May 21st, 2024

Saturday, April 6, 2024

By Lethbridge Herald Obituaries on April 6, 2024.

SAUER, Renee

SAUER Renee (Melenka) Sauer, beloved mother, daughter, sister, and dedicated Registered Nurse, passed away suddenly on March 25, 2024 due to a brain aneurysm. Renee leaves behind a legacy of compassion, advocacy, and unwavering love, especially for her children. Born on June 26, 1972, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Renee was raised in Lethbridge County attending Sunnyside and McNally Community Schools and later, St Joseph’s Middle and Kate Andrews High School in Coaldale.
Renee was the cherished mother of Jessi Melenka (16) and Jake Melenka (10), both of Cranbrook, BC. As a mother, Renee sought to instill the values of empathy, kindness, and resilience. Her devotion to her children knew no bounds, and she took immense pride in their accomplishments including judo and 4-H (Jessi) and hockey and lacrosse (Jake) and their aspirations.
The daughter of Albert and Susan Sauer of Lethbridge, Renee was raised with a deep sense of community and a commitment to service. Alongside her brother, Greg Sauer, of Calgary, Renee learned the value of hard work from an early age mostly growing up near Sunnyside and later the McNally area on five acres of land. It was here that Renee rode and jumped their Honda three-wheeler, participated in 4-H (sheep) and gained a deep appreciation for animals. While not having the opportunity to have a horse of her own, she was able to share in this love much later living vicariously through Jessi in recent years. Although it was not always the case (think teen years) Renee loved rural life, including times at the family farms near Seven Persons (Debler) and Conquerville (Sauer) with grandparents Lilian and Tony Debler and Anna and Lois Sauer, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Renee also loved summer camping trips and journeys that defined the early years to places including Lake Newell, Elkwater, Blairmore, Waterton and West Glacier (Montana).
Professionally, Renee spent two years at Lethbridge College before joining Green Acres Animal Clinic. It was here that Renee fostered her love of animals and began her long legacy of rescuing as many animals as she possibly could. Following this, Renee moved to Calgary where she trained as a Licensed Practical Nurse. This career took her to Jasper, where she had the honour of providing care for an individual who suffered a spinal cord injury and was confined to a wheelchair as a quadriplegic to end of life. Renee’s time in Jasper came to be remembered as among her happiest and Jasper her most beloved place. Renee later returned home to Lethbridge before moving to Cranbrook and Fernie where she worked in hospitals in both BC (Cranbrook and Fernie) and Alberta (Crowsnest Pass). Renee returned to BCIT where, with great pride, she fulfilled a goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. Her caring nature was legendary and exceptional skills were evident in the interactions with patients and colleagues alike. Whether providing comfort to those in pain or advocating for the most vulnerable, Renee approached her work with unwavering dedication and a profound sense of duty.
Beyond her professional endeavors, Renee was a passionate advocate for animals and those less fortunate – and stories abound. Her compassion seemed limitless and was both a blessing and a curse for this highly empathic human. For most, it is no secret that Renee struggled with her mental health through much of her adult life. While stigmatized, especially in the early days, Renee learned to embrace this disease and did not shy away from her challenges publicly.
In addition to her loving family and friends, Renee leaves behind a community deeply grateful for her presence and inspired by her legacy of kindness and generosity. While she may no longer walk among us, her spirit will forever live on in the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to know her.
As a life-long giver, it is fitting that Renee was able to provide the gift of life, even in death. As a result of Renee’s donation of organs, four individuals will receive the gift of life. While we grieve her loss, Renee’s family is buoyed knowing that Renee’s heart continues to beat in a donor recipient. Renee’s family encourages anyone who has considered but not done so to register as a donor.
In addition to being predeceased by all of her grandparents, several aunts, uncles and cousins, Renee was predeceased by her best friend, Carol Braat, whom Renee held near and dear to the very end.
A celebration of Renee’s life will be held at a later date and at a location to be determined.
In lieu of flowers or monetary donations, the family asks that you make an investment and donation in kindness, non-judgement and respect for humans (especially those less fortunate) and non-human species alike. Renee sought a better world defined by kindness. An act of kindness (random or otherwise) with Renee in mind would mean the world to us.
Renee will be dearly missed but never forgotten, her memory serving as a beacon of light and love for all who were touched by her remarkable presence. May she rest in peace, knowing that her life was a testament to the power of compassion.
Condolences may be left for the family at


