October 3, 1926 – September 13, 2020
October 3, 1926 – September 13, 2020
Saying goodbye is so hard, especially when it’s someone who brought such light and joy into people’s lives. Margaret Hazel Fisher of Winnipeg, our Mum, Granny, and GeeGee died at home on Sunday, September 13, 2020 at the remarkable age of 93.
Our family matriarch, Hazel will be enormously missed by her daughter Penny Bryans, her son John Fisher, son-in-law Fred Bryans, daughter-in-law Eva Toth, grandchildren Margaret Bryans, John Bryans, Kate Fisher, Peter Fisher, Jess Koroscil, and great-granddaughter Georgia Grey Koroscil.
Hazel was deeply loved by all of her extended family, nieces and nephews from across the country. She never forgot her cousin in Northern Ireland, maintaining that connection to the end. She left her indelible mark on her chosen family as well, the Sunday Family Dinner crowd.
It would be impossible to mention by name all of the people Hazel loved so dearly, as she created bonds with so many throughout her life. From dear friends and neighbours, to the strangers she loved to casually chat with, she will be sorely missed by all who were lucky enough to experience her charm and warmth.
Hazel was born in Winnipeg on October 3, 1926, to Ike and Madge Penney, followed by siblings Harold and Shirley. Hazel grew up an army brat at the Fort Osborne Barracks, home to the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians). The barracks were a foundational and treasured part of Hazel’s life and she often spoke proudly of the community that she grew up in. It was here that Hazel developed her life-long love affair with men in uniform.
In her 20s, Hazel met and married the man in uniform who was to be the great love of her life, Tom Fisher, an air force pilot. They married in 1947, and had two children, Penny and John, who were the other great loves of her life. Hazel loved her family fiercely and was so proud of the home that she and Tom built together on Erie Bay in Windsor Park. She was of a generation of women for whom homemaking was their vocational calling, and Hazel poured her heart and soul into it.
Besides raising her children and keeping her home, Hazel was always an active community member, becoming the Commissioner of her local division of Girl Guides of Canada, square dancing at “Paws and Taws” at the Winakwa Community Centre, and later after her children were grown, working at a daycare with Tom, and making heart pillows for cardiac patients with the MTS Volunteers.
Granny was a prolific baker and crafter. Her legendary cookbook and recipe cards were lovingly compiled into a single master cookbook by her granddaughter Kate, so that her family could preserve their favourite chocolate chip cookie, Skor cookie, and “pink stuff” recipes. She knit beautiful sweaters, did charming needlepoint and plastic canvas crafts, and for many years knit mittens and toques for Christmas hampers.
In her later years, Hazel loved to watch the student patrols at Ecole Lacerte, down the street from the house on Erie Bay, direct traffic with the precision of a military drill, hearkening back to her own military days in the barracks.
After Tom died, Hazel decided it was time to sell the house and start a new chapter. And in 2006 she took up residence at Dakota House. Hazel established a cherished group of friends with whom she would share meals, play bingo, and laugh and joke endlessly.
One of the great lessons that Hazel gave us was to participate fully in life and to create joy wherever and whenever you can. No matter the difficulties of life. She always had time for a laugh, a chat, and to offer one of the colorful sayings that peppered her speech. You never knew what would come out of her mouth, but it was always with a wink and smile. One of her sayings was “May God bless you and keep you, you’re too expensive for us.” Hazel was a woman who was priceless to her family and we were blessed to have been able to keep her as long as we did.
Our family would like to say a huge thank you to the Dakota House Staff and Homecare Staff, past and present; they looked after Hazel with so much care and love.
In keeping with Hazel’s wishes, cremation has taken place. A private celebration of her life will be held when it is possible to gather. In the meantime, Hazel’s family kindly requests that all of Hazel’s friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos and/or sharing your own memories and stories using the comment section on this page.
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