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Humour — and love — blend together in an obituary
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Humour — and love — blend together in an obituary

Laughter is not only the best medicine — it can also ease pain, especially the pain left behind when someone you love has died.

The family of Barbara Walker obviously know that. They recently wrote an obituary which not only sparks giggles, but also captures the essence and spirit of the woman they loved so much.

Walker was 70 when she died on Jan. 6, in a hospital in Merseyside, England.

It’s then the humour in her obituary begins.

The family noted who Walker is survived by, but not just people. There was also “mountains of unfinished knitting and a bungalow full of things that need sorting. Thanks Mom.”

Noting that their mother was born and raised in Liverpool, the same place a certain mop-top group came together, they said she “found growing up at the centre of Beatlemania a bit dull so she set her sights on somewhere more exciting. She replied to a help-wanted ad featuring a picture of the sparkling lakes and snow-capped mountains of Banff, Canada.

“Fortunately for our dad, she ended up in Brunkild, Manitoba.”

They also talked about Walker’s prowess in the kitchen, making special mention of her “chewy pork chops” and how she had “a steadfast commitment to protecting her family from food borne diseases by ensuring everything was thoroughly cooked. Very thoroughly.”

The final joke was what happened to Walker after she died.

“Much like the dinners she served, Mom will be cremated.”

The family does note that their mom is probably reading the obituary from beyond, being equally mortified and entertained, and saying “the cheek!”

There’s even more gems you can read, but all in all, it’s pretty safe to say Walker was well loved by her family even while an ocean separated many of them for her last years. As they say “she will always be remembered for her warm heart and wonderful sense of humour… we will certainly miss the very funny and very unique woman we were able to call mom.”

And, what’s more, we can all hope that our own families love us as much as this family did when it comes time for them to write down their own memories of their loved ones. Read more about Barbara. 

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason, Reporter

Kevin Rollason

How They Lived

Denis Remillard was working various odd jobs in the mid-1970s when one morning he woke up and decided to build a greenhouse.

Remillard, who was 68 when he died on Jan. 11, built that greenhouse and kept going until he built that garden youth project into a 50 acre vegetable and flower farm.

He then moved into Winnipeg and founded Jardins St-Leon Gardens in 1990 which has since grown into a popular market and garden centre. Read more about Denis. 



Jacob Klassen might have helped you renovate the kitchen in your home.

Klassen, who died on Jan. 15 at 89, began working in lumber stores, including Beaver Lumber, where he was a manager at the outlet in Riverton.

He decided to go back to school and get a business administration certificate before working in a cabinet business.

Not long after, Klassen became known as The Kitchen Man, founding his own kitchen-cabinet business. He opened Jake Klassen’s Kitchen Gallery in 1977, first selling cabinets made in Germany and then pivoting to creating his own onsite. Read more about Jacob. 



Sister Frances Byblow did a lot during her almost eight decades of religious life. And it was all because her brother screwed up.

Byblow, who was 97 years old when she died on Jan. 7, originally planned to apply for teachers college. She even filled out the application — but she gave it to her brother to mail and two weeks after the deadline had passed he found the letter still in his pocket.

Instead she joined the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculates, serving for 79 years.

Byblow held leadership positions with the sisterhood. During her time as Provincial Superior for Canada, she oversaw several building projects, including an addition to the Holy Family Home in Winnipeg and construction of the new 70-bed St. Paul’s Senior Home in Dauphin. Read more about Frances. 



Don Forfar grew up in Dauphin but made his mark in politics in another part of the province.

Forfar, who died on Jan. 5 at 71, was the proprietor of the IGA in Winnipeg Beach. He later sold the store and began working with First Nations organizations.

He then threw his hat into the ring and was elected the Mayor of St. Andrews in 1998.

Forfar ran successfully three more times before deciding to step down in 2014. Read more about Don. 



A Life’s Story

Megan Strain may have been small in stature, but she was big in both heart and her creativity in art.

Strain, who died last January at 68, used her talent to help students create their own artwork. She was a longtime arts and English teacher at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate and was known for creating large projects.

Megan Strain was an Art and English teacher at Murdoch Mackay Collegiate. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“Megan deliberately chose large projects to involve as many students and staff as possible, regardless of their backgrounds, to provide the opportunity to participate in the community and to enable individuals to gain confidence and experience,” recalled her brother Gregg.

Strain’s passion for arts education and commitment to students saw her honoured with a Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.

You can read more about Strain’s life here.



Until next time I hope you continue to write your own life’s story.



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