Yvonne Pettit

A family tradition

Sunnybrook holds a special place in Yvonne Pettit’s heart, which is why she did not hesitate to play a part in helping the hospital change the future of health care by creating a legacy gift in her Will.

Yvonne witnessed her father and her husband receive exemplary care at Sunnybrook. Creating a legacy gift in her Will was an extraordinary expression of her commitment to honour their experiences and make a difference in the lives of those who follow.

Giving back is something of a family tradition. Yvonne’s father served in the First World War, before being wounded and returning home to build his life in Toronto.

In Parkdale, he bought a variety store, where Yvonne pitched in, eventually working full time. Although she did not get the chance to finish high school, her gift for numbers laid the foundation for her later success.

Just before the outbreak of World War II, Yvonne met her future husband, Bill. But Bill had already signed up with the Royal Regiment of Canada, so their romance was put on hold. Badly injured at the Battle of Dieppe in 1942, Bill returned home for officer training – but not before proposing to Yvonne. He set off to Europe once more shortly after they married.

Yvonne juggled two jobs to prepare for Bill’s return, bookkeeping during the day and working at a local factory at night. When Bill returned, they bought a house with Yvonne’s savings, which she owned for the next 55 years. Bill joined Maple Leaf Mills, working his way to the top, and Yvonne ran her own business.

In the prime of a life well lived, Bill was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1993, and Yvonne devoted herself to his care. As the disease progressed, Sunnybrook stepped into Yvonne’s life for a second time. The dedicated professionals at Sunnybrook’s renowned Veterans Centre cared for Bill in his final days, and that kindness and professionalism did not go unnoticed by Yvonne.

She remembered how Sunnybrook had been there for her father, who was transferred there during his last days. When Bill passed away, Yvonne made the decision to honour the exceptional care and compassion shown to the people she loved most with a gift in her Will. Such a gift ensures they will never be forgotten.