January 22nd, 2021

SATURDAY, January 13, 2018

By Lethbridge Herald Obituaries on January 14, 2018.


With sadness, the family of William Donald (Don) Bessie announces his passing. Don passed away at Rockyview Hospital on December 29, 2017 after just turning 97. He is predeceased by his father, mother, a brother and sister; and mourned by his sister Janet, wife Doris, children Diane (Rob) Moser, Ken, and Kathryn (Lyle Weslowski), grandchildren Tony (Eva), Phil and Tim Moser, and great-grandchildren Brooklyn and Sienna Moser.

Don was born on December 28, 1920. He grew up on the family farm near Ravenscrag, Saskatchewan with his father Fred, mother Josephine, and his siblings Charles, Viola and Janet. Don enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1941 and saw action in Europe with the VIII Recce Regiment during World War II. In later life this service to his country became very important to Don. He was a supporter of the Canadian Legion. And on two occasions, he and Doris travelled to Europe to revisit the towns and battlefields of his wartime experience.

After the war, Don settled in Eastend, Saskatchewan, to launch a grocery store with his brother. There he met and courted Doris Colville. They were married in July 1954 and over the next five years, the family grew with the births of Diane, Ken and Kathryn. While nurturing his young family, Don continued a career in grocery sales, moving from Eastend to Wilkie to Weyburn.

The family moved to Lethbridge in 1969 and Don’s work shifted to mobile home construction. Don and Doris remained in Lethbridge for four decades, making friends and witnessing the growth of their family. Over the years, their children finished schooling and moved away to start their own careers. Don and Doris moved into a seniors home in Airdrie in 2012. Though over 90, Don continued to be as active as possible. Don was healthy and hale for most of his life but in the last couple years, failing health started to be a concern.

Betty Friesen
1921 – 2018
Elizabeth Friesen, beloved wife of the late Ben Friesen, passed away in Taber on Friday, January 12, 2018 at the age of 96 years.
Further information including service details will follow once arrangements have been finalized.
Arrangements in care of Southland Funeral Chapel, Taber. Telephone: (403) 223-8778.


Gordon Marinus Heynen passed away peacefully at the Rosthern Hospital on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at the age of 80 years. Gordon leaves to mourn his passing and cherish his memory, his loving wife Anna, his children: David (Cheryl) Heynen, Arnold (Kristin) Heynen, Carla (Glenn) Orenchuk and Colleen (Duane) Pilgrim; his grandchildren: Ciara, Ashley, Madeleine, Camille, Tenille, Brooklynn, Logan and Landon; his sister Lanie Olyslager, his brother Jack (Vangie) Heynen, his sister-in-law Ursula Heynen, his mother-in-law Jennie Stefaniuk, as well as several nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. Gordon was predeceased by his parents and 5 siblings. A Memorial Service will be held in the chapel of Kushneryk Funeral Service on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Donations in memory of Gordon may be directed to a charity of personal choice.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Marc Blondeau of Kushneryk Funeral Service, Wakaw, SK, 306-233-4403.


ELSIE ELIZABETH GRISAK, of Lethbridge, beloved wife of the late Michael Grisak, passed away peacefully at the Fairmont Extendicare on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at the age of 99 years.

Funeral arrangements will be announced when completed.

To send a condolence, please visit



It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of WALTER HNATKOWSKI, who passed away suddenly in his home on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at the age of 80 years.

Walter will be forever missed by his daughters Brandie and Kylie Hnatkowski and will be fondly remembered by many family and friends.

The family extends an invitation to come celebrate Walter’s Life at the COAST LETHBRIDGE HOTEL AND CONFERENCE CENTRE, 526 Mayor Magrath Drive South, Lethbridge, AB, on Monday, January 15, 2018 at 1:00 P.M.

To send a condolence, please visit


Peggy Hougen
1924 – 2018
Margaret Hougen, beloved wife of the late Trygve Hougen, passed away in Bow Island on Friday, January 12, 2018 at the age of 94 years.
Further information including service details will follow once arrangements have been finalized.
Arrangements in care of Southland Funeral Chapel, Taber. Telephone: (403) 223-8778.

