2990 Church St., South Mountain, ON

Howard Norman Mansfield October 11, 1941 - May 16, 2019

Survived by his beloved wife Vivienne (Kwissa), his brothers-in-law Donald Bedford (Christine) and Richard Kwissa (Joan); his nieces Tracy and Tobi Kwissa and their children Emily, Fletcher and Megan, Sophie and Alexander. Predeceased by his parents John and Bertha (Messenger) and his brother Raymond.


Howard emigrated from England to Ottawa in September, 1967, just in time to celebrate his 26th birthday in October and enjoy Expo 67 in Montreal. His first year was lived apartment sharing with a friend who was spending Howard’s contributions to their living expenses behind his back and disappeared back to England when found out. As co-signer, Howard had to take on a large debt for which he wasn’t responsible. Luckily for me, he moved in with my family as a boarder “until he could get things sorted out” and we married two and a half years later in 1971.


Our first year of married life was spent travelling to British Columbia and back to Ontario while Howard audited the General Tire stores in the western provinces. The New Westminster stay was particularly nice, lasting close to five months. We stayed at a hotel bachelor apartment directly across the street from the store. It was like having our first home and I could look from the 4th floor balcony to see Howard crossing the road. We traded in our first “baby”, a 1967 Pontiac Firebird that had barely got us through the Rocky Mountains from Edmonton, for a 1970 Pontiac GTO muscle car. I think that was always our favourite set of wheels and earned me my only speeding ticket!


We bought our first house in the countryside in 1979 and Howard put his enjoyment of reading DIY books to good use in building decks, raised gardens, and creating lovely flower beds. His interests moved more to the indoors when home and work computers evolved. He had a natural skill working on the computer and helping others with work and home projects. Howard and I had always shared a mutual love of music and a large accomplishment on his part was to create the first extensive website on jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. He spent hours and months inputting information as a tribute to the great musician and received much recognition and appreciation for his efforts. It surprised me that eventually he couldn’t go on with the project. I thought it was because other sites on Monk were appearing on the Internet but now I think it was because he was slowly becoming ill.


Howard retired from his work with the City of Ottawa, Social Services, in 2007. He described it as being his “last job and his best job”. I thought he would have many years ahead of him to enjoy a well-deserved retirement and that his need to start walking with a cane was just from age and fatigue. We went through several house moves in a short space of time trying to downsize and improve our finances. Howard was one of the brightest people I knew but was suddenly having difficulty keeping the car from drifting to the right when he drove, repeating things I had just said as though they were original thoughts, always saying “I’m just getting old”. It took two years to convince our family doctor that something was wrong. It took the neurologist just a matter of minutes to diagnose the problem as PSP, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. I think we just looked blank at the diagnosis having never heard of it before but I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach by the words, “I’m very sorry”. I knew then that this was something that couldn’t be fixed and our time remaining would be drastically different.


PSP is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease. Sadly, there is no cure and as the name says, it’s progressive. It’s main symptoms are loss of balance and falling backward, difficulty looking up and down, eye sensitivity to light, and weakening of the throat muscles leading to pneumonia. Howard battled the disease for eight years but eventually made the choice to let it run its course. His body wasted away and he had no strength left. He spent his last year living at the Hilltop Manor, Merrickville. The staff did their best to keep him as comfortable as possible in his final days and marvelled at how long he held on. I think it was a great unhappiness for both me and them when he let go.


Our time together wasn’t always perfect, Papa, but one thing I told you often will always be true: You always were and always will be my very best friend. I will miss you every day. I hope your suffering is over and your spirit is with past family, friends, and the many lovely “critters” that shared our lives.


All my love,




In lieu of flowers donations in Memory of Howard may be made to the Cure PSP organization. Arrangements entrusted to the Byers Funeral Home, South Mountain (613-989-3836). Online condolences may be made at







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  1. REPLY
    Donna Foget says

    Our condolences on Howard’s passing.

