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FAYRE HEATHER RUSSENHOLT
February 28th, 1941 – September 26th, 2023
With sad hearts, but fond memories, we announce Fayre’s peaceful passing at the age of 82 at Golden West Centennial Lodge on September 26th, 2023.
Fayre has been reunited with her husband of 60 years (Champ), parents (Mary and Robert), brother (Bob), sisters-in-law (Lynne and Shirley), and brother-in-law (Don). She is survived by sons Jeff (Vicki), Ben (Jackie), and Drew (Angela), grandchildren Elliott, Jaxon, and A.J., brother-in-law Ben, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Fayre Heather Fleming was named after the heroine in one of her mother's magazines. She was born on February 28th, 1941, to Mary (McLean) and Sergeant Robert Fleming of the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. As a child, she lived on St. Catherine Street, Rosewood Place, and Roslyn Road, attending King George V School for Grades 1–3, Nordale School for Grades 4–6, Queen Elizabeth School for Grades 7–9, and Norwood Collegiate (which changed to Nelson McIntyre Collegiate in her last year of school) for Grades 10 and 11.
Fayre’s life was shaped by the loss of her father in the Dieppe Raid when she was just one year old, a tragedy that led her to assume many household responsibilities at a very early age. This adversity forged Mom into a strong-willed, determined, and compassionate individual who always finished what she started.
As she got older, Fayre enjoyed practicing piano, shopping downtown, attending canteen dances, ice skating, and roller skating. Her love of reading was nurtured through the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew books. She participated in Job's Daughters (serving as Honoured Queen), the Drill Team, and the Order of the Eastern Star while working at Toyland at the downtown Eaton's on weekends.
Fayre met Champ when she was 16 (and he 23) at a wiener roast at Happy Acres Farm in Headingley. Champ was so taken by her that he phoned every Fleming in the phone book twice to track her down.
Married at Norwood United Church on July 9th, 1960, Fayre and Champ spent the first five years of their marriage on the Russenholt family’s Happy Acres property in Headingley. A work transfer then took them to Virden and Dauphin. During this time, their family grew with the arrivals of Jeff, Ben, and Andrew. In 1973, Champ was transferred to Manitoba Pool Elevator’s Winnipeg office, and the family moved to their long-term home on Lodge Avenue in Silver Heights. Family traditions there included all-togethers, Sunday roast beef dinners, an annual Christmas open house, and tourtière pie on Christmas Eve.
With her youngest reaching the age of 12, Mom took a part-time position in the Lingerie Department at Eaton's Polo Park. She met and worked with some remarkable people who remained friends for the rest of her life. At the age of 47, she went to Sturgeon Creek Collegiate to complete her Grade 12 education, after which she accepted a position at Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) on Kenaston Boulevard, working for the Commanding Officer. The soldiers held Fayre in high regard, referring to her as “Mom” and even including her in “beer call” on Friday afternoons. She cherished her time at the base and made several enduring friendships.
Throughout the years, Fayre consistently dedicated her time, delicately balancing her responsibilities at home and her commitment to the greater community. She was part of the Dauphin Horticultural Society, President of the St. John’s Ravenscourt Ladies’ Guild, co-chair of the SJR Holy Ball, President of the St. James-Assiniboia Figure Skating Club, President of Silver Heights United Church, Sunday School Superintendent and teacher, Gimli Hospital Auxiliary member, Piece Makers Quilt Group, and Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) Sisterhood associate.
While Mom was not a big traveler, there were several memorable trips over the years, including EXPO ‘86 in Vancouver, Hawaii, Puerto Vallarta, Boca Raton, and winters spent in Arizona.
In her leisure time, Fayre explored her creative side by crafting, knitting, making petit fours, decorating cakes, quilting, painting, and drawing. Cherished family memories were made at Victoria Beach and while sailing in their Tanzer-26 sailboat out of the Gimli Yacht Club. After purchasing lakefront property in Lochwoods Estates on Lake Winnipeg, Fayre, Champ, and the boys invested countless hours designing the cottage, clearing the lot, and creating a dedicated space for crafts and woodworking.
Whether sitting in the screen porch, watching the pelicans, or entertaining friends from Winnipeg and the Interlake, Fayre cherished moments at the cottage. She was a fierce card player and never turned down an opportunity to play with friends or family.
Upon selling the cottage in 2011, Champ and Fayre moved to Agape Villa in Winnipeg. There, they made many new friends and enjoyed taking part in casino trips and morning coffee gatherings. In 2017, Mom and Dad moved to Dakota House, where Fayre enjoyed the daily activities, entertainment, visits to the salon, and weekly trips to her Day Program. Subsequently, Fayre relocated to Riverside Lions Supportive Living in 2019 before moving to Golden West Centennial Lodge.
Our Mom had a fondness for the color blue, sweet peas, tea sandwiches, the novel “The Thorn Birds,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” Barry Manilow, and Neil Diamond. She had a sweet tooth, and in her 82 years never said “no” to a candy.
Spending time with her family was a priority for Mom. She loved her boys unconditionally and treasured every minute she could be “Nanny” to Elliott, Jaxon, and A.J.. We will all be forever grateful for her guidance, love, and support.
The family would like to thank the Dakota House, Riverside Lions, and Golden West Centennial Lodge staff for their compassionate care. Special thanks must also go to Gail for her companionship during Fayre’s dementia journey.
A celebration of Fayre’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, October 16th, 2023 at Charleswood United Church (4820 Roblin Boulevard).
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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