Shirley Stensrud 1936 Р2024 Our mother, Shirley May Stensrud (n̩e Weatherhead) age 88 years, passed away peacefully in Lethbridge on Friday, March 29, 2024.
She spent her last days surrounded by the family she loved so dearly. Shirley is survived by her children Brian (Darla) Stensrud of Bow Island, Wayne (Michelle) Stensrud of Lethbridge and Sharla (Mike) Herauf of Lethbridge; grandchildren Courtney (Otys), Tanner (Michelle), Drew (Megan), Alli (Dylan) and Tristan; great grandchildren Huckley and Wilder. She is also survived by her sisters Jean (Ivan) Eriksen, Arlene Poole, Carol Weatherhead and Sherry (Don) Drake; sisters-in-law Marilyn Weatherhead, Naomi Spaulding, Gertie Pierson and Zelda Stensrud, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Shirley was predeceased by her loving husband of fifty three years Adrien; parents Clarence and May Weatherhead; brothers Larry, Earl and Dale Weatherhead; brothers-in-law Ross Poole, Elmer Stensrud, Marvin Stensrud, Albert Spaulding, Sam Lockhart, and Bob Pierson; sisters-in-law, Mavis Weatherhead and Doris Lockhart; and parents-in-law Henry and Helga Stensrud.
Shirley was born on February 26, 1936, in Lethbridge to Clarence and May Weatherhead of Burdett. She had a very happy childhood and being the oldest of eight children, was like a second mother to the younger ones. After graduation from high school in Bow Island, she attended Garbutt Business School in Lethbridge. During that time, she lived at the YWCA with girlfriends, where much fun and likely, shenanigans, occurred. She fell for a handsome, blue-eyed boy named Adrien, who stole her heart. They married in 1956 and lived in Lethbridge until 1957, when they returned to Bow Island to farm. The early farming years were a challenge with raising a family, low income and many “hailed-out” years. Their immense desire to be a farm family and hard work ethic helped them to succeed.
Shirley worked at the Bank of Montreal in Bow Island for a few years then worked in the office at the Weatherhead family John Deere business, Green Power. She worked alongside her mother for decades, immensely enjoying their time together. Shirley worked part-time until around the age of seventy and often joked that she couldn’t retire before her mother, who worked into her early nineties. Working in the family business gave a perfect work/life balance, which allowed her to help on the farm and spend more time with her children. Her fridge was always full, and she could whip up a delicious and nourishing meal in no time at all. Many a harvest meal was served from the trunk of her car.
Shirley enjoyed many activities such as curling, golfing, skiing, gardening and helping with the kids’ activities. She attended and volunteered at countless hockey, ringette, ball games and figure skating carnivals, both as a mother and a grandma. Being a part of the United Church community and singing in the church choir along with dad and many friends brought her much joy and contentment. Shirley and Adrien travelled to many places but their favorite place in later years was spending winter months in Arizona with good friends. One of her very favorite things was “having a coffee” with family and friends. Her bright smile, laughter and friendliness was appreciated by many.
After Adrien’s death, she lived at the Pleasant View Lodge for four years and then, Fairmont Extendicare in Lethbridge for nine years, where she received loving and compassionate care throughout her lengthy journey with dementia. Karen Thom was a perfect companion for her; they enjoyed music, food, dancing, singing, excursions and much more. Karen provided safety, security and reassurance to our mom when we couldn’t be there with her.
Mom, you are loved and cherished and we are so proud and grateful to be your children. Rest easy, your struggles and suffering are over, for which we are thankful.
Service information will follow once arrangements have been finalized. Condolences may be forwarded by visiting our website at
If friends so desire, memorial tributes in Shirley’s name may be made directly to the Alzheimer’s Society, 40, 1202 – 2 Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 0E3 (
Arrangements in care of Southland Funeral Chapel, Taber. Telephone: (403) 223-8778.

CONN, Gayle

GAYLE CONN 1946 – 2024 It is with immense sadness that we share the passing of our dear wife, mama, grandma, sister, auntie, and friend. Gayle passed away peacefully on March 30, 2024 with her family by her side.
A Memorial Service will be held at 10:00 am, on Saturday, April 6, 2024, at MARTIN BROTHERS RIVERVIEW CHAPEL, 610 – 4 STREET South, Lethbridge, Alberta.
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CAROLE COLWILL 1938 – 2024 Carole Zena Colwill of Lethbridge, beloved wife of Les Colwill, passed away at Good Samaritans Park Meadows, on Sunday, March 31, 2024, at the age of 85 years, surrounded by her children.
On June 9, 1961, Carole married the love of her life Les Colwill in Shelby, Montana. A year and a half later, along came Diane, and two years later Brian. Carole worked at 1090 CHEC Radio until Brian’s birth in 1964, took some time away and returned when Brian started school. After a brief time with CJOC Radio she returned to 1090 CHEC Radio and was the copy editor of the advertising department until her retirement in 1997. She loved her job and all of her wonderful co-workers.
Carole’s love in life was her family and friends and she always put them before herself. Everyone that knew her loved her.
Gardening, basketball, golf, and volunteering were some of her life enjoyments as well as baking and cooking for all of the family. Christmas was very special for the Colwill family. We will miss her infectious smile and unconditional love.
Carole is survived by her loving husband Les; her children Diane Colwill, Brian (Sherry) Colwill; granddaughters Zena Danielle Colwill, Sydney (Kelsey) Teneycke and great granddaughter Peyton Teneycke.
Carole was predeceased by her father and mother, Nicholas and Zena Ponech; brother Garry Ponech and sister-in-law Karen Ponech
As per Carole’s wishes, a private service will be held.
For those who wish, memorable donations may be made in Carole’s name to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation at
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MCLEOD, Roderick John

