‘Lyn counted her family and friends among the most precious gifts of her life, staying in close contact by whatever means she had available to her. Perhaps this contributed to her strength, able to find her way through the loss of a dear friend during WWII, then of her half-brother, Peter, in a tragic sailing accident; nursing her husband, Don, through 2 strokes and his passing in 2010 and just last year, following a decade-long battle with cancer, the loss of her elder daughter, Ellen (Aristhaia) Cash. ‘Lyn is survived by her daughter, Katherine ( The Reverend Norm Freeman ) Cash, California; grandchildren, Eric Iba, Pickering, ON, Dr. Hannes Cash and his wife Antonia, Berlin, Germany; great-grandchildren, Jul and Lucien; as well as her half-sister, Aileen Bright.
‘Lyn defined herself by how involved she was with her family and in her community, being always open to sharing her time and gifts, and being purposeful in involving others in activities and conversation. She made a life-long conscious effort to keep her mind active, alert and inquisitive. She kept a diary for most of her adult life, detailing her activities, though omitting her feelings, which she preferred to express through direct conversation with family and friends, and she composed her own obituary. The following details her life up until the time she, her husband and two daughters moved into the City of Westmount, on the island of Montreal.
“Dad, the late Thomas Passmore Berens, was a well-known medical doctor and Mom, Evelyn Evans Reading Berens, was one of the first female radio operators for Marconi. Dad died in December 1923. A year later, Mom met Cecil G. Smith, and we moved to Paris, France, where they were married. I recall the daily nightmare of being forced to drink hot, unpasteurized milk. I liked my governess, but my baby brother, Peter, had a strict, Danish governess who made his life rough, and I felt compassion for him! I had no special friends in Paris, but I had a make-believe dog who accompanied me everywhere. One day I went to my governess in tears because he had bitten me!
Then we moved to Canada, stopping in England to pick up Bobby, a marvelous dog with eyes hidden behind his cascading locks of hair. When we deplaned in Canada, it was a bitterly cold mid-April winter day and the ground was covered in snow. It was so cold and I definitely was not dressed appropriately! In early spring, I went ice skating, but the other children thought it was strange when I spoke to them in French! We summered in Dorval, well before the airport was built. The next major event in my life was just before my dear sister and friend, Mary, was born. I was attending a French school that was walking distance from home. One day I tripped, broke my wrist and was in such agony that I was given chloroform to ease my pain.
From the age of ten, I spent my formative years attending Trafalgar School for Girls, “Traf”, which gave me a hunger and thirst for knowledge, through conversation, reading and the media. I matriculated, having been elected Head Girl in a class of 8 girls. With what turned out to be a life-long love of being on the water, in 1940, I paddled with a friend from Ottawa to Montreal.
In 1941, I naturalized to being a Canadian citizen, and in 1944 graduated from McGill University as a nurse, having seen the first use of Sulfas and Penicillin, which caused a huge change in practice. When WWII came, I enlisted in the army, serving for 13 months as a nurse on active duty, noting further, war-related changes, such as a large number of injured sailors who underwent plastic surgeries. After the war ended, I returned to McGill to get my RN, and worked with the Victoria Order of Nurses (“VON”) upon graduation. For this job, I needed to drive. When I went for my drivers license, I was delighted to learn that for additional $15, I would be granted a chauffeur’s license, which I carried proudly for my whole life. While I was working 12-hour shifts at the Montreal Chest Hospital, before becoming a Head Nurse there, I met, fell in love with and married Don Cash. Throughout this time, I made deep friendships with fellow nurses, and these became life-long friendships.”
After giving birth to Ellen (Aristhaia), ‘Lyn became a stay-at-home mom, and had one more daughter, Katherine (Kate), moved to a home that Don had designed in the Montreal suburb of Baie D’Urfée, accompanying her daughters’ practice on piano and learning to play the viola da gamba, enjoying performing with her friends in a consort of viols, spending weekends boating with the whole family and living close to her half-brother, Peter. ‘Lyn helped found the Lakeshore Chamber Music Society and, while serving on the board of the Ladies’ Morning Musical, helped found the lunchtime concerts at Place des Arts in Montreal.
She encouraged both her children to attend university, and found great joy in being a constant source of encouragement for both girls, an attitude she continued to hold throughout her life. She raised both daughters, to be well known globally in the performing arts and attended their events with pride whenever she could.
‘Lyn loved being alive. With an empty nest, she and Don cruised on their yacht to New York City, Newfoundland and to Bermuda, delighting in seeing whales, flying fish and icebergs (at a safe distance!). She was very modest about having saved lives by pulling people from the ice-cold ocean, one man with the help of Don and Kate, and by preventing a suicide that was in progress, that she happened upon during one of her nearly-daily long walks. She accepted with glee every opportunity to go out on the water, from yachts to rowing to kayaking. She loved to share her opinions, would often direct conversation into laughter, and elicited and respected the opinions of others.
For all of ‘Lyn’s adult life, she looked to involve herself in the community through volunteer service and attending classes, or delighting in sharing tea or meals in her home, at the home of friends or at her favourite restaurant. ‘Lyn and Don moved from Montreal to Lunenburg in 1989, where she was active on boards and committees, including the DHA /// and VON.
After Don’s passing in 2010, she moved to Mahone Bay where, until her death, she was an active member of the Tennis Club, loved to attend classes and perform Tai Chi, attend Quest and SCANS classes, meet on many Sundays with the Friends, have weekly gatherings at a restaurant with her French-speaking friends, volunteer for the annual book drive, and attend LAMP, St. John’s Anglican Church, Lunenburg, the Mahone Bay Three Churches and Barbara Butler’s concert series’.
In 2011 ‘Lyn met Ralph, and her views of life and love expanded hugely. For much of her life, she had described herself as an atheist. Ever since she awoke from being declared clinically dead a few years ago, she became more open to considering meditation and prayer, and delighted even more in the Friends’ meetings and Tai Chi classes, in addition to pursuing all of her previous activities. She was a hugely compassionate lady, often tending to the needs of, and praying for others, alone or in the company of family and friends.
‘Lyn has shown all of us that life is to be celebrated and lived fully with all of the vim and vigour that we can muster right up to the “new beginning”.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Evelyn ” ‘Lyn” Berens Cash, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Wednesday July 10th 2019
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Evelyn ‘Lyn Berens Cash..
Death notice for the town of: Lunenburg, Province: Nova Scotia