D: November 23, 2022
Georgina Gail Aitken affectionately known as “Gail” passed away peacefully at her residence, with Jen and Paul at her side, Don, Laurie and 4 grandsons present.
Born in Winnipeg to George and Winnifred (nee Kinley) Aitken. Predeceased by her older sister Diana (Cam Eckert), will be very deeply missed by her younger brother David (Janie), son Paul Varah (Nghia Phan), daughter Jen Varah and her extended Bellamy family.
After graduating high school in Winnipeg, Gail obtained her R.N. degree at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (HSC) (1954-57). Sick Kids sent her to U of T for a Diploma in Nursing Education 1958-1959.
After teaching at HSC, she moved to Burlington, ON with her first husband Bob Varah where she adopted her children Paul as an infant and Jennifer 22 months later, also an infant. While raising her kids she travelled extensively internationally.
She was on 9 boards and many committees including Joseph Brant Hospital and Troubled Child Committee. After years of community work in Burlington, attended McMaster obtaining a B.A. in Political Science and a Master’s in Social Welfare and Policy 1974-75. Afterwards she worked for the Ontario Welfare Council.
Achieved her PhD Philosophy from The Faculty of Social Work at U of T. Subsequently hired at Ryerson to teach Social & Health Care Policy and other courses. She wrote many articles and contributed to many papers relating to adoption policy & child welfare.
In 1981 Gail married Donald Bellamy and gained Laurie (Rajiv Manucha) and Kevin (Ria) as stepchildren. (Predeceased by Kevin).
Worked for many years with the Children in Limbo Task Force, achieving some successes in improving conditions for children in care and changing Adoption policy. An active member of U of T Lifelong learning association.
Enjoyed Wonderful winters spent in Algonquin, the Algarve in Portugal, and more international travel.
Summers spent in Meaford on the shores of Georgian Bay.
Enjoyed her last 5 years at Hazelton Retirement Home with Don and arranging speakers and events to entertain her and the residents for several years upon her arrival.
She will be greatly missed by her grandson Minh and extended family grandchildren Christopher, Adrienne, Mark, Bellamy and Ryan, Lucas, Bradley & Sean Manucha.