Willa Birks McDougall, 91, of Ponte Vedra Beach, and till recently also of Georgeville, Quebec, died peacefully in her home on January 30, 2022.
Willa was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in a large and loving extended family. After attending McGill University, she met and married her lifelong “best beau,” Jim.
Willa and Jim raised their 3 beloved children in Montreal, and also in nearby Mt. Bruno where Willa’s extended family had gathered for years to enjoy each other and the beautiful Canadian outdoors. Innumerable sporting activities, multi-generational family gatherings and celebrations ... these were the stuff of “Bruno life,” and they constituted Willa’s absolutely most favorite memories.
Willa was an accomplished athlete. She won many local tennis tournaments. She was ladies’ golf champion at Mt. Bruno Country Club an unprecedented 10 times over 14 years, and racked up 11 holes-in-one over her lifetime. She never spoke of her natural prowess, but she passed on the love of sports, outdoor life, and fair play to her children and grandchildren alike.
Willa was also known for the beauty of her prolific handiwork: homemade meals, colorful sweaters and quilts, needlepointed pillows, fresh flower arrangements, and more. For Willa, life was to be richly shared. She also took on significant volunteer leadership roles including several years each as President of all volunteers for the Montreal Junior League and Montreal General Hospital.
In 1977, Willa and Jim relocated their primary home to Ponte Vedra. They loved their new life and their many friends here. Still, they returned to Canada annually for months at a time. Willa continued to travel north even after Jim passed in 2002, and, with the help of her family, on to her 90th year.
Four years ago, Willa’s grandson Ben moved in with her to become her full-time caregiver. Thanks to him, Willa was able to stay in her home and maintain as normal, full, and happy a life as possible right to the end. Willa loved her Ben!
Willa is survived by her three children and their families: Sandy (Paolo, Ben, Jordan, Seth, Bianca, Nicole), Carrie (Lincoln, Morgan, Vince), and Duncan (Belle, Jesse). She will also be dearly missed by many, both north and south.
A memorial gathering will be announced at a later date.
Special thanks to those who were invaluable in Willa’s end-of-life care, including Dr Tea Stephens, Casie Cole, Debbie Greene, Mary Annabi, the ProMedica Hospice team, and Nikki Helm.
Donations in Willa’s name may be made to Children’s Literacy Foundation, a non-profit founded and directed by her son Duncan (CLiF, 1536 Loomis Hill Rd, Waterbury Center, VT 05677), or to ProMedica Hospice, (8130 Baymeadows Way West, Unit 201, Jacksonville, FL 32256).