Marilyn White

Obituary of Marilyn Ragna White



(née Hurst)


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Marilyn, at her beloved cottage, on Sunday, May 21, 2023.  As a family, we are truly grateful to have been with her during her passing.


She leaves behind her loving husband, Paul, married for a remarkable 67 years.  Also left to mourn are her children, Leslie (Ed Cass), Cynthia (Rod Heyd) and Valerie (Phil Soper). She had wonderful relationships with all her grandkids, Kelsey (Ben), Connor (Carolyn), Matthew (Alexia), Katie, Emma and Maddie (Lucas). Marilyn was overjoyed to welcome her first great-grandchild, Adelaide. She also leaves behind her devoted brother, Bill Hurst and sister-in-law, Karen, and her two nephews, Andrew and Christian, and their families.


Marilyn was born Friday, September 13, 1935 to Gytha and William Hurst in Winnipeg. For those that remarked on her birthday, it was Marilyn who reminded us often that it was indeed a very lucky date.


Marilyn grew up in Winnipeg, attending high school and university. She met Paul in her early 20s and they were married on September 15, 1956. The happy couple left for Manchester three days later, where they honeymooned and set up their home for the next two years.  Paul had his first engineering job, and it was in Manchester that Marilyn started her teaching career.  They were also able to explore much of Europe in a small two seater MGA and a pup tent. Marilyn’s love of teaching, travel and adventure all started in these early years.


Returning to Canada, she worked at the Children's Aid Society while Paul attended business school at Western. And a move to Toronto in 1960 coincided with the arrival of twins, Leslie and Cynthia, and a fast-follow by Valerie in 1962. Raising the family took center stage. She fed and clothed us, fixed scraped knees and bruised teenage hearts, monitored all our interests and shepherded us to all the various lessons and activities and, mostly, she loved us fiercely. She let us learn on our own life lessons and supported when needed. She knew just how to be there, always.


With the family well on its way, Marilyn returned to school and received her Masters of Education with a plan to resurrect her teaching career. She taught high school English for 17 years and impacted many students. Her dedication to her profession was demonstrated with wonderful comments over the years from past students.


During retirement, Marilyn continued her focus on music, literature, travel, and family. She was a strong supporter of the TSO, Canadian Opera Company and enjoyed her annual weekend taking in Stratford. She participated in two book clubs over the years, was an avid bridge player and an accomplished pianist. And she took enormous pride in her Icelandic heritage.


Marilyn was always popular with all the family dogs and could be found in the kitchen sneaking them treats or dropping half her toast surreptitiously onto the floor. And we would be remiss not to mention her love of news as she watched relentlessly, always providing commentary and initiating great debates. She knew her news, politics and current affairs.


But most important was family.  She was the happiest when everyone was gathered at the cottage on Lake Rosseau or in Toronto, and presided proudly over many gatherings for over 50 years. She was our rock; intelligent, kind, stylish and possessed a wicked sense of humour. Her mischievous giggle and glint in her eye will be missed. Above all she was a caring, loving person. She was the matriarch of the family but also a wife, mother, sister, aunt, mother-in-law, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend to many.


Please join us to celebrate her life on Thursday, June 1 at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (south of Davisville) at 2:00 p.m. with a reception afterward.

If you so wish, a donation to Sunnybrook Foundation or the Toronto Humane Society would be appreciated. Condolences may be forwarded through


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