The family of Nettie Zihrul sadly announce her passing at St. Paul’s Home in Dauphin on April 16, 2021 at the age of 96 years. Nettie was predeceased by her husband Walter and all of her siblings (Emily, Frank, Sylvia, Leo, Jean, Diane, Orest, Modest and Eugene). She is survived by her sons Jerry (Donna) and Ray (Yvonne), grandchildren Jennifer (Troy) and Riley (Kayla), and great grandchildren Cayden and Rylan as well as many nieces and nephews.
Nettie was born Jelesaweta (Elizabeth) Nettie Stashko in 1925 to Frank and Antonia (Helash) Stashko, in the Fishing River area where she grew up on the family farm. Although there was always work to do, she had fond memories especially of visits from other Helash/Paskal and Stashko/Zarowny families who lived nearby. It usually meant they could look forward to having a roast chicken for supper even if Nettie and her sister had to pluck it. She was especially close to her aunt Ann Zarowny and great aunt Natalia Shwetz. She went to Borden school where she completed grade 9 and would have continued her education had it been possible.
It was during the war years that Walter Zihrul met her at a dance in Fork River. Unfortunately, he did not get her last name and he spent the next year looking for her at dances in the area. He finally succeeded and they were married in 1945. Nettie and Walter lived with his parents in the Sifton area for a year while they built their own house across the road and began to develop their farm.
Their homestead included a small orchard which had plenty of fruit to preserve and share with family and neighbours. Nettie enjoyed her large vegetable garden and flower beds which she kept on expanding. They lived on the farm for almost 50 years and Nettie was an active partner with Walter in the farm operation. She was always reading newspapers and listening to the radio for the market reports and the latest farm trends. She even learned to drive a 5 ton grain truck to help out with harvesting after her sons left home.
In the winter, Walter was a commercial fisherman on Lake Dauphin and Nettie would be home alone during the day. She took up needlepoint and became quite proficient as she had a good eye for detail and colour. She entered her works in the arts and crafts competition at the Red River Exhibition and won awards.
Nettie and Walter had busy lives beyond the farm participating in community activities. Nettie was a member of the Sifton Women’s Institute as well as the Sifton Women’s Curling Club. She also enjoyed helping to prepare meals for suppers at the community centre. Nettie and Walter took part in many bonspiels where they enjoyed great social time with friends. Nettie and Walter were involved with the Lutheran church in Dauphin as founding members in 1963.
In 1994 mom and dad decided to have an easier life and they moved to Dauphin where mom soon was busy with her new garden and watching the birds at her feeders. Living in town gave her more time to join and help out with the Seniors Center, Legion Auxiliary as well as the Lutheran ladies.
We will always remember Nettie for her good humour, compassion, patience, generosity and wisdom but mostly for her great love for her family. She was a very loving mother who supported and encouraged her children, grandchildren and other family members in any way she could. She was also great fun and we have many happy memories of her teaching us to ride bikes, going on picnics to the lake, enjoying family dinners, going on Sunday drives and berry picking in the bushes.
Sadly, her last years were very challenging with many health issues. The family are very grateful and appreciate the excellent care she received from St. Paul’s. We are also thankful for the friendly visits from Sandi Bass of Peace of Mind Companion Care which always brightened her day. If friends so desire, a memorial donation may be made to St. Paul’s Personal Care Home, 703 Jackson Street, Dauphin, MB, R7N 2N2. Due to Covid restrictions, a small graveside service will be held at a later date.
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