Age 82 of Halifax, passed away peacefully with family holding her on June 10, 2021 after decades of refusing cancer any hold on her life or lifestyle.
Mum was Born in Saint John, N.B. on February 23, 1939 to Ruth James; Greta and Cyril Baker welcomed her as their chosen and much-loved daughter at three months of age. Growing up in Saint John, she attended Trinity Anglican Church, excelled at piano through the Royal Conservatory and remained a proud New Brunswicker all her days. Mum attended Edgehill School for Girls in Windsor for its academic challenges, field hockey and basketball squads, and friendships that truly lasted a lifetime. There she met her future husband Kerry who attended King’s College School. Mum’s proficiency in the sciences saw her complete a BSC. at King’s College in Halifax prior to training as a Laboratory Technician at the VGH Pathology Lab. Family always being her priority, Mum put her career “outside the home” on hold to raise four really excellent children while mastering the role of “Rector’s Wife” in Anglican parishes across Nova Scotia, often as organist.
Her children almost able to survive the day without her direct intervention, Mum secured a position in the IWK’S 3rd floor Microbiology Lab (or “Stools and Drools” as she put it). She commuted daily from Chester for several years; initially as a passenger and later driving her shiny red VW Jetta. Mum thrived upon the technical exactness required in lab work and being part of a multidisciplinary professional team that supported extremely sick children.
Finding herself with too much spare time, Mum qualified as a Registered Technologist (RT) while working full-time in Micro with 3.5 teenagers at home, a designation of which she was justifiably proud. Challenged by cancers she did not earn, Mum was unruffled by the host of scans, biopsies, surgeries, and Clinic visits those conditions invoked. She was blessed to have been supported by expert clinical staff no matter the specialty; equally important to her was the personal interaction she wrung out of every clinic visit using her humor and outgoing personality no matter how serious the update.
Finally, cancer had an upside: it led Mum to the Bosom Buddies dragon boating team, a sisterhood of unshy women providing community, support and exercise. Mum exercised her shoulders and extrovert superpowers on the water with her Buddies in regattas from New Glasgow and New York to Asia and cherished those friendships to the end.
Mum’s favorite things included the sights and smells of Saint John’s City Market, attending Stars on Ice shows with Sarah, marathon knitting sessions, rocking grandchildren for hours and spoiling them with ice-cream sundaes WAY past their bedtimes. Holding court at the Kaye Street Starbucks every morning was also a large part of her life, the friends met there were some of her most beloved in her later years. Natalie was predeceased by her parents. She is survived by her husband, Kerry; children, Kevin (Pam Sanford), Stephen, Sarah (Ronnie) Holesworth and Andrew (Carolyn); grandchildren, Tierney Hayward, Kristen Jain, Connor, Charlotte, Declan and Kieran Bourke and great-granddaughter Ria Jain. The family wishes to thank Drs. D. Rayson, H. Henteleff and C. Giacomantonio, Nurses Mallory Daly and Claire Morton and the host of other clinical and admin staff that supported Mum across the years. Cremation has taken place; interment and a celebration of Mum’s life will be held when raucous gatherings are once again appropriate. Donations in Natalie’s memory can be made to Prescott Group, Bide-a-while Animal Shelter or a charity of your choice.