BRAMWELL, Dr. Maureen Jean

Posted: December 12th, 2020

Dr. Maureen Jean Therese Bramwell (Melling)

May 23, 1936 – December 2, 2020

Educator and Inspiration

Wistfully we mourn the passing of our Mum, Gran and Sister, who lived a life selflessly devoted to God, her family, friends, students and the underprivileged.

Born in Stirling, Scotland to two teachers, Maureen inherited their love for learning, first in science and mathematics and later in drama and the theatre, earning a B.Sc. from the University of Glasgow, an M.A. from the University of Calgary and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. She was a voracious reader to the end.

Her tireless research of – and practical work in – theatre and drama proved the beneficial link between them and academic performance. Her doctoral thesis established that drama education is no mere frill, but is important to the formation of attitudes and values in young people. Her students – elementary, junior, high school and university – adored her. She inspired far too many to count.

Her artistic and creative talents were many. A gifted theatre director, she began by staging elaborate high school musicals in Lethbridge and Calgary that exceeded any reasonable expectation of what “kids” could do. She expressed herself beautifully in poetry, drawing and painting. But she was no arts snob: she loved The Beautiful Game, often yelling at the players on TV to “get your act together!”

Maureen loved unconditionally. She fretted over her siblings and children, and defended them ferociously. Her grandchildren were the lights of her life and a constant source of pride. They were fascinated by her stories and wisdom, sitting around the table long after meals to listen.

She was always far more interested in others – what they felt and knew – than in herself. She gave generously of her time and modest financial means to those less fortunate, including complete strangers. She adored the dog and cats she spent her later life with, and her eyes lit up talking about the chickens out back!

Her inimitable Scottish brogue was often deployed in favour: students and children were “chookie bendies” or “wee sausages”. But she brooked no blether, and fashioned short work of those who “talk nonsense.” Misbehaving children were warned “ther’ll be wigs on the green” or “a trip to the Humby Home.” We never knew what those things were, but sure didn’t want to find out!

But above all, Maureen was defined by her faith. A lifelong and devout Roman Catholic, she meditated and prayed diligently. She was an active and integral part of every Church community she joined, creating and participating in committees, liturgy groups, meditation groups and choirs. She ministered to the Eucharist and served as a lay reader. She lived by the word of James that “Faith without works is dead”.

Predeceased by her beloved parents, Allen and Anne McCann, Maureen is loved and missed by her surviving sisters, Claire Petrucci (Sergio), Sheena Flynn (Bill) and her brother Fergus McCann, by her children Karen Anne MacDonald (Perry), Steve Melling (Dawn), Allen Melling (Helena) and Michael Melling (Diana Kolpak), by her grandchildren Francis, Kristof, Jaylene, Lexa, Sydney, Brett, Matthew and Liam, and by her great grandson Nolan.

Maureen was born by the sea, and she said often that it was her wish to die there. We are so happy that her last memories were of the beautiful coast of south-west Vancouver Island.

And we are so fortunate to have had her in our lives.

A private virtual family service will be held on Saturday, December 12th with a celebration of life to follow at a later date.

6 Condolences for “BRAMWELL, Dr. Maureen Jean”

  1. Rosemary Jeffery says:

    My deepest condolences to your family.

    Mrs Melling was an inspiration to me as a high school drama student at St Francis
    In the early 1980’s.
    I will always remember her fondly.

    Rest In Peace

  2. Ruth McMillan says:

    So sorry to hear of Maureen’s passing. She was a lovely, interesting lady. We coached field hockey together at St. Francis, and I can still hear her saying “wee sausages”. Thoughts and prayers to all the family.

  3. Norine Dodge ( nee Nason) says:

    I am so terribly sorry to hear of Maureen’s passing. She has always been an inspiration to me…from the first year she was in Canada- at St Francis/ Catholic Central–to now- at 67. She introduced me to drama and even got me to take a leading role singing in musicals! Yikes! I babysat the boys often over the first few years the family was in Lethbridge and was in awe of their ( Tom and Maureen) involvement in Lethbridge theatre. I still treasure a book she gave me one year for Christmas- The poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    She was one of the key reasons I went into education and I have been so blessed with that. It has been my passion for over 45 years.

    The life truths I learned from her are the center of much of what I hold dear… integrity, honesty, adventure and involvement. I doubt I would have traveled the world and emigrated to Australia and then off to England had it not been for her zeal and quest for continued challenge and learning. I have always admired her and I know I will continue to do so.

    I know she is having a blast right this very minute.

  4. Barbara Ann Watts says:

    My sincere condolences to all of Maureen’s family. I taught with Maureen in St. John Fine Arts school. She was a wonderful colleague and inspired both staff and students. I have thought about her a lot over the years and am sorry I did not keep better in touch.

  5. Dariel Jacobs says:

    Maureen Bramwell was my mentor and friend. Ever so sorry to learn of her death.

  6. Tracy Walker says:

    Mrs. Melling burst into my St. Francis Drama 20 class like welcome sunshine. Right from the start, it was clear she would shower her students generously with creativity balanced with method, joy tempered with sacrifice and discipline infused with freedom. We fell in love with her voice, her language and her vocabulary. and formed a community around her. If we hadn’t been chookie bendies and silly sausages previously, we desperately wanted to become whatever that might mean in order to set off the mischievous glint in her eyes and unleash a barrage of brogue.

    I benefitted personally and professionally from her compassion as she steered me through my rocky transition from adoring student to troubled youth to self-possessed young woman. Although I haven’t seen her since those days long ago, Mrs. Melling has always been in my heart, in my mind and, of course, in my ears. She was an inspiration and a delight, and I am blessed for having known her. Rest well.

Leave a Condolence