tara, Kristy, Jessie, Kari, Roni, Shawna, Blain Jr, Jena, Kandis, Ashley, Zacchary, Justin, and Trista, as well as by her thirty-one great grandchildren, one great-great grandchild, siblings Billy (Noreen) Bembridge, Anna (Gerald) Matthews, Leslie (Iris) Wickman, Judy (Harold) Jones, Linda (Ralph) Meisner, countless brothers and sisters in-law, devoted nieces, nephews, and friends.
Winnie will be mourned privately by her family and closest friends on Friday May 13th, 2022. However, her family wished to announce the sorrowful fact of her passing, as well as to express thanks to the caring physicians, nurses, and personal support workers who tended to her during her final years at Lasalle Residence, the Elizabeth Center, and ultimately through the palliative care team and Bayshore. Adored sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Winnie made the world a warmer, kinder place. Winnie will always be loved and never be forgotten.