McLeod, Roderick John 1936 – 2024 Roderick John McLeod was born in Vancouver General Hospital August 15, 1936, to John Edward (Jock) McLeod and Kathleen Hutton McLeod. Dad was raised in Giscombe, BC with his four sisters Vera, Norma, Jean and Diane. There wasn’t a high school in Giscombe, so Dad traveled to Prince George where he lived in a dormitory that originally was a WW2 barracks, complete with army bunkbeds, and the issued army blankets and pillows. While in high school he joined the Rocky Mountain Rangers. After graduating he joined the Royal Canadian Airforce 1956-1964. One of his postings was in Alsace Loraine, France where he spent time getting in trouble with his cousin, Don McLeod. Shortly after returning to Canada, he met Ethel May Gill, and they were married in August 1960.
The family started with Roderick, followed by his five sisters Norma (Rori), Flora, Kathleen, Jean and Una. Dad volunteered for the Salmon Arm Rocky Mountain Rangers & BC Dragoon Cadets in Vernon. He also was an instructor at the Vernon Arm Cadet Camp. Salmon Arm was home for many years until Dad moved to Vernon, BC.
Dad became a jack-of-all trades and over the next 40 years met a wonderful and supportive group of friends. One of his favourite jobs was working in Atlin, BC mining for gold. He once found a 79-ounce gold nugget. It was an easy decision when asked by Una to move to Diamond City to be near his grandchildren. Dad who loves to tell stories and enjoys a good laugh would often say that he was in Diamond City for a week before Una moved to Lethbridge. Dad later moved to Lethbridge and found his forever home and connected with his Metis Culture. Dad has been a Metis Elder for Local 2003 since 1998 to present. Over the years dad has gone to public schools, Lethbridge University, Bold Eagles camp, and community events with his large display of Metis artifacts to share his knowledge. He sat on several boards with include Aboriginal Housing Society, Sik-oki-toki Friendship Centre, SHIA (Social Housing in Action), Opakassin Early Intervention Society, and Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge.
At the age of 66, Dad gained his diploma for Child and Youth Care from the Lethbridge college. A life-long learner Dad continued to take courses to increase his knowledge as a child and youth worker and on Indigenous cultures. He worked for Family Ties association for 12 years where he worked on providing experience opportunities such as camping, horseback riding, hiking, skiing, and snowshoeing. He also worked for Southern Alberta Community Living Association. During this time, he met Johnny Wolf-Child (Meatface). John lived with dad since he was 12 years old,and it wasn’t long before John became part of the McLeod family. Dad and John had many adventures including travels to promote Metis learning and culture, and family trips to Mexico with Una and Roderick.
Dad had just completed a series of presentations at public schools and at the University of Lethbridge in October. Since that time our family has been honoured to learn of how Dad was a big part of expanding the Metis Local 2003; we were also touched to learn how he made significant differences in peoples’ lives especially teens and young adults. Our family would like to thank all the people who came to visit in the hospital and then palliative care (and even do a jig and play the fiddle), the members of the Metis Local 2003,Monique Giroux, Jim Short and family, the compassionate doctors and nurses at Chinook Hospital, the amazing team at St. Michael’s Palliative Care, the compassionate doctors and nurses at Chinook hospital, and the welcoming community of Lethbridge.
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DASH, Marlene

MARLENE DASH 1937 – 2024 Mrs. Marlene Dash, of Lethbridge, beloved wife of the late Mr. Stanley Dash, passed away at Chinook Regional Hospital on Monday, March 18, 2024, at the age of 86 years.
Family and friends are invited to a Memorial Service that will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday April 6th, 2024, at MARTIN BROTHERS RIVERVIEW CHAPEL, 610 4 STREET SOUTH, Lethbridge, Alberta. Marlene’s favorite colour was blue, share your love by wearing blue on this day. In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to a local charity of your choosing in Marlene’s name.
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HURT, Carol

