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Eileen Merle (McKinnon) Aylesworth

1935 - 2014, Santa Barbara

Eileen Merle Aylesworth (née McKinnon) of Santa Barbara, beloved mother and sister; born June 6, 1935, Estevan, Saskatchewan; passed away June 15, 2014 in Wichita, Kansas.

In 1941 the family settled in Manson, Manitoba, where she enjoyed childhood on the prairie with her many cousins and extended family and attended a two-room schoolhouse. She was a proud and supportive alumna of the University of Saskatchewan (BS in nursing, class of 1959), where she had been a member of the championship curling team.

Eileen came to the United States in 1959 to accept a nursing position at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara. Here she met her future husband Kim; they were wed in 1961 at El Montecito Presbyterian Church and remained married for 27 years. During her many decades of service she also worked at St. Francis Hospital and at the Vista del Monte retirement community, forging deep ties to the Santa Barbara nursing community and earning a master’s of science degree in nursing from Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1993. In addition to her practical nursing work, she was a valued Certified Nursing Assistant instructor at Santa Barbara City College, where she was tough but fair with her students, and boundlessly generous with her time.

After retiring in 2002, Eileen volunteered in the Cachuma Lake Nature Center library, and found a new church home and many dear friends at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church on Cathedral Oaks. She loved to attend concerts (especially of the many choral groups her daughter Kristin sings in) and travel, accompanying the Santa Barbara Choral Society on tour and participating in Friendship Force, an organization of cultural-exchange home-stays through which she visited Tasmania, England, China, Germany, and other countries.

Eileen was selfless, kind, patient, and extremely hard-working, an avid reader and crossword maven and a collector of stamps, coins, old postcards, spoons, crystal, and friends. Although she had lived in the US since 1959, she never became a naturalized citizen, remaining a proud Canadian to the end.

Cared for in her last years at home in Santa Barbara by daughter Kristin, she is also survived by sons Allan Aylesworth (Brenda Riley) of Wichita and Kenneth Aylesworth of Santa Barbara; daughter Catherine Aylesworth Lorigan (Paul Lorigan) of San Jose; brother Bruce McKinnon (Margaret Charlebois) of Paris, Ontario; ex-husband Kim Aylesworth now of Sacramento; and her beloved dog, Katie.

All are invited to memorial services on Sunday, June 29th at 3 p.m. at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (770 Vala Dr., off Cathedral Oaks near Turnpike). In lieu of flowers, donations in Eileen’s memory may be sent to the The Alzheimer’s Association or The American Cancer Society.

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