Betty Anne Saruga of Alliance, Alta. passed away unexpectedly on Sept 26, 2021 at the age of 65 years.
Betty is survived by her loving husband Steve of 47 years; daughters Jody (Shane) Klatt, Staci (Shawn) Charbonneau; sons Travis Saruga, Clinton (Lauren) Saruga, as well as 12 grandchildren, Trishanna, Serena and Aleah Klatt, Addison, Rylee and Cole Charbonneau, Jailyn, Eberlee, Bria and Harver Saruga, and Lucas and Gabrielle Saruga.
She is also survived by her mother Adeline Kuefler, five siblings Larry (Sharon) Kuefler, Noreen (Hunter) Armstrong, Iva (Bryan) Hardy, Grant (Elaine) Kuefler, Peggy (Loren) Erion and one sister-in-law Karen Kuefler, as well as numerous close friends and family.
Betty is predeceased by her father Fred Kuefler, brother Gerald Kuefler, and mother and father-in-law George and Rose Saruga.
Betty was born on April 20, 1956 to Fred and Adeline Kuefler.
At a party that her brother Gerald hosted in 1971, she met the love of her life, Steve Saruga.
They married in July 1974 and were blessed with four children that they raised on the farm east of Alliance.
After travelling and working in the States, in 1976 they came back to the area and moved to the Roche homestead east of Alliance.
They had a dream to come back to the Saruga homestead but it was bare land so a house had to be found.
In October 1977 they moved the house into its place.
They slowly built their farm; becoming grain farmers along with having a few cattle and horses.
Mom was a very busy mom.
I remember many times having blankets on the grass for us kids to play on as she worked endlessly in her garden.
We were always close by with any job that needed to be done.
Whether it was sleeping on the floor of the tractor while she was haying, or bouncing on the grain truck seat as she was hauling the grain from the combine.
Mom was a dedicated farm wife and her main focus was always family and friends.
Mom was all about food, food and more food. She is known for her famous buns (Betty’s Buns) and carrot cake. And her onion salad was the best!
In the early 90s, Morrison Petroleum made its home just up the road and for roughly 10 years Mom drove the one mile to work everyday, while still helping Dad and raising kids.
Over the years, grain farmers faded into cattle producers.
As us kids grew up, we all were very active in the Battle River 4-H club.
Mom was very much involved with everything to do with the club. And now as our kids are members with beef projects, you could always count on seeing Mom and Dad in the stands.
We always looked forward to seeing the sparkle in her eye and the excitement she expressed as our girls showed their steers.
Gramma had a big part in helping Jody’s girls pick their steers.
Many walks they did through the calves over the season and Gramma made friends with the steers she felt would be the best choice for the girls.
There was always a supportive hug and encouraging words after the show. And of course, a tearful hug at the end of the sale.
We did many family camping trips.
Lots of mountain hikes no matter the temperature, Calaway Park rides with the grandkids and tons of those moments around the campfire that she was laughing so hard she had to be reminded to breathe.
She was known as the bean bag queen; those boxes always travelled in the box of the truck.
So no matter where our camping adventure took us, a round of bean bags was a must.
In recent years she and Steve took up golf and so many times on a Sunday afternoon you would find them on the greens somewhere around the area with their golf sidekicks, Bill and Roylene Bedson.
Mom took pride in her garden, her baking, her cows, badger trapping, gopher hunting and beating Dad at crib.
She was the score keeper for every card game we ever played and we always joked that she was cheating when she would win.
Within the last five years, Dad and Mom had been recognized twice for all their hard work with their cattle herd.
First was when Canadian Cattleman did an article on them and the benefits of swath grazing in the winter.
Mom was super excited she was being published in a well-known magazine.
The second time was when the Charolais Association voted them the top commercial Charolais breeder.
Two amazing accomplishments that she was so proud of. She so loved those cows.
Grandkids – That’s where she became totally complete.
I remember her saying, “Having kids was great but having grandkids is awesome”.
She said it was a different type of love. She said she felt more relaxed so she felt freer to have fun, be silly and show them a different version of life.
She did things with the grandkids that she never did with us and that’s okay, as now they have a ton of their own memories. And then there were the important things like cooking, working cows and the love of family that she taught all of us.
Our mom was amazing. She was so full of life.
Dad called her an energizer bunny because she always had something on the go.
She truly loved life and all it had to offer. She will be missed.
Friends and family gathered at the Saruga farm for an outdoor Celebration of Life on Oct. 9, led by family friend Brian Chave.
Memorial donations may be made in memory of Betty to STARS. To send or view condolences, please visit feeandsonsfuneralhome.com.
Card of Thanks
We’d like to send a huge thank you to all the EMTs and first responders on scene that day.
The quick response and care that was shown to our family in time of crisis was outstanding.
To our family, friends and community, THANK YOU for your continued support as we remember her and find the path to move forward without our beloved wife, mother and gramma.