Dale Loomis

1942 – 2018

Mr. Dale Edward Loomis of Coaldale, beloved husband of Charlotte “Peggy” Loomis, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at the age of 75 years. Dale was born November 28, 1942 in Saskatoon, SK to Jay and Margaret Loomis. He was raised in Regina, where he excelled at sports, especially football. Dale later moved to Calgary, where he met the love of his life, Peggy. They were married April 10, 1971 in Calgary, where he worked for the Alberta Liquor Control Board. With the ALCB they were fortunate to live in four quadrants of Alberta. They were blessed with two daughters, Deena and Tara-Lee. They settled in Taber, then Coaldale, and gained two sons, Stuart and Jon, when his daughters married, and eventually six grandchildren whom he treasured. Besides his loving wife Peggy, Dale is survived by his two daughters, Deena (Stuart) MacWilliam and Tara (Jon) Greenwood; grandchildren Lochlan, Torin, Rhyker, and Finley MacWilliam, Owen and Oliver Greenwood; two sisters, Sheila (Art) Kitzmann and Linda Houle.He was predeceased by his parents, Jay and Margaret Loomis and his in-laws Rodger and Norma O’Brien. A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00am on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at MARTIN BROTHERS RIVERVIEW CHAPEL, 610 – 4 Street South, Lethbridge, Alberta. Inurnment will follow in the Coaldale Cemetery.

Visit http://www.mbfunerals.com to send a private condolence.

Peter Visser

1942 – 2018

Mr. Peter Visser, born September 4, 1942, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 7, 2018 at the age of 75 years. A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00PM on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at MARTIN BROTHERS RIVERVIEW CHAPEL, 610 – 4th Street South, Lethbridge, Alberta.

Visit http://www.mbfunerals.com to send a private condolence.


She was born April 7, 1920 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the second child and only daughter of Peter and Jessie Cuthbert. Her father and mother, a Glasgow Scot and a Lancashire teacher, had met and married in Toronto 4 years earlier. She would be named after her maternal and paternal grandmothers—Jessie Margaret Cuthbert. Her brother Peter was two years her senior.

Between that day and the moment she quietly slipped away in the early hours of January 9, 2018, there lay a life of enormous passion and enviable accomplishment. And adventure. Ever the adventure. Of course 97 years would also claim its weight in tears. Her brother and hero was lost to leukemia when she was 22. It was a family crisis that her mother never completely overcame. Instead of being lost in an abyss of grief, Jessie turned it into a life-long fascination with existential thought. She cared for and shepherded her family through the passing of both of her own parents some 10 years apart. An ever protective mother, the loss of her third son Scott to lymphoma in 2008 followed by the death of her son-in-law Kevin the same year both tore her deeply. Then, just two months past their 65th wedding anniversary she lost her husband Jay. Throughout, she was quick to offer comfort to the rest of us in pain and a poor solicitor for her own.

Somehow she managed to upend each tragedy into a new adventure fueled by the fury of spreading either consequence or unending joy. The year that Jay died she lost a leg to circulatory disease. When she was told that she was likely too old for prosthesis she let the affected parties know that hell could feel like a rest stop compared to where they were headed. She taught herself to walk on that artificial limb, mostly out of spite. When the other leg was given up to the same disease several years later she busied herself, not with grief, with comfort for the rest of us.

Shining light into the dark corners of life became a constant theme. During the war she was a volunteer driver for the Red Cross in Niagara Falls. It was in that capacity that the little brunette with a dimple-wreathed smile encountered her soon-to-be husband Jay. He was convalescing after being shot down during the D-day offensive in France. She was the girl someone called J as they joked about her birthday. He said he knew when it was because his was the same day. Big J and Little J married that December 23 in 1944. Three boys and four girls resulted from that birthday joke. And a life-long city girl with a flashing smile and a chilling British glare packed up and moved to a ranch on a dirt trail just outside Milk River, Alberta. She left a world of wineries, lakeside cottages and almost endless summer parties to learn about coal stoves, water pails, outdoor toilets, making preserves, large gardens, and prairie oysters. She set the prairie oysters free much to the dismay of the old-timers on the branding crew. She just didn’t understand her place they must have mused in a soft whisper. They understood that even a glancing blow from those angry dark eyes could make an old cowboy wish for the returning warmth of winter.

