Cora Pearl (Copie) MacMillan (nee Sannes)

December 17, 2020 10 Condolences Print Obituary Send Flowers

A full century of a life well lived is a wonderful thing. Copie MacMillan left us this gift as she peacefully departed this life on December 10, 2020. Born to Ed and Blanche Sannes in Lake View, Minnesota on April 8, 1920, she grew up alongside her little sister and best friend, Marion, on her family’s farm near Provost, Alberta. It was in Provost that she met her future husband Jack MacMillan. She attended Normal School at the University of Alberta and taught school in Hughenden and Barrhead while waiting for WWII to end and Jack to return from the Navy. They were married in Cadogan (near Provost) in July, 1946. They recently celebrated their 74 wedding anniversary.

Most of their married life was spent in Edmonton where they raised four children – Jack, Kim, Robert and Marion. She was a happy, stay-at-home mom while the kids were little, but later returned to teaching English at St. Albert High School. She loved teaching, and students she met later as adults attested that she was an inspiration to young people; they felt she genuinely respected and believed in them.

Copie’s Christian faith was central to her life as she fulfilled many roles as a charter member of Kirk United Church, her spiritual home for most of seven decades. She may have been the most well-read lay person in the congregation as she devoured books of theology and cutting edge Biblical studies. She was always open minded and was more concerned that her church meet the needs of younger people than cater to her own needs or those of her generation. Over the years Copie and Jack provided accommodation, support and guidance for many intern ministers who valued her friendship, quiet wisdom and gracious listening.

Her children remember their mom as warm and supportive, yet having high expectations and firm boundaries. They were never in doubt that they were loved and they felt free to explore and to grow into the unique individuals they were meant to be. She often spoke of how proud she was of her kids and the adults they became. She was equally proud of her grandchildren Trevor, Keith, Neil, Elizabeth, Kevin and Ross and her great grandchildren Nate and Faith. Valued members of her family included the partners of her children and grandchildren: Susan, Barbara, Alan, Amber and Jeff.

In later years, Copie gradually lost her eyesight and much of her mobility and experienced chronic pain from a lower back injury. Though it became more difficult to stimulate her considerable intelligence through her beloved reading, she accepted these limitations without complaint and with the same grace and dignity that she had lived her life. She was very grateful for the loving and devoted care that Jack provided throughout these years.

Copie passed away just as she wanted to, in her own home and in the presence of her husband and close family. She had said her goodbyes, expressed her love and had that love expressed in return. While her family will miss her sorely, it was a good end to a rich life. Her legacy lives on in the people she has loved so well.

COVID regulations will limit the family to a very small memorial service and plans are forming for a larger virtual celebration of her life at a later date.

Those who wish to make a donation in Copie’s memory may do so to the United Church Mission & Service Fund ( or the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (

  1. My sincere sympathy to Jake and family. I think of the old Kirk family often and always have fond memories of all the wonderful people I met during my years attending there.

  2. My name is Maria Spink (Cordeiro) and as a child my family and I lived next door to the MacMillion’s in the Sherbrooke neighbourhood. My sister Natalia and I used to go and visit to play with Marion.
    Jack and Cora were always very kind to us and asked questions about our Portuguese culture all the time.
    My parents were always working full time and as kids left us alone . One day Natalia accidentally cut herself with a knife and I ran over to The MacMillan house to fetch Cora and she quickly scooped us up to the emergency where she received stitches .
    I have very childhood memories of her sweetness and kindness and allowing us into her house to play with Marion.
    My deepest condolences to Jack and the family.
    Maria and Manuel Cordeiro

    • Our deepest condolences to you all…Copie impacted our life greatly and we are all the better for it! She will be missed but this unbelievably incredible life she built will remain in you… We will always cherish the times we had together and the Christmas ornaments given in the past will forever hang our tree! Many prayers for you all..wishing peace at heart filled with loving memories 💓

    • Maria, what a nice surprise to see your name and remembrances here! I remember you and Natalia fondly as well. Thank you so much for your thoughts. We were fortunate to have Mom for so long, and it will take some getting used to now that we don’t. Take care!
      Marion (Hobbs)

  3. Copie was my great grandmother and although we didn’t see each other often we always shared a deep loving connection. I know from the stories my dad tells me all the time about our family when he was a kid, that they were always amazing people and I got to learn how my great great grandparents were when my dad was a kid, and I got to learn about them in the greatest way possible, when I didn’t have many experiences with them myself. I always cherished the little moments I had with her. I was very very grateful that I was able to spend her last few days with her and cuddling up next to her and holding her hand, although during those times we didn’t talk much, it was still nice to feel her and love and cherish her. I miss you grandma❤️

  4. We lived in the basement apartment of Copie and Jack’s house for four months in 1981 as my mom was the student minister at Kirk United Church. My parents and brother and I are so grateful to have had that time and the loving friendship ever since. You opened your house and your hearts to our family and since then, you’ve always been Uncle Jack and Aunt Copie. Please accept our heartfelt condolences, Uncle Jack and your whole family. Our memories are our comfort. Much love from us to you.

  5. Dear Jack
    My thoughts are with you and your family during this time of loss. I enjoyed my time visiting with you and Copie, specially out at the lake.

  6. My Aunt Copie was a beautiful lady and my Mom’s best friend throughout life. She and my Uncle Jack were a constant support for Mom after my Dad died in 2004. One thing that Aunt Copie told me a few days before she died was that talking to me and my sisters was her connection to talking to my Mom. Well I hope they are chatting their heads off now!

  7. One more Copie hug would never be enough. I know she was ready for the next stage of her journey but I never would be, losing her from this realm leaves a massive hole. I will always remember and treasure our friendship. During my twelve years at Kirk, Copie was part boss, mentor, proofreader, supporter, and friend. Her gentle strength was an inspiration as she faced each challenge with grace and determination. I feel very privileged to have known her and counted her as my friend. I’ve been gone from Kirk for 10 years and am grateful for each precious visit with her during that time.
    To Jack and the entire MacMillan family, my thoughts are with you as you grieve her passing but also as you celebrate a life well-lived and her incredible legacy.
    I will miss you Copie. I will always remember you.

  8. Jack & Family,
    Our sincere condolences to you all.
    It was always a pleasure to visit with Copie at the Resort over the years. Copie was such an interesting lady and her love for her family was always so bright.
    Wishing you all strength as you face this profound loss of such a beautiful lady. May your cherished memories bring comfort to your hearts.
    Hugs to you all!
    Adam & Mirella Ledwon

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