CAROL HURT 1947 ~ 2024 Mrs. Carol Hurt of Lethbridge, beloved wife of Blair Hurt, passed away at St. Micheal’s Palliative Care on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at the age of 76 years.
Cremation has been entrusted to Martin Brothers.
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SILLITO, Phillip Grant

PHILLIP GRANT SILLITO 1967 – 2024 Phillip Grant Sillito passed away at his home in Raymond on Saturday, March 30, 2024, at the age of 57 years.
A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00 pm, on Monday, April 8, 2024, at the KNIGHT STREET CHAPEL, 260 East 200 North, Raymond, Alberta, with. Bishop Richard Haynes, officiating.
Interment will follow at the Magrath Alberta Cemetery.
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ALAN GRAHAM “Come honey bee, with thy busy hum, to fragrant blooms of apple come…
Ah, sip their essence of sweet spring, and to their hearts thy soft touch bring.”
-Emma Hope
On Feb.16, 2024, at 103.5 years of age, the extraordinary life of Alan Graham came to a peaceful end.
Dad will be forever missed by Dick and Joanne leMaistre of Winnipeg; Jeanie Weikle of Airdrie; Margot and Terry Mack of Regina; four grandchildren Janice (Grant), Patrick (Pamela), Alicia (Chad), Graham (Renee) and five great grandchildren Jack, Isla, Wyatt, Jake and Alexander. Dad also leaves nephew John of Florida; sister-in-law Doreen of Virginia Beach and her family, as well as Cousin Jane’s family in Wisconsin. We thank Dad’s “village of friends”, near and far, for their loyalty and support to Dad, over these many years.
Dad’s extraordinary life was supported and made complete for 54 years, with our mom Jintie, who passed away in 1998. Love came again for Dad with Elva Buchanan, (Bev, Rolly & Fran, and their families) until Elva’s passing in 2017. Before flying “solo” at 101.5 Dad once again called Coaldale home, sharing happy times with Ida Brett (and her family). Dad divided his last years within the senior communities of The View and Buffalo Grace Manor in Lethbridge.
Just a wee lad of 2 years, Dad emigrated from England to Canada in 1922 with his mother Nellie and big brother Bob. Reuniting with his father William and his Uncle Jack, the Grahams settled just a half mile west of Coaldale; making it not only their family home, but the founding cell of the honey business: W & J Graham Commercial Honey. He attended school in Coaldale up to grade eleven; completing grade 12 at Mount Royal College in Calgary. Back for a second year, Dad also enrolled in the Airforce Officer’s training program. Medical issues prevented him from flying, and with the honey farm back at home, he was honorably discharged and directed to return to Coaldale for the duration of the war and help keep the honey farm fully operational.
A family business from the very start, Dad continued the legacy of commercial beekeeping. Much like his father before him, Dad was instrumental in change and a major contributor to the development of the beekeeping industry. He served as President of the Southern Alberta Beekeepers Association, the Alberta Beekeepers Association, and the Canadian Beekeepers Council and was a founding Director of the Alberta Honey Producers Co-operative. Awarded the title of Master Beekeeper of Alberta in 1961, Dad was also awarded a Lifetime Membership to the Honey Cooperative in 2015. He wound down his commercial apiary career in 1975, having reached an operation of 2000 hives, and sold to long-time friend and employee Doug McCann. He remained in the Pink House in Coaldale, working as a Real Estate Agent for a good many years with ….. “just a few hives” on the side!! No surprise then, after retiring from real estate, that Dad was recruited by Plant Genetics Systems to become their Hive Inspector. He served in that role until he was 85.
Dad believed in the value of civic duty and giving back to your community and country. To that end he wore many hats over the years; notably as Mayor of Coaldale from 1953-57, again from 1962-67 and for the third time from 1998 – 2001. In addition, he was a founding member of the Coaldale Kinsmen Club; a long time Board Member of the United Church and instrumental in the establishment of the Coaldale Library. Dad was honoured to be awarded with the Coaldale Citizen of the Year award in 1994. A proud Canadian, he again felt there was value in being an active citizen and so served for 2 terms (six years) as Chairperson for the Board of Referees under the Minister of Employment and Immigration. Dad also joined the Liberal Party, playing an active role for many years within the S. A. Liberal Association.
Humble at the core, Dad approached life with humour, kindness and a generous spirit. He was a gentle man who lived with purpose and steadfast commitment to his family, friends, colleagues and community. At his 100th birthday he was quoted as saying: “You get out of this world what you put into it and right now I feel I’m quite satisfied by my life”. One can’t add much more to that. Cheers Dad!!
A gathering will be held Saturday, April 13 at 2 p.m. in the Atrium of the Coaldale Civic Square Main Street, Coaldale
Dad’s passion for bees remained undiminished and so we ask, in lieu of flowers, that you consider planting a bee friendly pollinator in your yard (or pots) allowing the bees to “continue their buzz”;
or with remembrances through a charity of your choice.