As her kids grew she mothered the inevitable ups and downs of loves and loves lost, despair and disappointments with flashing dark eyes and quick comfort. Mothering was such a soul-driven instinct for her that her email password was ‘gopee’. Jessie led the Canadian Girls in Training and was a lay minister for the United Church of Canada for many years. These experiences continued to feed her curiosity about philosophy and meaning. Curiosity turned to a renewed yearning to follow her mother into teaching. Unable to afford a university education after high school, that dream had been shelved and Jessie became a teller with Bank of Montreal.

With a grown family and nearly fifty years on her dance card, she arrived at the University of Lethbridge—a speed reading, paper writing cyclone. She went on to earn an Honours B.A with a major in philosophy and Bachelor of Education. After graduation she helped found the Lethbridge CMHA, serving as its first Executive Director and worked with AADAC. She became an integral part of the committee that led the campaign to locate the University Campus in west Lethbridge and was a founding member of the University of Lethbridge Senate in 1968. In 1978 she was named YWCA Woman of Distinction. During her studies she was elected the first female Student Union President and was instrumental in establishing an on-site daycare at the campus. She also served on the University Board of Governors. In 2010 the University recognized her contributions by naming her one of its Distinguished Alumni.

Still thirsty for a challenge, when she was 60 Jessie returned to the University of Lethbridge to earn her Diploma of Education and finally become a certified teacher. Her permanent certificate arrived just before her 65th birthday, a fact that led to a career as special education needs consultant for the Lethbridge Catholic School District. It also set her on a collision course with the issue of mandatory retirement. Family and friends often quipped that her retirement announcement would be on the Herald’s obituary page. Retirement did come, however, twenty two years later in 2007. But the teaching spark never flickered. To her last breath she remained a fierce advocate for children and adults with learning disabilities.

Never one to say hello without a smile or goodbye without a tear, she opened her home to an eclectic array of human strays both common and uncommon. Some came for advice, some for comfort, some because they needed a bite to eat and others for the sheer pleasure of her company. For Jessie charity was never an act of giving away something that she didn’t want. Charity, she believed, takes you out of your way—it is an inconvenience. By example, she exercised this idea with considerable passion.

Jessie’s wish was to be cremated so that her remains together with Jay’s can be brought home to her beloved ranch. With six children and more than three dozen grandchildren and great grandchildren living across North America, the family is planning to celebrate this remarkable life in her favourite summer setting.

True to Jessie’s life and memory, we want to include all the hearts she has touched—extended family, friends and the guy on the corner she helped. The family will be making an announcement about a celebration of her life as plans are finalized. In lieu of sorrow, any random act of kindness would honour her memory.

To express condolences, please visit: http://www.mountainviewmemorial.ca.


With deep sadness, we announce the passing of our treasured Mother and Friend CHARMAINE SUCHER, who left us swiftly and gently on January 8, 2018.

We cherish the unforgettable lady we are most fortunate to have known and are simply awed by the lovely grace, never-ending generosity, steadfast loyalty, commitment to community service, constant thoughtfulness, gentle kindness and pure enduring love for which she will always be remembered.

As she faced Lupus, Heart Surgery, Kidney Disease and many other complications throughout these last few years, she bravely endured her burdensome medical challenges to stay with us as long as she could. And as grateful as we have been for her courage to stay, we will remember her final words… “I want to go home”.

While we grieve in our deep loss, everyone who knew Charmaine will rejoice in the unimaginable reunion she will finally have with her precious little girl Karri…and the wonderful welcoming party gathering for her, from her loving Husband Arnold, Mother Lucille, Father EJ, Brother Barry…and many other loving souls who had shared their lives with the beautiful spirit we call “Chere”.

