A Hilda M Szalay nee Ferguson RN
September 23, 1917 - May 11, 2021
Service Date: Friday, May 14, 2021
Service Time: 2:00 p.m. from MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel (by invitation only) or via live-stream
It is with deep sadness the family of Agnes Hilda May Szalay (nee Ferguson) announce her death in Charlottetown, PE on May 11, 2021, at the wonderful age of 103 years and 8 months.
Hilda was the sixth child of 13 siblings born to Harry Garfield Ferguson (Marshfield) and Agnes Karolyn MacAusland (Mill River). She was one of three last surviving members of her immediate family leaving behind her beloved sisters Odella “Babe” Mahar (the late Vincent) and Florence McNichol (the late George McNichol and the late Ralph Green).
She was predeceased by her husband Jeno (1982) and her parents Harry (1963) and Agnes (1993). Also dear siblings, brother Gerald Garfield “Reg” killed in action March 13, 1944, buried in Italy; as well as dear Elmer (Olive and Beryl); Hessell (died at 1 month); twins, Olive Dixon (Keith) and Olga Brown (Gerald Burgoyne and Lloyd Brown), Roger (Jean), Gordon “Don” (Sadie), Joan (died age 6 years of diptheria); Henrietta Clair (Tom); and Thelma Misener (Clarence).
Hilda was born September 23, 1917, in Charlottetown at a time of horse and buggy, wood stove cooking, ice boxes, and the privy out back. And although Hilda “helped mother with much work to be done”, there was always love and fun in the family home, first at 37 Park Street, then at 23 Park Street.
Hilda skated on the river as a young girl and many socks, mittens and sweaters were knit. She attended church and Sunday School, eventually teaching Sunday School at Central Christian Church. The things learned at an early age would guide the course of Hilda’s life as she began her formal education, at Model School in Charlottetown, ultimately graduating with Nursing from Nova Scotia, completing her training at the Grace Maternity Hospital in Halifax in 1949, earning the Proficiency Prize for highly competent and skilled achievement. Well suited to “the caring profession”, Hilda would spend her life caring for others. Returning to the Island, she began her career Nursing in hospitals in Charlottetown, Summerside, and Montague; often providing private duty nursing after her shift at the hospital was done.
Hilda married the love of her life, Jeno Szalay, on October 11, 1955. Jeno of Hungarian descent, came to PEI to build the large oil tanks which can still be seen on the Charlottetown waterfront today. Hilda followed Jeno’s career, moving first to Newfoundland, where she enjoyed living and working at the St. John’s Hospital. Moving next to Quebec, they settled in Montreal where Hilda nursed at the Royal Vic, eventually earning accreditation and managing the Dietary department.
Always an Islander at heart, Hilda would return home often over the years, especially for Old Home Week. Eventually, she and Jeno retired to the Island, buying a home on Bolger Drive in Sherwood. Hilda settled easily back into life on the Island, joining Trinity United Church, which she faithfully attended until no longer able, also participating in the UCW. Hilda was also a long-standing member of the Women’s Liberals of Charlottetown and many a spirited discussion was held around her kitchen table.
Always a lover of animals, Hilda followed harness racing avidly. Like her brothers Elmer and Don, Hilda owned several race horses. One trotter in particular, Eva Ayres, won sire stake races as a 2 and 3 year old.
Always a caring person, Hilda welcomed her mother, Agnes, into her home where she cared for her until her passing at 102 years of age. Hilda’s door was always opened and she was never happier than when we were all there together. Although never blessed with children of her own, Aunt Hilda was especially caring towards her nieces and nephews, always with a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Barbeques in the backyard or time together around the Christmas tree with logs burning in the fireplace. Good memories all.
Hilda remained in her own home until health issues dictated that she move to Seniors Housing. She spent her final years watching curling (of which she had been a keen player) and harness racing on the television. She loved to sing hymns and could still carry a tune right up to the end. She attended church services as offered and kept up to date with the comings and goings of her family. She reminisced often of the early years with “Mother and Daddy”.
Left to celebrate her life and carry forward her memory are her two sisters Babe and Florence, her nieces Shelly Ellis (Clarence and their son Samuel) and Charlene Nickles (the late George and their son Warren), and many other nieces and nephews, grand nieces and grand nephews.
Hilda’s family would like to thank Cathy MacDougall for her friendship to Hilda over the years and all the love and support she gave Hilda which helped her enjoy her final years.
Resting at MacLean Funeral Home Swan Chapel from where the service will be held on Friday at 2:00 p.m. (by invitation only). For those wishing to attend virtually, the service will be live-streamed at https://event.forgetmenotceremonies.com/ceremony?c=7ab5aecc-a2f0-4c32-95e9-5610a5fd75a7. Interment in Peoples Cemetery. A private family visitation will be held. If so desired, memorial donations to Heart & Stroke Foundation would be appreciated. Online condolences may be made at www.macleanfh.com