  2. REPLY
    Vivienne Mansfield says

    Two years have gone by so fast since losing you, Papa. Every day is a challenge because life is no longer normal. I do have dreams in which you are middle aged and well and yet I am aware that you are just visiting and could disappear suddenly. That bothers me more than you and you keep insisting that you want to drive the car! I am a nervous passenger but you seem very happy and look well. I like to think it is a sign that somewhere, you are fine and your years of illness are a thing of the past. Give Millie lots of hugs and kisses for me! I have loved all our pets but that wonderful beagle got me through many unhappy and confusing days. Missing and loving you all every day. Vivienne xxx

  3. REPLY
    Vivienne Mansfield says

    Happy Birthday, Papa, on what would be your 80th! That is hard to believe. Somewhere you are having cake and coffee with family and friends! Thinking of you and missing you every day! Love, Vivienne xxx

  4. REPLY
    Vivienne Mansfield says

    Three years have gone by since your passing. I am only now beginning to want to get out in the world and stop hiding. Without thinking, I will often expect you to walk into the room or come through the front door. I dream that you are back and in your 40’s. No more grey hair! You want to drive the car and I try to talk you out of it. We both seem to know that you are not really supposed to be here but you are enjoying yourself. I talk myself into driving with you but stay on guard in case you suddenly pop into thin air! This sort of thing would always bother me more than you. I also dream about us house hunting. Understandable since we moved quite a bit. Always a disappointment to wake up to reality, the confusion and not knowing where I am heading. Best to take each day as it comes. I know that you are somewhere wonderful. I have a peaceful feeling about you being safe and well. My love to you, family, friends, and our wonderful critters who made each house a home. Vivienne xxx

  5. REPLY
    Vivienne Mansfield says

    Tomorrow, October 11th, would be your 81st birthday. I wonder what you would think of all the serious problems in the world today and everyone dealing with a pandemic. I believe that you are happy and safe, being with your family, friends, and maybe some of your heroes. Perhaps you can even go dog walking with mum and Queen Elizabeth! Who knows! Those two ladies would like each other, I’m sure, and they were both daily dog walkers. I am still trying to sort out being single for the first time at almost 70 years of age. Just taking care of myself doesn’t seem very important and I will have to push myself to adjust. I hope that your illness and pain are a distant memory and you are happy. Videos I have seen of people who passed away temporarily and visited Heaven have all said what a beautiful place it is. I hope I will end up there myself eventually. All my love and a happy birthday, Vivienne xxx

  6. REPLY
    Vivienne Mansfield says

    Four years have passed since you moved on to a better world, Papa. That is quite a chunk of time, during which I feel I have been living in a fog and only now starting to want to get up and become productive again. Losing someone important in your life doesn’t just bring sorrow; it brings upheaval of all you have known and it’s hard to lose all of your focus on the past and look forward. It doesn’t mean in any way that your love or respect for that person has changed. It never will. Life is so precious and you need to make the most of the time you are fortunate enough to have. I am discovering little changes about myself all of the time and things that I thought I had done for myself might have not been so. It’s strange and interesting.

    I know that you are somewhere wonderful, with family, friends and the most wonderful pets we could have ever deserved. I wish you all love, comfort and peace. If I am worthy, I hope to join you all when the time is right.

    Vivienne xxx

  7. REPLY
    Vivienne Mansfield says

    Today would be your 82nd birthday, Papa. Even in your 80’s, I think you would enjoy your time as always. You had the blessing of shutting out the outside world and focusing on your own interests. A lot has changed in the world even since your passing in 2019. I wish I could say it was all good but it doesn’t seem that way. I am still trying to adjust to the life of a single adult and it is very hard after almost half a century of taking care of a husband, pets, home and working. Unlike people in their late teens and 20’s discovering life, I am trying to do the same while leaving behind old life habits. It just confuses me and wears me out. Maybe that’s why I tend to enjoy You Tube videos about animals and gardening. I can relate to those things. I also enjoy videos about travelling by plane, something that terrified me I know you will remember. However, if the future does allow me to visit some other parts of the world, I may try it. There is so much to learn in people and places.

    I hope you are safe and well with family, friends, and our beautiful pets. My love to you all!

    Vivienne xxx

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