It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Myrna Anne Richards (Tays) which occurred on October 27, 2023, at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Saint John, NB.
Myrna was born the second of eight children on June 8, 1941, in Mercer Settlement, New Brunswick to Horace and Doris Tays. Her family and role in New Brunswick life were important and defining influences in her life. Myrna left home at an early age to attend high school in Sussex and went on to Teacher’s College in Fredericton. She ultimately earned a Bachelor of Education from UNB. Teaching was a calling for Myrna, who loved her students and colleagues. She was passionate about education and proud of the influence she had on so many young people. To the very end of her life she encountered students of hers, or Don’s, who remembered them both fondly as their favourite teachers.
While she left home young, Myrna never lost her deep connection to her siblings Carole, Kenny, Dale, Maureen, Linda, Brian and Sheryl. She was a dedicated daughter and sister who rarely missed a Sunday supper at the family farm in Mercer Settlement or later with her mother in Norton. Myrna married Donald Richards in 1964, starting her own family, and proudly watched their children Elizabeth and Eric grow and thrive. A brief residence in Tobago from 1968 to 1970 brought great opportunities and adventure. Myrna fondly remembered exploring the island in her Volkswagen Beetle and visiting beaches with toddler Eric and baby Elizabeth in tow. Myrna’s love of travel and the beach never abated, with summers in Prince Edward Island, trips to Europe, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean, Argentina, and New Zealand.
Myrna delighted in watching Elizabeth and Eric start their own families with Michael Keleher and Genevieve Desmarais, leading to her greatest joy, her grandchildren Maxwell, Owen and Xavier. Myrna was also a role model to her many nieces and nephews. She was intelligent, ambitious and brave which led to her being an early beacon of the women’s movement for equality in Canada, ensuring that her daughter and all girls had equal opportunities. Through her work as the Vice Chairperson and Chairperson of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women in the 1980s, she worked on social justice issues and equality for all, a responsibility that she undertook with grace and dedication.
Myrna continued her role as a trail blazer and role model when she fulfilled a life long dream and attended University of New Brunswick Law School. Admittedly one of the older students, she nonetheless made friends and admirers of her fellow students and professors alike. She loved everything about the law and excelled in her practice, articling with Stewart McKelvey, working with David Lutz, and finally opening her own practice. She was a fierce advocate for her clients and a kind advisor for all those who sought her counsel. She was equally respected during her time as Vice-Chairperson of the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board and as a representative on the Premier’s Council on Health.
Myrna was a proud New Brunswicker who dedicated her life to public service. She participated in the community in Hampton, serving as a board member of the Dr. V. A. Snow Centre, member of the St. Paul’s Anglican Church community and volunteer Brownie leader, among other endeavours. She was a long time member of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority through which she helped many children, mothers and seniors.
Myrna was never happier than when she was with her family and many friends, or in a garden, preferably her own. She could hold counsel with Prince’s, politicians, judges, teachers or neighbours alike with ease. She was a loyal friend, generous with her time and views on the world. She often told her family and friends that she had lived a full and happy life, but none of us were ready for her leaving. She will be missed by many, but we are comforted to know that she is reunited with her parents and her beloved husband Don and son Eric; revelling in the life after her time on earth, which she knew would be full of gardens, beaches, family, friends and good conversations and a laugh with Kenny, Maureen and Dale.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Reid’s Funeral Home (506-832-5541), 1063 Main Street Hampton, NB, where visitation will occur on Friday, November 17 from 4 to 7 PM. A funeral service will be held at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Hampton at 1:00 PM on November 18, 2023. Donations in memory of Myrna may be made to Hestia House in Saint John or to the charity of the donors choice. Personal condolences to the family and memorial donations may be made through ReidsFH.com.