Toivanen, Judi: Lifelong commitment to helping and encouraging others

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It is with very deep sadness that the family of Judith Ann (Judi) (Clark) Toivanen announces her sudden passing on Tues., Mar. 15, 2016. Judi was born on Nov. 9, 1955, a very beautiful and very lucky baby girl, with nine older siblings who adored her.

She grew up on the family farm near Rosebud/Beynon, Ab. and she learned work ethic and community values at an early age. Judi attended grades 1- 6 at Churchill School and then completed her education in Drumheller.

Her career choice was to become a certified nursing aide, following in the footsteps of a long line of Clark nurses who she respected and admired.

She graduated in May of 1975, going on to work in Hanna for a short time and ultimately settling in Red Deer.

She was happy in Red Deer, working at a job that she loved and being very involved in community events, particularly Westemer Days. One of her greatest joys was being a personal escort to the teenage rodeo queens for a number of years.

Red Deer was also where she met her husband Scott, marrying on May 5, 2001.

Judi was once nominated for an ‘Excellence in Nursing’ award, and the biography written about her at the time describes what so many will remember and cherish including her “gregarious personality and boundless energy to engage in activities at work and in the community and her “continuous positive attitude shared with others.”

It also included “kind and patient interaction and active listening skills”,  “frequent words of encouragement, bright smile, and sense of humour”,  “enthusiasm in meeting the challenges of life…, both in her career and personal life” and her “lifelong commitment to helping and encouraging others”.

The biography states, “her own physical challenges have not deterred her in attending to the needs of friends or other family members” and “she is always cognizant of the special events of others, and initiates cards or care packages to acknowledge these occasions.”

That was our Jude!

Welcoming Judi to heaven with open arms are her parents, Jay and Nellie Clark, brother Garry, brother-in-law Dale Flett, sisters-in-law Hetty (Humphries) Clark and Sharon (McDermand) Clark, nephews Kerry Flett, Russell Clark and Ian MacDonald, great-niece Nadia Ouellette, as well as Scott’s parents, Ray and Rene Toivanen.

Judi is survived by her husband Scott, step-son Josh and his son Keegan, as well as by her siblings; Jean Flett, Audrey MacDonald (Angus), Jim (Clara), Glen (Celie), Mervin (Kay), Thelma Bossert (Ervin), Larry (Audrey), and Linda Scheck (Lou). Sisters-in-law Janie Toivanen, Marlene (Lumb) Clark and Dale (MacDermand) Clark will also hold her memory close.

Judi was born an aunt, both literally and figuratively. Her nephew Kerry was here to help welcome her into the world, but 26 more nieces and nephews were to follow and she delighted in every single one; giving hugs, spending time and forever bringing gifts!

Her endless flow of love carried over to the ‘greats’ and ‘great-greats’ and she will be sadly missed by all.

Being born with a genetic health disorder, life was not always easy for Judi, but her strength of character, spirit and determination carried her through her life with amazing fortitude. She made friends everywhere that she went and she was truly an inspiration to those who knew and loved her.

Judi touched many, many people in her life, and she likely left each and every one with a reason to smile.

The funeral was held Sat., Mar. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Drumheller Stampede Barn.

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