Wangsness, Jean Mary
1930 — 1914
Jean Wangsness (Schmidt) was born Oct. 9, 1930, in Coronation. She passed away peacefully on July 29, 2014, at the age of 83, with Winton and all of her daughters at her side. They would have celebrated their 65th anniversary in November.
Jean was the second child of Henry and Emily Schmidt. She grew up in the Talbot area and attended Talbot School.
She and her brother, Henry, rode a horse to school and back every day (probably uphill both ways). She was always a very good student and whenever the teacher had to leave the one-room schoolhouse, Mom was in charge of the students. What a job that must have been!
Mom worked hard all her life. She helped with the milking and hauling water on the stone-boat, as well as doing most of the inside chores whenever Grandma Schmidt was sick. They always had a large garden, as well as an apple orchard, which had to be tended to, and to Grandpa Schmidt’s high standards.
Their only entertainment was playing cards and going to sports days and community dances.
While attending high school in Coronation, she stayed with Granny Whitcom (Schmidt), who lived across the street from the school. It was at this time, during the Second World War, that she became a cadet. After high school, she went to live with Mary and Will Deausy to be their nanny. The Deausys became lifelong friends, visiting and camping with Mom and Dad many times over the years.
Mom and Dad met at a function in Coronation and were married on Nov. 7, 1949. Through this marriage, they were blessed with seven children. Over the last 64 years, they have lived in Coronation, Throne, Duchess, Irvine, Innisfail and Brooks.
Dad and Donnie Paugh were always friends and neighbours, so when Donnie got married to Vi, Dad rode the train out to Nanaimo to be the best man at the wedding. They have also become lifelong friends of Mom and Dad, and they have done a lot of travelling together and camping over the years. Their longest trip was with their motorhomes down to Palm Springs, with Donnie and Vi leading the way and Dad and Mom following as closely behind as possible.
Mom was the “mother of all berry pickers.” When she got into a berry patch, she wouldn’t leave until the last berry was picked. We spent many a week-end picking berries, wishing we were anywhere else.
When we were young, they raised pigs and chickens, as well as having a large garden. There was no freezer at that time, so everything had to be pickled or canned, even the chickens!
Grandma and Grandpa always had a large garden (grandpa, the kids, grandkids and great-grandkids all liked to raid it, and she would just smile!)
She loved to bake pies, tarts, cinnamon buns and even after her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were born, she would always make sure she baked their favourite desserts when she knew they were coming.
She did a lot of knitting, crocheting, sewing and quilting. Everyone in the family has received quilts, doilies and afghans that she has made. She loved reading, working on puzzles and visiting. She always had time for family and friends, whether it was a phone call or a visit.
As mentioned before, Grandma and Grandpa enjoyed camping, whether it was with friends or family. They were always on the go with the “Drifter” mini-home (loved that mini-home, many memories for all of us).
Some summers, the grandkids were fortunate enough to travel along with them on their holidays for a week, spoiled by Grandma and Grandpa.
After retiring, they went on a few bus trips. Some bigger trips they took by bus were to the Canadian east coast and Branson, MO.
Playing cards was another great love of hers. As one of her grandchildren, while playing cards, grandma was always trying to help you out by having a peak at your hand (discreetly).
When Grandma and Grandpa lived in Innisfail, garage sales were their favourite pastime. I’m sure we all got in on a garage sale or two with them. Grandma could always be found in the book section. Grandpa thought he was getting a deal and Grandma would say that he bought another box of junk. Grandma would smile and Grandpa would giggle.
Going for a drive and ice cream was always a treat. If one of the great-grandchildren decided that they didn’t want what they got, grandma would trade with them and everything would be all right.
Grandma always spoiled the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, even when the parents said no.
Jean will always be remembered and loved by her husband, Winton, her daughters Trudy (Gary) Koleyak and their children Michelle (Darrell) Elsbett and Tracie (Brad) Ion; Emily Elliott (Greg) and her children Curtis (Tammy) Elliott, Kim (Chris) Grubisic, and Jody Elliott; Lorrie (Greg) Franz and their children Kevin (Nicole) Franz and Tara (Blake) Brown; Renie (Brian) McAmmond and their children Colin McAmmond and Sheldon (Jenn) McAmmond; Tammie (Lyle) Ebelher and their children Alicia, Temara and Clayton Ebelher.
Rounding out the family are 22 great-grandchildren; Brady and Tori Elsbett, Decker, Jordie and Payton Ion, Courtney, Colby and Ryan Elliott, Cole Elliott and Isaac and Bensen Grubisic, Jayda and Sienna Elliott, Tanner and Jaden Baumgarten and Kaycee Brown, Christopher, Mason and Tristan Franz, Aubrey, Devon and Dillon McAmmond.
Jean will also be mourned by her brothers Henry (Betty) Schmidt, Pete (Alaline) Schmidt, her sister Annette Barnes, her brother’s in-law and many nieces and nephews.
Jean was predeceased by their sons, Ralph 1951, Winton 1959; her parents Henry and Emily Schmidt; her sister, Wilma Glasier; Winton’s parents, Joseph and Anna Wangsness, and all of Winton’s siblings.
Wife, Mom, Grandma, Great-Grandma — she was the soul of our family, she was strong, loving, kind, always made sure that everyone had everything they needed, she was a go-getter, never taking a break until she was satisfied that others were taken care of.
She taught us all a lot and we will never forget it. We know that she will be looking down on all of us always and protecting the future she helped grow.
Grandma will live within us always and forever, through our hearts, stories, memories and our smiles and laughter. Thank you, Grandma, for all the life lessons.
Graveside services were held on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 1 p.m. from the Brooks Cemetery and luncheon at EID Legion, with Rev. Kathleen Jones officiating.
In memory of Jean, if friends desire, memorial tributes may be made to the Brooks and District Health Foundation, Bag 300, Brooks, AB, T1R 1B3. Funeral arrangements are in the care of Smith Funeral Home, Brooks. Condolences may be forwarded through www.sfh.ca; toll free 1-866-362-4652.