We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Sneath-Strilchuk Funeral Services - Roblin
It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Edna Irene Russett of Roblin, MB on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at the age of 91 years. Edna Irene Wardell was born May 22, 1931, the second child of Edith (Nee Kelly) and Lewis Wardell. She was born in Swift Current, Saskatchewan along with her siblings, Billy (deceased), Clifton (deceased), Hellen Wells, Carberry, MB and Donald Wardell, Qualicum Beach, BC. Edna married Gordon Russett in 1955 and raised their family in Boggy Creek, MB.
Mom saw the beauty in nature of all kinds whether plants or animals and always shared her interest and knowledge freely encouraging everyone to be interested in what goes on around them. She chose a career as a teacher and was committed to that calling for her whole life. Our mother was always clear about her role. She imparted her knowledge by example, she encouraged curiosity by being curious, demonstrated kindness by being kind, humour by laughing and acceptance by being welcoming to all.
There were lessons everywhere you looked and as all of her six children knew, they often came early on a Saturday morning when the lights came on and the call came. “Get out of bed, we are doing chickens today or we are planting peas or potatoes”. As time went on the grandchildren, when visiting also learned that particular life lesson. We all laugh about it today because it was definitely a shared experience but one that was unique and taught us all some lesson about life, living and working, and the value of a good day’s work.
Mom was always very pragmatic, but we often wonder about how she really felt about moving up to Boggy Creek, as she would say “Into the Bush” with a young family. Dads career in road construction brought them to this area and they stayed and made it their home, raising six children, and creating a beautiful little paradise out of a wild environment. Mom loved the farm life, her Jersey cows, spending hours tending to pigs, cows, calves, chicks, puppies or kittens. She loved to garden and enjoyed challenging herself, as she tried growing many shrubs, trees and flowers that were not particularly known to do well in this area. She was particularly proud when she eventually mastered the challenge of growing Blue Himalayan poppies.
She loved to read and belonged to a book club for as many years as she lived in Boggy Creek. Her library consisted of every kind of book you could imagine and she was so in tune with world history that she could talk knowledgeably on any current topic. She embodied the attributes of a true artist. She enjoyed the artistic process as much as the finished product. She used fabric, fibres, paint, wood, anything that had a good line or a particular look to create a scape. She has passed that creative side on to her children and many grandchildren and the idea that creativeness is not just with pen and paper but with every medium and there were many. Within all her creations she shared herself and challenged the viewer to think outside conventional ideas. Her family is blessed with many art pieces that she lovingly produced at Christmas or other special events. They each represented a special relationship that we shared with her.
A cruel tragedy was to befall her as a muscular disease gradually robbed her of her ability to walk and talk. Our attempts to bring her technology were mediocre and she instead wrote on a whiteboard where up until the last she still wrote cursive with capitals and punctuation.
Her influence on all who knew her has been enormous, from the friends she made, the Katimivak students who flocked to her home, teachers who came to work in Boggy Creek to the many neighbours who found a helping hand, a meal and a place to sleep while watching the late-night news, to family and relatives who came to visit and stay. One year they almost lost their cream quota as a result of making homemade ice cream for so many people over the summer months. It is wonderful how many people have memories of the various activities at the farm, all thoroughly enjoyed. Mom enjoyed a long and active life, doing what she loved and loving what she did. She and those who loved her were blessed with her many years of good health. As we say goodbye to Mom we look back at the many, many things that she passed along to us and that we are so grateful for.
I always felt blessed to have a mother that I called my best friend. We enjoyed many laughs and interests. I always appreciated her knowledge and common-sense perspectives. She lives on in each of us and I know her greatest wish would be that each of us continue to be brave and authentic with ourselves and create lives that make us happy.
A Funeral Service was held for Edna on Saturday, June 4, 2022, at 2:00 pm from the Knox United Church in Roblin with Margaret West officiating. This service was livestreamed for those who were unable to attend, please click on the link below.
Should friends so desire, donations in memory of Edna may be made to Frank Skinner Arboretum, Box 1221, Roblin, MB R0L 1P0.
Frank Skinner Arboretum
Box 1221, Roblin, MB R0L 1P0