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HERBST We are sad to announce the peaceful passing of JANET IRENE HERBST, on Monday, April 1, 2024 at the age of 83 years, after a brief but courageous and gracious battle with cancer.
Janet will be forever remembered by her daughter Sandra, (Les) Hala, and son, Glen Herbst; two loving grandchildren, Julieanne Hala and Ryan (Julia Tumato) Hala; and one great-granddaughter and the light of her life, Amelia Hala-Tumato. Also survived by her sister Margaret Stromsmoe, her brother Earl (Marilyn) Neilson. Sister-in-laws Lyla Herbst, Melody Herbst, brother-in-law Robert (Charlotte) Herbst.
She was predeceased by her loving husband, Edward Herbst; parents, Alfred and Petra Neilson; in-laws, John and Gladys Herbst; brothers-in-law: Frank, Charles and Aubrey Herbst; and two sisters-in-law, Dolores Heather and Agnes Heringer.
Janet was a very kind, gentle, genuine and loving person. She loved her family and always enjoyed visits with family and her extended family of friends.
A Celebration of Janet’s Life will be held at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME, 2825 – 32 Street South, Lethbridge, AB, on Monday, April 8, 2024 at 1:00 P.M. with Reid Hollander officiating. The Celebration of Life will be live-streamed and may be viewed through Janet’s obituary on the Cornerstone website.
Janet will be laid to rest with her husband Edward in a private Family Graveside Service.
Flowers are gratefully appreciated. In memory of Janet, donations may be made to St. Michael’s Health Centre – Palliative Care Unit, 1400 – 9 Avenue South, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 4V5.

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RED CROW, Seantae

RED CROW SEANTAE JANAESHA FLORA RED CROW, of Stand Off, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, March 30, 2024 at the age of 22 years.
A Wake will be held at SENATOR GLADSTONE HALL, Blood Reserve, AB, on Monday, April 8, 2024 from 5:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.
A Funeral Service will be held at SENATOR GLADSTONE HALL, on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 at 11:00 A.M. with Cally Eagle Tail Feathers officiating.
Following the Funeral Service, Seantae will be laid to rest in the Blood Band Cemetery.
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Dr. Lena Heavy Shields Russell
Ikkináínihki ~ Gentle Singer
October 5, 1933 ~ March 29, 2024