It was Charmaine’s wish to have no formal service…and gracefully sought to be honored simply by your thoughts and loving memories of her.

To send a condolence, please visit



MATTHEW WELLS, beloved son of Harriet Wells and the late John (Jiggs) Creighton, passed away peacefully at the Cardston Auxiliary Hospital on Sunday January 7, 2018 at the age of 65 years. He was surrounded by his loving family and relatives.

Matthew is survived by his children; Bradford (Aiyisha) Red Crow, Rosana Big Plume, Cody (Lesley) Wells, Tiffany, Tamara (Brad) and Tashina (Trinity) Wells as well as his 21 grandchildren. His brothers: Andrew (Evelyn) Wells, Melvin (Benita) Wells, Arnold (Joan) Wells, Henry (Carol) Creighton, Dicky Creighton, Billy (Raeann) Creighton; his sisters: Edith and Laverne Wells, Verna (Ivan) Many Fingers, Tammy, Natalie and Charlene (Tim) Creighton; his auntie Beauty Wells.

Matthew was predeceased by his stepfather Henry Day Rider Sr.; brother’s Henry M. “Little Joe” Wells, Brian and Alroy Creighton; sister Sharon Creighton; his maternal grandparents Mr. and Mrs. James Wells Sr.; his paternal grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Percy Creighton; uncles, aunties and cousins too numerous to mention.

Matthew was born at the Blood Indian Hospital on November 9, 1952. He received his secondary education at St. Mary’s School and later pursued his post secondary education at Medicine Hat, Mount Royal College and in Grouard for Heavy Equipment Operator, upon completion he gained employment with Blood Tribe Public Works as a grader operator for several years. Matthew later enrolled in the Police Training Academy in Edmonton after graduation, Constable Wells served with the Blood Tribe Police Force and later decided to work for Blood Tribe Emergency Services as an Emergency Responder. His last employer was Blood Tribe Family Community Support Services as an Elder’s Support Worker. Matthew was employed until his diabetes forced him into early retirement.

Matthew grew up taking care of livestock, especially horses which he was very fond of and owned, this led him to participated in the rodeo circuit as a bareback rider and supported his relatives who were also involved in the rodeo circuit by attending rodeos. Matthew also, played basketball with the St. Mary’s Warriors basketball team which led them to be the Alberta provincial “C” champions and the Bullhorn Bulls; he coached his own ladies’ basketball team called the “Pandas” who were the provincial champions and traveled to Cheney Washington. He was also, a manager and trainer for the Golden Chiefs Jr. “B” and Kainai Braves Sr. “A” hockey teams whom he was so proud of, he also participated in curling and golf. Matthew was also a Kainai cadet and was actively involved in the cursillo movement.

Matthew will be surely missed for his humour and charismatic ways, he was also, very kind, caring, compassionate and considerate of all that knew him, he always had a smile on his face and in good spirits, he never complained, regardless of the pain and suffering he endured. He loved his children and grandchildren and supported them in their extracurricular activities. Matthew lived life to the fullest, it was never a dull moment when you met up with him, he always had a joke or a great story to share and welcomed everyone into his home. Matthew will be dearly missed by his loved ones and those that knew him.

A Wake Service will be held at Senator Gladstone Hall, Blood Reserve, AB on Sunday, January 14th, 2018 from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Blood Reserve on Monday, January 15th, 2018 at 11:00 a.m.

Condolences may be sent to: http://www.legacyfuneralhome.ca


November 17, 1927 –

December 28, 2017

Ruth Wright passed away at the age of 90 on Thursday, December 28, 2017 at Willow Creek Continuing Care Centre in Claresholm. She was predeceased by her husband Ted Wright and her parents Arthur & Ethel Norman. A memorial service and inurnment will be held at a later date to be announced.

Arrangements entrusted to Willow Creek Funeral Home, Claresholm.



BETTY ZMEKO, beloved wife of Rudy Zmeko, passed away at the Chinook Regional Hospital on Thursday, January 11th, 2018.

Funeral arrangements will be announced when completed.

To send a condolence, please visit


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