Debbie Letniak was born to Franz and Doris Siemsen on Sept. 23, 1952 in Sandpoint, ID. Two years later she was joined by a sister Patti, and when Debbie was nine and 12 years old, Don and Dave entered and completed the family.
As the eldest, Debbie was most often the leader and kept the children going from adventure to adventure.
Debbie went to Sandpoint Jr. Academy, then attended Upper Columbia Academy from 1968-1970 after which she left home to attend Walla Walla College in College Place, WA. She pursued a degree in education.
Debbie was a student missionary in Sierra Leone, Africa from ’72-73. She came back to Walla Walla and finished her teaching degree where she met the love of her life, Lawrence Letniak. On June 29, 1975 the couple exchanged vows in Sandpoint, ID.
Adventure and challenges never deterred Debbie and the newly-weds began their first year of married life in Zimbabwe, Africa where they both taught school.
After their year of missions was over, they came back to the Alberta prairie lands, where she embraced farm life with the same vim and vigor that she did everything.
She taught at Veteran School from ’76-82. On March 9, 1981 Debbie and Lawrence welcomed Ryan Lawrence and 23 months later, on Feb. 11, Jodi Aline was born.
When it came time for the children to go to school it only seemed natural that Debbie would teach them at least for the first few formative years.
In 1991 she returned to the workforce and spread her joy and enthusiasm for education throughout the community.
She worked at various schools in the community as a teacher and speech therapist assistant.
In January 2009 she became the principal of Veteran School. She was a dynamic, passionate, and energetic educator and administrator.
Throughout her life Debbie served her church, community and educational system on several boards and committees. She always looked at the needs of the children as her foremost concern.
Mamawi Atosketan Native School in Ponoka, Ab. was close to her heart. She raised funds, served on the board and brought in motivational speakers for the students.
She retired from teaching in July of 2015 in a conscious effort to spend her time with family and friends. At her core, she loved adventure and enjoyed including others.
The last 18 months were challenging and emotional as she fought against a glioblastoma but Debbie drew strength from her Creator.
Debbie’s zest and zeal for life didn’t stop with her diagnosis. You never found her disheartened or discouraged. She filled her life with positivity and thankfulness. Family and friends drew closer than ever. Love and support never wavered.
She was a friend of Jesus, our Saviour, so she lived and died with the promise that she would be part of the resurrection when Jesus comes again. We can’t wait to see her again.
Debbie Letniak is survived by her loving husband Lawrence Letniak, son Ryan (Trina) Letniak of Edmonton, Ab., daughter Jodi (Marvin) Primero and grandchildren Chloe (6) and Braden (4) of Burleson, TX.
One sister Patti (Steve) Schultz of Post Falls, ID; brothers, Don (Cyndie) Siemsen of Tillamook, OR and Dave (Sue) Siemsen of Newport, WA. ; brother-in-law Ron (Connie) Letniak of Consort, Ab.; sisters-in-law Darlene (Paul) Karmy of Burleson, TX and Ellen (Bob) Bell of Lacombe, Ab.
She is also survived by 10 nephews and six nieces.
She was preceded in death by her parents Franz and Doris Siemsen and parents-in-law James and Marie Letniak.
Card of Thanks
The Letniak family would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who have shared comfort and encouragement with us during this time of loss.
A Memorial Service to honour Debbie was held on Sat. Jan. 27, 2018 at the Full Gospel Church, Veteran, Ab. at 2 p.m. Lunch followed immediately after the service at the Veteran Community Hall.
The Interment took place at Lake Road Cemetery, Consort, Ab. Memorial donations can be made to Mamawi Atosketan Native School in Ponoka, Ab. or to STARS.
Heather Caseley, Funeral Director of Coronation Funeral Home, Box 358, Coronation, Alberta T0C 1C0 was entrusted with the care and funeral arrangements. Condolences can be forwarded to the family by visiting our website at www.coronationfuneralhome.ca. 403-578-2928