“As a young girl leaving home to further my education, learning languages foreign to me (English and French), I never realized one day my work would serve as a foundation for the preservation of the Blackfoot language. I am grateful to, and acknowledge, my late husband James, my parents and ancestors, my wonderful children, their spouses, my grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, my many adopted children and, of course, my siblings. I was blessed with a good, long life and I remain ever hopeful that our cultural and contemporary teachings will preserve our language and contribute to the strength and growth of the Blackfoot people.”
Lena Heavy Shields-Russell (Ikkináínihki) is an Elder, author, teacher and translator dedicated to preserving the Blackfoot language. She created Alberta’s first Blackfoot curriculum, which is still used today. Her love of language, teaching and Indigenous culture have inspired countless Blackfoot people to build a deeper connection with their heritage.
Lena Heavy Shields was born October 5, 1933, at the Blood Indian Hospital in Cardston, Alberta. She was the first of 13 children for Eddie Sr. and Adelaide Heavy Shields, members of the Kainai First Nation and descendants of Chief Heavy Shield, who was present at the making of Treaty 7 in 1877. Lena’s mother stayed at home to take care of the growing family, while her father worked as a manager and rancher on the Blood Band ranch.
A Kainai Elder gave Lena the Blackfoot name Ikkináínihki, which means “Gentle Singer.” From an early age, she was immersed in the rhythmic imagery of oral tales and grew up listening to her paternal grandmother, Kate Spotted Eagle-Three Persons, and other family Elders as they told stories purely in Blackfoot, sparking an early respect for the power of language. Her parents, strong believers in the value of hard work, instilled in her a fierce ambition to succeed and a life-long streak of perfectionism.
Lena brought those traits with her when she began her education at St. Mary’s Residential School on the Blood Reserve, which she attended until the end of Grade 8. Always achieving the highest marks in her class, she went on to an all-girls school in Legal. These days were terribly lonely for Lena. She was the only Indigenous student and had to learn French to communicate with her classmates and teachers. But she did more than survive. She thrived. She continued to play the piano she learned while in residential school. She studied hard. Ultimately, Lena and a friend received the highest marks in the Sturgeon School Division for their Grade 9 departmental exams, earning Governor General’s medals for their achievements.
After high school in Pincher Creek, Lena went on to the University of Alberta, where she was once again one of the few Indigenous students on campus. She completed Normal School and qualified as a teacher, returning to St. Mary’s in 1956 to teach.
Meanwhile, Lena’s long-time friendship with James Russell grew into a romantic relationship and the couple married in 1955. Together, they had seven children and co-managed their cattle and ranch operation in the valley named “Where Bald Eagles Nest” on the Blood Reserve. James Sr. passed away in 1993, however, his ranch operation continues through his son James Jr.
As busy as she was at home, Lena’s thirst for learning remained unquenchable. Never one to limit her pursuit of knowledge to the classroom, she pushed herself to expand her skills, engaging with Elders and devoting as much time as she could to developing her talents.
Eventually, Lena would master an incredibly diverse range of creative endeavours from tipi-making, portrait painting and outdoor landscaping, to sewing Jingle dresses and Grass Dance outfits, knitting sweaters, beading and canning all benefitting from a rigorous attention to detail.
She would continue her post-secondary education with the same relentless focus. Rising early to drive the 130 kilometres from the ranch to her eight o’clock classes at the University of Lethbridge, Lena obtained a Bachelor of Education degree in 1977 and a professional diploma in education in 1987.
She spent much of her career on the Blood Reserve, rising to the rank of vice-principal at St. Mary’s. She also taught literacy classes for adults at night school. She particularly enjoyed teaching Elders who shared their own stories in Blackfoot as her grandmother did. Later, Lena taught at Cardston Junior and Senior High School, as well as at the University of Lethbridge and Red Crow Community College, earning a reputation as a gifted educator whose warmth, charm and profound intelligence won over generations of students.
Her genuine enthusiasm for teaching, combined with vivid memories of her grandmother’s stories, led Lena to find her calling safeguarding the Blackfoot language by passing it on to the next generation.
Determined to have Blackfoot recognized officially and used in the school curriculum, Lena became one of the first from her Tribe to begin writing her people’s language, which had remained almost completely oral to that point. She went on to produce 13 books, including Blackfoot Stories of Old, which have become invaluable resources for students and teachers. Lena worked with graphic artist and adopted son William Singer III to ensure her Blackfoot curriculum books would be used as visual and grammatical reference teaching materials for students. She gained particular attention for her ground-breaking Blackfoot translation of John McCrae’s classic World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” which she is often called upon to recite at Remembrance Day ceremonies. Lena’s translation is now housed in Holland, taking its rightful place in a veterans’ museum.
Lena would go on to teach the Blackfoot language and general literacy skills for more than 50 years. Along the way, she partnered with Alberta Education to develop a Blackfoot curriculum for grades 7 to 12, which remains in use today. She is a proud member of the Aitsi’poyiiksi, a group dedicated to preserving the Blackfoot language. Her life’s work has done much to ensure that the Blackfoot have the knowledge they need to sustain this priceless piece of their heritage, now and forever.
Strongly community-minded, Lena has served with a number of organizations in southern Alberta and on the Kainai First Nation. She was a correspondent and board member at Indian News Media, and a member of the Senate Committee at the University of Lethbridge. Lena spent several years on the board at the Ninastako Cultural Centre, helping to transmit Blackfoot language and culture to younger members of her people. She also served as a board member with the Blood Tribe Police Commission, improving relations between law enforcement and the population. Lena regularly hosted Women’s Weekend Wellness tipi retreats and her tipi, which she made herself, was a fixture at sun dances, Indian Day celebrations and family gatherings for many years.
Lena’s achievements have led to her becoming an honoured Elder among the Kainai and an authority whose expertise is recognized around the world. She has received many accolades for her work, including recognition for 30 years of service at St. Mary’s School, the Blackfoot Confederacy Education Conference Lifetime Achievement Award and the Esquao Award from the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Lethbridge in 2006. Lena was inducted as a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2021 and recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal.
Still, Lena is truly defined by the most deeply felt acts of generosity. She was brought up with the Blackfoot belief that help and comfort should be given before they are asked for and she has never failed to live up to that standard. Over the years, Lena has opened her heart and home to kids, adopting so many that even her family can’t keep track of the exact number. She has never hesitated to reach out, once showing up unannounced on the doorstep of a student when she heard he didn’t have appropriate clothing to wear to graduation. Lena took him shopping immediately and then drove him to grad so he could celebrate with everyone else.
This, too, is part of Blackfoot culture, which sees the mother invest everything she has in her children, sewing seeds of love and devotion that will bear fruit in her golden years. Lena’s definition of “her children” has always been broader than everyone else’s, but that’s in keeping with her personality and her long list of accomplishments. Lena continues to reside on the Blood Reserve. She has seven biological children, many traditionally adopted children, 46 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.
She has been a mother to all of the Blackfoot, leading by example, teaching them, protecting them and nurturing their sense of self as they make their way in the world.
Story credit: The Alberta Order of Excellence, Government of Alberta
Please note:
Dr. Lena Heavy Shields made her peaceful transition to the ancestral Sand Hills on March 29, 2024. Her legacy will be remembered and sadly missed. In her memory, the University of Lethbridge will lower their flags to half-mast on the day of her burial in gratitude and respect to Dr. Lena Heavy Shields-Russell recognizing her lifelong dedication and contribution to education, her people and beyond.

