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LYNN (MERRILYNNE) BJORNSON
It is with deep sadness we announce the passing of Lynn (Merrilynne) Bjornson at the age of 68. After a recurrence of cancer, Lynn courageously accepted the challenge and was determined to survive. However, despite her best efforts, it was not to be… She passed peacefully on June 24, with family by her side.
Lynn was born in Arborg on a spring day in May, and grew up on the family farm in Framnes. As the eldest of five she was often the caregiver for her siblings. She loved growing up on the farm and regaled friends and family with many tales and reminiscences about her early years. Stories about her mischievous brothers, picking berries with her sister and mother, fun with her cousins, riding her horse Frosty, stripping bark off rail fencing, and many summer afternoons spent swimming in the creek nearby.
After finishing high school in Arborg, Lynn moved to Winnipeg to pursue a career in microbiology and worked as the quality control person at a local dairy. As a result, she developed an educated palate, especially for ice cream and milk. She was our go-to expert for anything dairy! She bought her first house and renovated it from top to bottom with her brothers’ helping hands. When she eventually sold her home, she travelled to the US to pursue training in massage therapy, returning home to begin working in this field. Her interests in physical therapies eventually led to her returning to school in her early 30’s to complete the Bachelor of Physical Rehabilitation program at the U of M.
During her university years, Lynn met Julie in their chemistry course at the U of M. This began a long and loving relationship which lasted 33 years. After 20 years together they were married in 2010 and spent many years enjoying travels, time at the cottage, renovating their home, and sharing each other’s company. Lynn and Julie shared many common values and goals in life. Lynn loved and cherished Julie beyond measure.
She spent most of her physiotherapy career at Riverview Health Centre, working with geriatric and chronic care patients. She was well liked by everyone at her workplace. Lynn’s strength was in relating to her patients, and paperwork was often relegated to evenings or weekends. After a successful and fulfilling career, she retired to work full-time on her garden, home, and cottage. She loved entertaining and caring for their two dogs, Hailey and Shilo, and they in turn adored her. Although Lynn was retired, Julie continued working for a few more years. Whether it was making meals or managing the household, Lynn was as supportive as she could be.
She treasured her garden, and loved planting and harvesting her herbs and vegetables. She did everything from canning to carpentry. She made herself available to help friends and family with jobs around their house, special projects and plenty of advice. She loved her home, and took great pride in maintaining it, and her tool collection would rival that of any home improvement store. She was well known for having the cleanest sidewalk in the winter, and the tidiest gardens in the summer! She believed that whatever you do in life you do to the best of your ability and take pride in your work.
She was known for her attention to detail (sometimes to the annoyance of others!), wanting things to be done to her high standards. This created difficulties, especially in time management. Friends and family often teased Lynn that she was operating in a different time zone because she was usually late for everything!
Lynn was a superb cook and shared her culinary expertise with everyone. She and her sister were often in cahoots, picking berries and fruit, and trying different preserve recipes. This often led to urgent phone calls about fruit choices, pectin and techniques on how to make clear jellies. She made delicious jams and jellies, and much to their delight, friends, neighbours, workers, and pretty much anyone who dropped by would receive a jar.
Everyone knew Lynn to be selfless, kind, and caring. She was always thoughtful of others, respectful, patient, and was unconditional in her love for her family, friends and animals. One of Lynn’s greatest gifts was that she made everyone feel important, and gave you her undivided attention. This gift was especially meaningful to the children in her life.
She was predeceased by her parents, Runa and Franklin, grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles, and her precious dog Hailey. Left to cherish her memory are her partner of 33 years, Julie, sister Lee (Ross) Schnell, brothers Raymond (June), Norman (Ivy), and Barry (Therese), nieces Carrie (Neal), Vicki (Jon), Chris (Ardella), Rayma (Chris), Rebecca (Tony), Stephanie (Ryan), and Ryan (Claire), great nephews Jayden (Stephanie), Cole (Nicole) and Zachary, great nieces Micaiah and Kayley, great, great nephews Rowen and Sullivan, and Shilo her dog. It is sometimes said that friends are the family you choose. These lifelong friendships nurtured and enriched Lynn’s life. Friends Sandra, Jean, Lynne, Betty, Don, Leslie, Penina, Martha, Maureen, her Physio brunch group, and the Funchums are just a few of the friends who have supported Lynn and Julie through thick and thin.
Lynn and Julie were grateful for the many family members, friends and neighbours who helped out during this trying period. Their gifts of time, food, help with the house and garden, running errands, and emotional support will be forever appreciated.
Lynn had many stories to tell about her life and adventures. Many were poignant, but many were also humorous and entertaining. We would like to leave you with one such story.
Several years ago, Lynn and Julie hosted a New Year’s Day open house party. Extra food and beverages were stored outside in the car, as the space in the fridge was limited. As the party went on, the fridge was restocked with the supplies from the car. A few weeks after the party, Lynn drove out to her parent’s farm for a visit. On her way back home, just as she was passing the Stony Mountain Penitentiary, Lynn heard a loud explosion. She was showered with what she believed were shards of glass from her back window having been shot out. She immediately ducked down and pulled over onto the shoulder. As she sat there in shock, these shards began to melt and became sticky. She bravely, perhaps foolishly decided to taste one of them. This is when she came to realize that these “shards of glass” were wet ice crystals from an exploding bottle of pop that was left over from the New Year’s open house. One errant bottle had rolled under the driver’s seat, froze, and slowly began to thaw. Just as she passed the penitentiary, it expanded and shattered. Her timing, as usual, was impeccable.
Lynn’s Celebration of Life will take place Thursday, July 13th , at 6 pm, at the Fort Whyte Alive Centre, 1961 McCreary Rd, Winnipeg. A private interment will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, it was Lynn’s wish that donations may be made in her memory to CancerCare Manitoba.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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