Enjoyed teaching children all about farming
Neil Allison Sieger passed away on the family farm on May 20, 2015 at the age of 86.
Neil was born October 1, 1928 in Coronation, Ab. to Leo and Josephine Sieger. He lived on the family farm situated in the center of the three communities of Brownfield, Talbot and Silver Heights all his life.
Neil was the youngest of three boys and him and his two brothers, Ronald and Wilfred, worked on the family farm and attended the one room school house called Aberdovy, which was almost four miles from their home.
In his own words Neil recalled: Got to and from school by saddle horse most of the time and after my brothers left school I was on my own. I sure had some good saddle horses to ride. I remember I skied one winter with homemade skis that my dad made. And always remember milking two or three cows in the morning by lantern light in winter in the barn, before jumping on the saddle horse to go to school.
This was the routine for Neil and Wilfred until they finished grade 9, and brother Ronald went until he finished grade 10.
After Neil’s brother Ronald left home and joined the Canadian Armed Forces and brother Wilfred joined the Canadian Air Force, he was there to continue working the family farm with his parents Leo and Josephine until his Dad passed away in 1954 and his Mom in 1971. It has been mixed farming that has kept Neil and his family working together all these years.
Neil married Alice Udink in 1957 and raised four children, Arla, Valerie, Brenda and Terry. All the kids learned at an early age how to drive the farm machinery, haul feed and water to the many hogs and cattle, pick rocks, plant a garden and then weed that ‘said’ garden. But it was Neil and the berry picking that was the favourite lesson of all. How to fill the pails tied to the belts without squishing the berries because the main rule was, no going home until the pails were all filled. Then the trek home to clean those wonderful berries to be frozen for future eating. It was 1975 when Neil and Alice decided to part ways.
Later that year Neil met Faye McKay. And in 1976 him and Faye married in Calgary, Ab. Faye joined the Sieger family with her four children Rick, Judy, Debbie and Peggy. The new additions to the family were introduced to farm life like they had been born to it. Learning to drive the machinery, feeding the animals of which Faye added a few new ones, gardening, and of course the ever loving berry picking. Faye was quite the berry picker. She definitely could give Neil a run for his money when it came to picking choke cherries, raspberries and saskatoons. Faye was out side by side with Neil working the farm and helping with the livestock.
Around 1986 Neil and Faye bought a house in Coronation. It was there that Faye started a boarding house which was quite successful and kept her busy. Neil was still farming with his son Terry and then daughter Arla and her husband when they moved to the farm in 1987. And then daughter, Brenda moved back with her daughters and joined the family farming business in 1995. After a few years the house in town was sold and Neil and Faye were back on the family farm living and working.
By now many grandkids were around to visit and live within the area, and yes you got it, Neil was in his glory teaching a new age group to drive the tractor, feed the animals, weed the garden and, yes, also to get those very valuable berry picking lessons, of which there were quite a few!!!!, But the first rule of filling all the pails before going home was relaxed quite a bit as they seem to not have to fill as many as the previous generation.
Time is moving along and soon great grandkids are here and family holidays and birthdays were spent trying to see as many as could attend the family gatherings. Soon the family has grown to a size that the Talbot hall had to be rented to fit everyone in.
Now with Neil’s passing the legacy of teaching the great grandkids all the wonderful farm knowledge will be sorely missed.
Neil will be remembered as a great community member in the three communities he grew up in and raised a family in. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends and neighbours.
Neil was predeceased by his parents, Leo and Josephine, daughter Valerie, brother Ronald and his wife Anne, and grandson Nicholas, and his wife Faye of 38 years.
Neil is survived by his children, Arla (Terry) Rayworth of Red Deer, Brenda (Gary) Schroeder of Coronation, Terry Sieger of Coronation, Rick (Cathy) McKay of Alliance, Debbie (Rob) Waltham of Coronation, Peggy (Paul) Power of Nova Scotia, and Judy (engaged to Dave Grant) of Alliance.
He is also survived by grandchildren, Tyrone (Candace) Schmidt, Dustie Schmidt, Cassie (Davin) Heintz, Tara (Corey) Penney, Ryan Sieger, Mandie (Rick) Burns, Talia Robbins, Krysta (Jeff) Rathwell, Sasha (Peter) Fiselier, Jessie (Bjorn) Dyck, Jasmine Beckman (engage to Tony Cleveland), Jennifer (Rory) Stollery and Shawn Paquette; great grandchildren, Dane and Brady Schmidt, Aivalyn and Aubriella Heintz, Madison and Mason Penney, Andrew Burns, Annabelle and Joshua Masse, Cale and Kiri Rathwell, Chase, Evan, Jaden Fiselier, Anastasia Dyck, Skylar, Austin, Autumn McKay and Ashton Beckman.
He is also survived by brother Wilf (Doris) Sieger; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends and neighbours.
A celebration of life in honour of Neil was held at the Baptist Church, Brownfield, AB, on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 1 pm with Pastor Ron Harris and Pastor Al Richardson officiating.
The eulogy and special memories were shared by Wilfred Sieger and Arla Rayworth as well Mandie Burns shared a poem.
Congregational hymns were ‘Blessed Assurance’, ‘Shall We Gather at the River’ and ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’ accompanied by pianist, Faye Webber. Laurel Scheffelmaier sang ‘God Will Take Care of You’. A video tribute was played during the service.
The honourary pallbearers were Albert and Gwen Scheffelmaier, Art and Myrtle Cole, Evelyn Stoltz, Gerald and Jean Iris Cole and ‘All Neil’s Neighbors, Family and Friends’. The active pallbearers were Kurt Cole, Garry Trussler, Garth Caseley, Wes Sieger, Danny Sieger, Aaron Cole and Charlie Stoltz. The interment took place at the Fairfield Cemetery and following the interment, family and friends gathered at the Church for a time of visiting and reminiscing. A lovely lunch was prepared and served by the Baptist Church Ladies.
As an expression of sympathy and in loving memory of Neil, memorial contributions may be made to the Coronation Hospital Foundation, STARS or to the Canadian Cancer Society. Heather Caseley of Coronation Funeral Home has been entrusted with the care and funeral arrangements. 403.578.2928 Condolences can be sent to the family by visiting our website at www.coronationfuneralhome.ca.