A Wake Service will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at Gladstone Hall, Blood Tribe, from 6:00 PM until 11:00 PM.
A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, April 8, 2024, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Blood Tribe, at 11:00 AM.
Following the Funeral Mass, Lena will be laid to rest at the Russell Family Plot – Iitsiksikkihkiniooyoo’pi.
Family and friends are welcome to a feast at Gladstone Hall, following the Graveside Service.


BRUGOS RICK “POPPA” BRUGOS, passed away on Saturday, March 30, 2024 at the age of 74 years.
Rick was born in Mountain Park, Alberta, and soon relocated to Lethbridge when the coal mine closed down. During his youth, he loved spending summers on his grandfather’s farm in Fincastle, Alberta. After completing his post-secondary education at SAIT, he embarked on a career in construction alongside his father and brother at Glen Little Construction. Notable projects included the construction of the McDonald’s on Mayor Magrath Drive and the Legion Fighter Plane. In 1973, he married his cherished wife, Kris, and together they raised two children. In the early 80s, Rick established his own construction company, Brugos Construction, before transitioning to a role as head of the maintenance department with the Holy Spirit School Division. Even after retirement, Rick remained passionate about carpentry and enjoyed woodworking and various projects.
Rick was predeceased by his parents, Joseph and Barbara. He is survived by his devoted wife Kris Brugos, daughter Cathy (Wade) Armstrong, son Kevin (Stephanie) Brugos, beloved grandchildren: Xander Armstrong, Callie Brugos, and Mason Brugos; his brother Joe (Chris) Brugos, and numerous relatives and friends.
Rick was a gentle, outdoors-loving man with a wonderful sense of humour. His favourite pastimes included fishing, hunting, gardening, playing cards, and spending quality time with Kris at their trailer near Glenwood, Alberta. He had a passion for classic cars and dreamed of completing the restoration of his 1970 Cutlass Supreme. He could always be counted on to ensure the family was well-stocked with ice cream, particularly Dairy Queen ice cream cakes. He often insisted that “Poppa should be entitled to the biggest piece.” He will be profoundly missed by his loved ones.
A Graveside Service will take place at MOUNTAIN VIEW CEMETERY, 1210 Scenic Drive South, Lethbridge, AB, on Friday, April 12, 2024, at 11:00 A.M., with Father Santiago Torres officiating.
Following the service, a Memorial Reception will be held at CORNERSTONE FUNERAL HOME, 2825 – 32 Street South, Lethbridge, AB.

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MAMULA, Gabriel

MAMULA February 3, 1945 – March 27, 2024 With heavy hearts the family of GABRIEL “GABBY” MAMULA mourns his peaceful passing into the loving embrace of Jesus.
Predeceased by his son Jason, mother Anna, in-laws Lloyd, Grace Korthuis and brother-in-law Wade. He is survived by his devoted wife and soulmate of 49 years Gaya, children; son Michael (Julie) their children Dylan and Lincoln, daughter Mikaila and her children Tristan and Luca, as well as Jason’s children Bailey, Emma and Syrus. He is also remembered by his siblings; Grace, Mike, Marta, Georgia and their families along with his extensive Korthuis family.
Gabby’s love was boundless. He was truly an exceptional husband, father, grandfather, son, brother and friend. He was a neon sign technician/designer/salesman. He built his 1923 roadster the T-Italia, and refurbished his 1958 Pontiac. Winning many trophies at car shows. He was a builder of many things. He was multi-talented, extremely knowledgeable, humorous, patient and a perfectionist. His spirit and love will endure forever.
“The Gift of God is eternal life of Jesus” (Rom 6:23)
A Celebration of Life will take place July 13, 2024 at 1:00 P.M. at PARK MEADOWS BAPTIST CHURCH 2011 15 Avenue North, Lethbridge, Alberta, with a Reception to follow.

