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August 22, 1935 – October 22, 2023
It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our Mom and Grandmother Shirley with her grandson Tyler at her side.
Mom was born on August 22, 1935 to Frances (née Cyncora) and John McIntosh.
Her parents separated when Mom was three, and she and her Mom went to live on Charlie Morrison’s ranch where her Mom had the position of a cook.
Mom was the only child on that ranch and said that she loved all the attention that she received.
She said that she became “a spoiled brat.”
About six years later, Frances’ parents died within 3 months of each other. Frances was the eldest of 14 children. Her young, orphaned brothers and sisters needed her, so Frances had to quit her job and move to Eastdale to look after them. Mom went from being an only child to one of 5 children. She wasn’t even the youngest as her Uncle Benny was younger than her.
They had to work very hard tending the large gardens, looking after cattle, gathering eggs from the chickens, canning & preserving food, and bringing in wood for the winter. Almost all clothing had to be sewn. Life was hard but it taught them how to be strong and self sufficient.
Mom did very well in school, skipping a grade and graduating a year early. She wanted to become a nurse but her Mom and her stepdad would not allow it. Mom went to work at Revenue Canada where she became a valued and promoted employee.
She had met our Dad, Nick Sereda, who was a cousin of one of Moms friends. They married when Mom was 17. She left her job and moved to an old farmhouse near by their families. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, and a wood burning stove for heat.
They became parents 2 years later when their daughter Pat was born. Their family grew to include 2 more girls and a boy. Kathy, Sally, and David. During this time, they bought Nick’s parent’s farm, where they co-existed with both families sharing the same yard. This provided the children with the unique opportunity to see their grandparents every single day while growing up.
Then tragedy struck. Nick died suddenly and unexpectedly. At the age of 30 Mom became a widow with 4 children - the youngest being only 16 days old.
Mom went to work in the lamp department at Woolco. She drove approximately 44 miles round trip each workday. Through good and organized work skills, she became the manager of the lamp department. Life was still very hard but she never let us kids know. It is only when we became adults that I think that we came to realize how hard she worked, how tired she must have been. We had a huge canning room, and Mom filled it with pickles, vegetables, fruit. Even the chickens weren’t safe with Mom around.
She eventually quit her job at Woolco because she has secured a position as a school bus driver for the Transcona Springfield School Division. She loved that job! She took great delight in decorating her bus and giving her children/passengers little treats at Halloween, Christmas, etc. She said that in all the years she drove the bus she never wrote a bad behaviour report on any child. She talked to them and “we always worked it out.”
She started dating fellow bus driver and down the road neighbour Ted Kula. After 13 years as a widow Mom was once again a bride. They built a house and started a small farm. Mom still drove the bus and also took on the job of a home care worker.
She used to sew our children’s Halloween costumes (Ninja turtles anyone?) Birthday cakes were a work of art. Mom was also generous in welcoming our children to her farm and would take them to Anola for ice cream and drinks as soon as we were out of sight.
If there was a gathering, she always contributed more than her fair share. She was always troubled when her home care clients might be hungry or neglected. She was always bringing food to those who she felt were neglected by their families.
What a schedule she kept!!!
Then tragedy struck again.
After 18 years of marriage, Teddy died unexpectedly and Mom was once again on her own!!!
About a year later she moved into the Summerland complex on University Crescent.
There was a senior’s component to the building.
There was a senior’s lounge, a chapel, a dining/ gathering area in the coffee room, a pool and more. Mom soon got to know everyone, and everyone got to know her. There was a lot of fun and good enduring friendships that came from those times.
Our mom enjoyed travelling, and a few of the places she visited were Hawaii, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto and different parts of British Columbia.
In 2012 Mom was diagnosed with cancer. She was unable to tolerate chemo and radiation.
She was told to get her affairs in order. She said “not ready to go yet.”
And so began a cancer journey that lasted 11 years.
Mom had so many health problems, but you would never know it. She rarely ever acted ill. There was very little in her demeanor that spoke of illness. Even when she was legally blind, she still maneuvered around the apartment building that she lived in. I don’t think that many people knew how bad her sight was. Mom loved to read, and we had hoped that she would have had the opportunity in retirement to do some much anticipated reading. Not only could she no longer read; she could now no longer drive. It must have affected her deeply but she said “What can you do!”
Mom fell and broke her hip. She was operated on and then sent to Deer Lodge for rehabilitation. She was making progress towards walking again. Then covid struck the ward that she was on. The residents were kept in their rooms for about a month. Mom caught Covid and survived, but she never was able to walk unassisted again.
She had a short term stay at River East Nursing Home until she got a placement at Holy Family Nursing Home. There were many programs that involved music and she would tap her feet and sometimes sing along. When her son in law Ron would visit, he would play some of her favorite sings. She was always happy when hearing music. She also liked the petting zoos that Holy Family Nursing would have. She loved the animals…. She always had pets on the farm (cats, dogs, and the occasional rabbit and birds).
She enjoyed the staff at Holy Family and thought highly of most of the aides and the nurses. At this time the family would like to give a special thanks to the activity director Myroslava Coniec for her dedicated, creative and much needed hard work for making life better for the residents.
Mom leaves behind her 4 children; Pat Stecy (Ron), Sally Anderson (Stan), Kathy Sereda (William Jackson), Dave Sereda (Bev). Grandchildren Tyler, Kurtis (Marie), Christopher, Kylie (Shaun) Nicholas, Allison, Brad, and Derrick. She also leaves behind 4 great grand children.
The family gives thanks for the life of Shirley.
Shirley’s family kindly requests that all of her friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour her memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
Mom’s funeral service will be held at 10:00 am, on November 18, 2023, at St. Peter and Paul Church, 390 Marion Street.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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