September 26, 1926 - November 13, 2018
After a brief illness, Laura passed away peacefully with her family by her side, at the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg.
She was predeceased by her loving husband John in July 2003, her parents Adam and Katherine, sisters Nellie, Julie, Mary, Eleanor, Phyllis and baby Victoria, brothers John, Alph, Zig and Ted.
Laura is survived and will be greatly missed by her children, Daniel (Karen), Debra (Dan) and Duane (Louise); grandchildren, Craig (Melanie), Julia (Jason), Christine, Stephanie and Katherine; great-grandchildren, Nolan, Brooklyn and Abigail, sisters Della, Frances; brother Adam; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Laura was born on September 26, 1926 at their home on 667 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg. She started her education at Faraday School, less than half a block from home. A few years later, the family moved to their farm in Kirkness, Manitoba (near Lockport).
Laura had fond memories of the time spent at the farm, where her father built the “Stone Store”, a general store selling almost everything including gas and oil. As a young girl Laura helped serving gas, checking oil, selling merchandise, keeping books, paying bills, and handling inventory at the store. She was eventually discovered there by Mr. Gray, who was one of the store’s main suppliers. When he learned of the family’s intent to return to the city, he invited Laura to work for him at Gray’s Wholesale in Winnipeg. After a brief time in the stockroom she was moved into the office for clerical duties and was put in charge of the billing department. This job experience lead to a position with H.J. Heinz Co. in charge of the billing department. Laura had an aptitude for math and working with figures.
While she was at Gray’s Wholesale Laura met John Leonhardt through a friend she worked with. Later they married and had 3 children – Daniel, Debra and Duane. Laura was a stay-at-home Mom while the children were young, volunteering as treasurer for her church’s Women’s Auxiliary. When her children were older, she started to work part time at the T. Eaton Co. downtown store.
John had served in the Royal Canadian Air force during WWII and afterwards chose a career in the airline industry with Air Canada working as an aircraft mechanic and maintenance coordinator.
The family made numerous trips to Windsor, ON and the West Coast, and the U.SA. to visit family and friends. They also took a European Vacation with many memorable adventures. In 1970 Air Canada relocated its maintenance base and John was transferred to Montreal. Although they missed the family in Winnipeg, Laura, John and Duane enjoyed living in Montreal. Fortunately, they were able to travel to Winnipeg often.
Once they were settled in Dollard des Ormeaux, QC (a suburb of Montreal) Laura took French language courses and returned to work with Eaton’s Point Claire Store in sales and clerical work. Affectionately referred to as “Mrs. Eatons” by her co-workers, she retired from Eatons at the age of 71, with more than 35 years of service (part time basis) with the company. Shortly after she left, the company went out of business. (Just a coincidence? *ha!*).
Never known to be shy about her political opinions, Laura was involved in protecting English language rights in Quebec. Like all of the Halick women Laura was a good cook and enjoyed entertaining guests. John and Laura always loved when friends and relatives came to visit. “Aunt Laura” was famous for her tours up the mountain in Montreal where she never minded waiting for everyone to catch up.
During their retirement, Laura and John enjoyed traveling and spending time with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, family and friends. John was diagnosed with cancer in 1993; after treatment he had a remission period of 10 good years. In his words, “Laura was the best medical advocate a patient could wish for.” John often said he survived cancer for so long because Laura simply wouldn’t let him die! He passed away a month before his 80th Birthday.
In the fall of 2004, Laura left Montreal to return to her roots and family in Winnipeg. She lived with her son, Dan, and enjoyed many years of planning parties and picnics for family and friends. She attended all venues of music and cultural events in the city and loved to putter around in the garden, producing a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.
Laura enjoyed traveling. She made trips to White Rock, Chilliwack, Montreal, Calgary, Windsor, Toronto, Houston, South Padre Island, Branson, Nashville, Wisconsin, Tampa, Las Vegas, Zephyrhills and Paris - all after she was 80 years old!
Laura enjoyed good health and still had more energy than some younger people. Like her mother before her, she was the best Mom and Granny anyone could ask for. She was very grateful for her wonderful family and friends and thankful for their constant love and support.
Always encouraging, rooting for you and cheering you on, there was no better person to have in your corner. When life turned into a boxing match, she would pick you up, patch you up and get you back out there! She was our safe port in stormy seas and she will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved her.
Our family would like to thank our family in Windsor and Laura’s sisters Della and Frances who rallied together providing excellent care, love and support to our Mother enabling her to come Home. We also want to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at the Metropolitan Hospital in Windsor, Seven Oaks Hospital Emergency in Winnipeg; the Acute Cardiac Care Unit and the Medical/Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the St. Boniface Hospital for their excellent care and compassion.
Mom was an avid supporter of Canada’s public health care system. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, C1026 – 409 Tache Avenue,Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6 or Seven Oaks General Hospital Foundation, 2300 McPhillips Street, Winnipeg, MB R2V 3M3.
Laura’s Celebration of Life was held at 2:30 pm on Friday, November 30, 2018 at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg located at 603 Wellington Crescent in Winnipeg.
Our family would like to extend our thanks to Ethical Death Care for their professional help and guidance.
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