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ARMAND JAMES SEGOUIN 1953 – 2024 Mr. Armand James Segouin of Coaldale, beloved husband of Mrs. Ursel Segouin, passed away on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at the age of 70 years.
Armand was born in Barrie, Ontario on September 9, 1953, to Joseph and Violet Segouin. He enjoyed a long career as a Barber for 25 years in Coaldale, and later in Lethbridge. His fondness of music led him to take on hobbies such as playing the guitar and drums, singing and writing praise songs.
Armand is survived by his wife Ursel; sons Tony (Sheryl), Frank (Adelle) and Paul (Melanie); daughter Beverley (Ryan); nine grandchildren Shaylynd Den Hollander (Michael), Victoria Segouin, Ryley Segouin, Alexa Segouin, Maxwell Segouin, AJ Segouin, Kayley Segouin, Lukas Segouin, and Sharlotte Segouin; niece Theresa, and nephew Jeffrey.
His loving parents predeceased him.
A Celebration of Armand’s Life will be held at 11:00 am, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024, at the JOYFUL HOUSE OF PRAYER CONGREGATION, 336, 13 STREET NORTH, Lethbridge, Alberta.
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SLEMKO PETER SLEMKO, of Lethbridge, AB, beloved husband of Diana, passed away peacefully at Buffalo Grace Manor with his beloved wife Diana and family by his side, on Thursday, April 4, 2024 at the age of 103 years.
Funeral arrangements will be announced once completed.

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HANN, Walter

Walter Allen HANN June 1, 1941 – March 25, 2024 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Walter Hann, who passed away on March 25, 2024, at the age of 82 years.
Walter is survived by his sisters Betty Heppner of Pincher Creek and Isabel (Gordon) Knoch of Lethbridge; his brothers Ron (Mavis) Hann of Pincher Creek, Bill (Bev) Hann of Trenton, ON, and Ken (Lynda) Hann of Fort Macleod; brothers-in-law Marvin Knoch of Nanton, Al Duncan of Raymond, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Walter’s request for no funeral or memorial service will be honoured. His cremation has been entrusted to Eden’s Funeral Home in Fort Macleod.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Alberta Heart and Stroke Foundation.
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Leonard “Len” Fleckenstein 1951- 2024 Leonard “Len” Fleckenstein, beloved husband of Gaye Fleckenstein passed away on January 15, 2024. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, 238 – 2nd Avenue NE Medicine Hat, AB T1A 5Z9, on Friday, April 19th, 2024, at 1:00 pm with Fr. Roque Pereira, Celebrant. After the Funeral Mass, a reception will follow in the Church Hall. Although the gesture is appreciated, flowers are gratefully declined. Condolences may be sent through or to subject heading Leonard Fleckenstein. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to SAAMIS MEMORIAL FUNERAL CHAPEL AND CREMATORIUM, “The Chapel in the Park”, Medicine Hat, Alberta. Should you wish any additional information, please telephone 1-800-317-2647.

WEISS, Mary Ann

WEISS MARY ANN WEISS, of Raymond, beloved wife of Ken Weiss, and cherished mother to Marian, Jacinda, and Johnathan, passed away peacefully at the Raymond Health Centre, on Thursday, April 4, 2024 at the age of 76 years.
Funeral arrangements will be announced once completed.

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KORTHUIS BERDENA CATHERINE KORTHUIS (nee Vos), of Lethbridge, AB, beloved wife of Hank Korthuis, was called home suddenly, by her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at the age of 70 years.
Left to cherish her memory, is her husband, Hank, of 47 years; her two children, Joshua (Sharon) Korthuis; and Suzanne (Craig) DeGroot; as well as her grandchildren: Miah, Kaylee, Kaden, Davin and Anaya; her siblings: Randy (Grace) Vos; Wally (Denise) Vos; Marlene (Siebe) Bruinsma; Ellen (Albert) Hummel; and Jerry (Allison) Vos; as well as her extensive Korthuis family; Gaya Mamula, Klaas (Conny) Korthuis, John (Sandy) Korthuis, Harry (Sherry) Korthuis, Bob (Sandra) Korthuis, Grace Korthuis and their families.
Berdena’s faith, trust and hope in the Lord, served as an example to her family, and others who knew her. The Lord has been her Sustainer and Provider throughout the challenges of her life. Her smile was beautiful, and she was dearly loved and will be greatly missed. We take comfort knowing that Berdena is now perfectly healthy and with Jesus.
A Funeral Service will be held at TRINITY REFORMED CHURCH, 1100 – 40 Avenue North, Lethbridge, AB, on Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 11:00 A.M. with Rev. John van Eyk officiating. The Funeral Service will be live-streamed and may be viewed either through Berdena’s obituary on the Cornerstone website or by using the following link.

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GABRUCK, Kenneth

KEN GABRUCK 1951 ~ 2024 Mr. Kenneth “Ken” Gabruck of Lethbridge passed away after a brief illness on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at the age of 72 years.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
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