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Viola Pero, 94 Sydney Mines
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved mother, Viola Gertrude Pero (Harper), at the age of 94 on November 16, 2023 (10 days shy of her 95th Birthday). Mom had resided at the Northside Community Guest Home for the last number of years, first living in Enriched Housing and then at Fowler Hall (Cara House), where she received exemplary care.
Mom was a resident of Sydney Mines for 62 years but was always proud to say that she was born and raised on Gannon Road. Born in North Sydney on November 26, 1928, she was the daughter of the late Alexander (Alex) and Florence (Jarvis) Harper.
She is survived by her daughters, Calista (the late John MacLellan), Jeri Pero (Steve MacInnis), Joanne Marinelli (the late Brian Marinelli), and sons, Bill Pero (Donna), Darren Pero (Karen), and son-in-law Allan Fraser.
To Mom, her pride and joy in this life were her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When they came along, we evidenced a different side to our mother, a softer side, one so different from the tough, holding-it-together Mom whom we experienced in our younger years. She will always be remembered by her 11 grandchildren as their loving Nannie Vi, who loved to tell stories of the ‘olden days.’ Left to mourn are grandchildren Cara MacLellan, Jonah MacLellan, Matthew Fraser, Andrew Fraser (Grace), Brian Marinelli, Aaron Marinelli (Rachel), Zachary Pero (Robin), Chelsea Rajkovic (Silvano), and Julianna Shehata (Mohammed), Ty and Evan Pero. As her grandchildren grew into adulthood and started having babies of their own, Mom loved to hear stories of her great-grandchildren’s antics, always asking to see recent pictures and videos of them and thoroughly enjoying their visits when possible. Nannie Vi will be remembered by her 10 great-grandchildren, Iain MacLellan, Rhysa Marinelli, Olive Pero, Adrijana, Mateja and Luka William Rajkovic, Hannah and Noah Marinelli and Simone and Rowan Fraser.
To us, Mom will be sorely missed as the historian of both the Harper and Pero families, the keeper of our heritage and the memories of both families. She always kept both families alive in our hearts. It was to our home that the brothers and sisters and their families, especially those who lived away, congregated for visits each summer, knowing that amazing hospitality and meals, especially her homemade bread, could be found in our kitchen. Her many nieces and nephews loved their Aunt Vi.
Mom was the last surviving member of her immediate family. To all of us, our mother was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Predeceased by our beloved Father, Duncan Pero, in 1969, Mom was left to raise and support a very young family alone at a time when social networks and support were unavailable. Times were tough, but she survived with fortitude and tenacity. Not owing anyone or anything was a motto we often heard and a creed she lived by until her death. Mom had to overcome many sorrows and hardships in her life, especially losing our Dad as a young wife and mother and having to raise the 5 of us on her own. She had endured and grieved the loss of our sister her entire life, her second child, Ann Coloua, who passed away at the young age of 18 months. Most recently, she suffered the loss of her great-grandson Duncan Alisdair Fraser in 2019, named for our beloved father.
Mom was predeceased by her stepdaughter Rhodina (Steele) Orr of Hubbard, Ohio in 2014; her sisters Mabel, Jean, Ada, Delores, Ramona, and her Aunt Leone; brothers Guy, Calvin, Roland, and John (Jackie). Mom endured each of their passings stoically but felt each loss profoundly.
There will be no visitation per Mom’s wishes. Cremation has taken place, and a private family burial will take place at a later date. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to J.M. Jobes Funeral Home, Sydney Mines. Interment will take place alongside our father and sister in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Sydney Mines. Donations can be made in Mom’s memory to the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit of the IWK, the Cape Breton Regional Hospital NICU, or the Northside Community Guest Home Foundation.
Our family would like to express our sincere thanks to Dr. Doug Kolhsmith for his unwavering support and council all these years with regard to our Mother’s health. We would be remiss if we didn’t extend a heartfelt ‘Thank-you’ to all the staff at the Northside Community Guest Home, especially nurses Diane and Linda and Dietician Michelle Keeling, Cheryl, her in-house hairdresser, who made Mom feel beautiful in her final days, Marie who loved our Mom from day 1, her Angels who provided love, care and a good belly laugh, especially in recent weeks. Cindy, Katelyn, Sabrina, Shirley, Rhonda, Brittany, and Cheryl are just a small group of people who she calls her Angels. We will be eternally grateful. These women provided not only comfort to Mom but also to us. There are so many more who should be named here. All these women treated our mothers with such dignity and love, no matter the circumstance. Each of you had become her extended family. Mom always expressed to us her appreciation and love for the care given to her by you. Our Mom was always supported spiritually and lovingly by her friends and mentors, Jane Ernst and her daughters Gail and Pam. She looked forward to Jane’s calls each night at 7:00 PM and especially their visits. We are so grateful for the love expressed daily and the support you have shown our mother and to us, her family.
Rest in Peace, Mom. We will mourn your loss acutely, but knowing you are embracing Daddy, Coloua, and Duncan, in Heaven, will give us much solace in the days ahead. We know we were blessed to have had you for as long as we did. Until we meet again.
‘And the breaking of the day might bring you sorrow,
You know I may not be around this time tomorrow,
But I’ll always be with you’
We love you, Mom, and will miss you always.