2020-09-02

Silver Cross mother Anita Hyatt dies

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>Anita Hyatt, pictured in 2012, at the war memorial in Chelsea.</p>

Anita Norma Hyatt (Crouse), a Silver Cross mother and familiar figure who laid a wreath at many local Remembrance Day services, died in the Bridgewater hospital last month. She was 97.

Hyatt's son, Signalman Philip Morris Crouse of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, was killed in Egypt in August, 1966 at the age of 25. A resident of Liverpool, Crouse was with the 56 Canadian Signal Squadron as part of the United Nations Emergency Force.

Hyatt frequently laid a wreath in memory of her son on November 11, and was present when the community of Chelsea - where she was born - established a war memorial there in 2012.

"He was so loving. Every time he wrote me a letter, he said, 'When you send anything, send jelly beans so I can give them to the kids,' Hyatt recalled in a 2015 interview with LighthouseNOW. "He didn't care about himself, he wanted the jelly beans for the kids."

"He was good-hearted. One time he came home and passed me a $100 bill. At that time, that was a lot of money. I said 'What's this?' he said 'It's for you. For you, not for the house. It's for you.'"

Crouse's grave marker was among many destroyed about 15 years ago at a time when heavy trucks busted through a wall of the cemetery in the Gaza Strip during conflicts in the area.

With help from multiple fronts, the final resting places of Crouse and others were restored. In 2015, Hyatt received a picture of her son's restored headstone and a copy of the page where his name is listed in the seventh book of remembrance.

"It gives me peace to know that it's fixed up," Hyatt told LighthouseNOW at the time.

A commemorative plaque in honour of Crouse also adorns Liverpool Regional High School.

Honoured by the Bridgewater Legion in 2009 with the branch's honourary patron award, Hyatt "was a hairdresser in her early years ... loved playing cards, bowling, bingo, most of all knitting," according to a published obituary.

She is survived by a sister, daughter, two stepsons, a step-daughter, along with other family. She was predeceased by her husband, two sons, three brothers and five sisters.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Hyatt's memory to the Maple Grove Cemetery in Chelsea are encouraged. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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