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Wanda Eloise (Davis) Robson
December 16, 1926 ~ February 6, 2022 (age 95) 95 Years Old
17 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Wanda's family - View on Tribute Wall
Wanda was born, raised and educated in Halifax, graduated from Queen Elizabeth High School and began working at the Fisheries Research Station in Halifax in 1943. She was married and lived in Winthrop, MA for 9 years. Moving back to Halifax as a single mother of three small boys, she lived with her parents and rejoined the Fisheries Lab where she later met Joe. Wanda’s older sister Viola Desmond and her husband Jack lived in the same building while Viola was beginning her hairdressing business and school.
Wanda’s mother died in 1963 and her father died in 1964. Viola came home from New York to help with her father’s illness; she was having medical problems at that time but put off seeing a doctor. She returned to New York and died the following year (1965). Wanda moved to an apartment with her three boys, continuing her job at the Fisheries lab. She moved a few times with difficulty—Divorced: “You people party all the time”, three small boys, and coloured. Wanda rented a house from Dalhousie University and was there for a few years before it was to be torn down. With the wrecking ball in the back yard she spoke with the Dal buildings manager. He was quite surprised to learn of the discrimination. He offered Wanda a large house with the provision that she rent spare rooms to students who may have similar problems. So began the saga of Henry St. Five years with students from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario, the West Indies; summer school (education) and full year students.It was a learning experience for all with only one hiccup. Wanda and Joe were married in 1971 and continued living in the house until moving to North Sydney in 1975. We kept in contact with some of the students who passed through the house.
Joe had retired from teaching. Following up an advertisement for a history course on discrimination at Cape Breton University, led Wanda to Dr. Graham Reynold’s course. Viola was part of one of the early lectures, Wanda commented “that’s my sister.” Dr. Reynolds asked Wanda to speak to one of his classes that consisted of mostly education students. Thus began the telling of Viola’s story in provincial schools, at Ryerson University and many other places. This went on for 20 years. I joked about our theme song, Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”. As most of you possibly know, all this brought about the Royal Prerogative of Mercy free Pardon from the province in 2010, and in 2018 Viola on the $10.00 bill, which was the icing on the cake.
Wanda is survived by her husband of 51 years, Joe Robson; sons Steve Neal (Janice), Dundas ON, Gordon Neal (Vikki), Vancouver, BC, Jeff Neal, Vancouver, BC, Joe Robson Jr. (Jennifer), Lantz, NS; daughter Sarah Robson, Saint John, NB. granddaughters Brooklyn Strowbridge, Lauren Neal, Emma Neal, Kysha Neal; grandsons Callum Robson, Hunter Robson, Eric Neal, Ellis Neal, Aaron Neal; brother-in-law Graham Robson (Judy), Sydney. Wanda was the last surviving member of her immediate family.
A funeral service for Wanda will be held at 10:00 am, Monday, July 3, at Cathedral Church of All Saints, Halifax, with the Very Reverend Paul Smith officiating. Arrangements are under the care and direction of W.J. Dooley Funeral Home, 107 Pleasant Street, North Sydney. Online condolences can be left for the family by leaving a message on the tribute wall of the obituary at www.wjdooley.com.