“Bea” was born the second of six girls in Lake Isle, Alberta to hard working immigrant parents. She took her elementary and junior high schooling at Spedden. While her family lived in Saskatchewan she moved to Edmonton where she lived with a family and did household chores for room and board. There she graduated from Victoria High School and made enough money to put herself through nursing training at Royal Alexandra Hospital graduating in the class of 1939. Her first jobs were in a rural Alberta hospital and then as a District Nurse in New Brigden, Alberta. While working there, she met her future husband. Bea resigned her position when they were married. They started married life in another rural community for sixteen years where they raised three children. Bea ran an efficient household, was an excellent cook, and saved money by sewing family clothing and other household items, improvising when things weren’t available, growing a huge garden and preserving much for the winter. She enjoyed community involvement, her curling team and getting together with friends and always included friends and neighbours for holiday meals. Being a nurse in a community without a doctor, neighbours would often visit for medical advice, stitches or bandaging at all hours. Though she always had more than enough to do, Bea took pride in what she did and that pride and caring and the way she treated others was passed down through the generations by example rather than by lesson. Not until her children started post secondary school did she go back to nursing in extended care facilities and in retirement she volunteered in cancer clinics. She had a life and career of caring which she passed along to her children and grandchildren. Though life involved more manual work in those days, there was always time for friends and get togethers and laughter. For the family that included the fun of playing cards from a very young age. Card skills translated to math and problem-solving skills. Bea excelled in school and the same was expected of her children. There was no scolding if marks dropped, just the feeling that one could do better. With more time to be relaxed with her grandchildren, she enjoyed sharing nursing stories, her outstanding baking and recipes, wise sayings, card skills and laughter. Knowing a good life means working hard, caring for others, pride in what you do, taking time for laughter, feeling loved and letting others know they are loved are how Bea, mother and grandmother, influenced her family’s lives. They are so grateful for this gift that can only be paid back in full by paying it forward. Bea was happily married for 60 years and lived to be 93.
~Linda Fulton and Holly Dobek