True Love. Billy and Iva Oates
Written by Karen Bell
Every day youll find him making the half-hour drive
into town to visit his one true love.
The love affair began nearly 70 years ago between two
youngsters on the Queens Line. Billy Oates and Iva Hawthorn were schoolmates in
the local one-room schoolhouse and lived with their farming families about a
mile from each other.
Their first date may have been at the country fair, a local
Sadie-Hawkins dance or at a lunchbox social and soon blossomed into a budding
romance. After marrying in 1951 they settled on the Oates family farm on the
Queens Line and raised four children. Supporting each other throughout their
farming life they won praise for their award-winning dairy herd and for
Ivas passion of recording local farm and family histories.
They retired and built a new home on Billys ancestors
land in Foresters Falls in the early eighties and enjoy their time most when
helping family, friends and neighbours. Billy restored the gazebo
that his Great Grandfather built on the property and it proudly stands beside
their home on the outskirts of Foresters Falls as a testament of love for past
present and future generations. Billy and Iva are active members of
their local community, church and lodge and in recent years worked together
with other dedicated volunteers to help rebuild and open the Ross Museum and
refurbish St.Aidens Church.
Hardships were faced together when Billy required surgery
and Iva underwent medical treatments but each at alternating times so they
could be strong enough to care for the other in their time of need. Recently,
when Ivas condition required more medical attention than could be
provided in their home, Billy made the difficult decision to move Iva to the
Bonnechere Manor in Renfrew, where he and Iva had toured together and decided
upon many years earlier. Billy remains totally committed to her and spends
every day by her side at the Manor helping with her care and meals. Ive
often heard him say that he knows that Iva would do the same for him if
circumstances were reversed, and I know she would. The love in his eyes and her
gentle smile when they are together affirms that their love for each other
remains strong and true.