Phyllis Winnifred Gardiner


When Phyllis Winnifred Gardiner was born on December 14, 1897 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, her father, Samuel Gardiner (1859-1914) was 38, and her mother, Teresa (née Stevens) (1861-1921) was 36. She had two brothers and six sisters. According to military records for her son, Phyllis married and had one child with Murray Joseph Gray. I haven’t found a marriage record, birth record or any other information on Murray Gray. I’ve done an extensive search on both sides of the border and not discovered a census record for the family in 1920/21 or for Murray prior to that time (Phyllis is with her parents in 1901/1911). I have found a 1924 border crossing record that suggests that Phyllis was still going by the name Gardiner at the time of her crossing. Until I am able to review Leonard’s birth certificate, my conclusion will have to be that the child was born without the benefit of marriage.

Phyllis had one child, Leonard Joseph (presumably Gardiner, later Gray) born August 2, 1918 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I was not able to locate a death record or gravestone for Murray Gray. Leonard’s military files suggest that his “father” was dead before 1939, and that he died of pneumonia. The military records for Leonard also suggest that Phyllis worked as a part-time stenographer during WWII. In the 1920s and and thirties, her job was a domestic.

Leonard was killed tragically during World War II at a pilot training camp in Manitoba, Canada at the age of 22. At the time of his death, Leonard’s mother was living at 860 Valleyway, Niagara Falls, Ontario, with her sisters Hilda and Vera. The Niagara Falls Library website suggests that house numbers changes in 1970 in Niagara Falls – “Most of the house number changes that occurred between 1969 and 1970 involved adding 4000 to the number – so 910 became 4910, 1482 became 5482.” – which means that 860 Valleyway became 4860 Valleyway. There is no longer a residence at that address.

Phyllis was changed by the death of her son. After their deaths, she spent time at the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital.

There is a stone for Phyllis at Fairview Cemetery in Niagara Falls—she died on November 26, 1984, just over two weeks short of her 86th birthday. The obituary suggests that she was at Sunset Haven in Welland, a retirement facility, at the time of her death, but had been living at 6576 Kiwanis Crescent in Niagara Falls at the time of her death and was survived by her sisters Vera and Hilda and her brother Charles.

Obituary (via the Niagara Falls Gazette)
Headstone, Phyllis Winnifred Gray

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

AG Knapper

I’ve been researching my tree for over twenty years…and I’ve found some easy branches, and some gnarly ones…

Get fresh updates
about my life in your inbox