Landscapes 11

Helen Gabert

August 15, 1923 ~ November 30, 2020 (age 97)

Obituary

Helen Gabert of Yorkton, passed away on Monday November 30, 2020 at Jowsey House in the Yorkton and District Nursing Home at the age of 97 years.

A private family graveside service will be held at Yorkton Memorial Gardens, with a Memorial Service being held at a later date, due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

For more information or to send a condolence to the family of Helen Gabert,  please visit www.ChristiesFuneralHome.com.  

Gabert- Helen (nee’ Fiegal) - widow of Henry Robert Gabert and beloved mother of Sharon Lee was born August 15, 1923 on the family farm north of Springside.  She was the third daughter and fifth child of Katerina and Vladek Fiegal.

After Helen and Henry were married on November 15, 1944, they made their life on the family farm in the Springside/ Orcadia area.  In 1957, Henry became a grain buyer in Gray, Saskatchewan while continuing to farm.  Twenty years later, Henry and Helen returned to the farm and then to retirement in Yorkton.  Throughout her life Helen enjoyed reading, sewing and gardening.  As teenagers, Helen and her many siblings enjoyed dances at the local town halls in the Springside area.  Her favorite pastime was visiting with family and friends.

Henry Robert Gabert, Helen’s husband predeceased her in April, 2000. Helen was also predeceased by her grandparents Johan and Bertha (nee’Mooch) Schattenkirk and Valentine and Millie (nee’ Werner) Fiegal and her parents Vladek and Katerina (nee’ Schattenkirk) Fiegal.  Helen was also predeceased by her brothers: Baby Boy Fiegal, Irvin, Helmet, Victor, and Harvey; and her sisters: Martha Nygren, Annie Fiegal, Gertie Wren, and Violet Foss.

Helen leaves to cherish her memory her loving daughter Dr. Sharon Lee Gabert; two sisters Rita (Jack) Aries of Calgary and Adeline Meisner of
Prince George; and one sister-in-law Ella (Victor) Fiegal. Also left in Saskatchewan are nieces Lois (Arnie) Bucsis, Sharlene (Clint) Fink, Lori (Garnet) Keller, Verlee (Richard) Zulyniak, Patricia (Ken) Blommaert and Jean Gabert plus numerous other nieces and nephews in Canada and USA.

On December 11, 2020 committal was at Yorkton Memorial Gardens with Reverend Deborah Smith officiating.  Two special hymns at the gravesite service were “How Great Thou Art” and “Silent Night”.  Helen’s daughter Sharon Lee delivered the eulogy.  Due to Covid restrictions, a memorial service will be held at a later date.  Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Christie’s Funeral Home and Crematorium, Yorkton SK.  Further genealogical information for Helen (Fiegal) Gabert can be found at www.ChristiesFuneralHome.com.

Desired donations may be made to purchase "Journey's End" booklets for the use in Palliative Care.  Donations may be sent to Yorkton Home Care and Palliative Care 270 Bradbrooke Drive Yorkton SK S3N 2K6

Eulogy for Committal Service December 11, 2020

Reverend Deborah Smith has counselled me that we are doing the funeral service for Mom in reverse order.  This part is the hardest – committal.  That is the reason that traditionally there is a lunch after- to provide community support to the bereaved.

However, these are dangerous times.  When it is safe, we will gather again for her memorial service with our community gathering after, to share memories of my Mom.

For this committal eulogy, I have chosen to focus on the last year of Mom’s life. The rest of the eulogy honoring her whole life will be at her memorial service.

My cousin Pat has often said to me: “Your mother is a strong woman.” At that time, I had never thought of Mom that way.  She was Mom. But in the last 20 years since we lost Dad and especially in this last year, I admired her courage.  It wasn’t that I hadn’t thought of Mom as courageous.  It was that I loved and accepted her because she was my Mom.

And the reverse was also true.  In some of my communication to Yorkton Crossing, Dr. prefaced my name.

Some medical staff said to my Mom: “You must be very proud of your daughter- being a doctor.  Mom replied, “Not really, it’s nice, but I’d be just as proud of her if she hadn’t done it.”

That was Mom and me.  We just loved each other and accepted each other. We did the best we could in difficult times.  And we enjoyed each other when times were good.

Apart from losing loved ones, the greatest tragedy in Mom’s life was the gradual loss of her eyesight. She often said, “I could have a good time here (referring to the Gladstone and the Yorkton Crossing) if I could see better.

When I left February 16, we hugged. Unbeknownst to us, it was our last standing hug.  Mom asked, “The next time I see you, will your knee be fixed?” I evaded the question because I didn’t want to worry her.

When I phoned her 3 days later, 2 hours after successful surgery and told her it was done, she was so joyful.  Like a Mom, she had been more worried about me than herself.  Her voice was full of pure joy, such as I hadn’t heard in years.

When I left February 16, we intended to be back together in April.  And like so many families, we were kept isolated from each other.

Because of Covid- 19 the border was closed and senior residences were on lock down or had very limited visiting privileges.

Mom thought that I would make it through the virus but that she would not.  She quietly said, “I don’t think that I will see you again.”

But we agreed to take one day at a time.  We talked on the phone twice a day.  I tried to find jokes to give us a chuckle every day, some jokes were better than others, but sometimes Mom would say “That was a good one.”

We would also say what we were grateful for.  Mom said that she was thankful she could still see well enough and that she still could get around pretty good.

The lonely months slowly rolled into each other until September. Mid-September Mom fell.  Of all things she apologized to me over the phone.  She said, “I was doing so well. I’m so sorry. I’m so much trouble.”

But to me she was good trouble.  We loved each other.  She was my mission.

Over the course of the next 10 weeks, I struggled to get to her through quarantines and lock-downs.

Mom fought the good fight.  She rallied 3 times.

When I finally reached Mom and was allowed to see her for compassionate reasons, I was shocked.

Her first words were: “It’s been so long.  I’m so happy that you’re here.  Don’t spend too much time here.  It will be too hard on you.”

Ever the devoted Mom, she was concerned about me and that I would be all right.

Mom accepted that she was dying.  She said that first meeting, “It happens to all of us.”

She was courageous, but also resilient, 5 days before she passed away, Mom rallied again.  She was hungry.  She wanted something nutritious.  She wanted an egg.  But it was 9:30 at night so she got an Ensure pudding yet again.  She wanted to get exercise, she wanted to go home.  And I still believed I could make it happen.

But her body could no longer support her spirit.  A couple of days later, Mom was talking about going home in a different way- to be with her husband.

Hard times reveal who we are.  Mom was, as Pat has said a strong woman.  Many of the staffers at Jowsey House remembered Mom from past years in her home and in senior’s residences.  Everyone said she was independent and insisted on doing things as long as she could. Lois, her niece said she always thought of Mom as a woman of dignity.

I am saddened that Covid robbed us of our last summer together.  But I am grateful that, unlike many other families, we were able to be together at her end.  We held hands as she passed in comfort and in peace.

There is significance to the hymns today.  During the last 3 days of her vigil, I occasionally sang to her.  How Great Thou Art I sang at performances in Gray where we lived during my teenage years.  The message is hopeful for surrendering to the inevitable.  And when I reviewed Dad’s obituary to prepare Mom’s she had also selected How Great Thou Art for his service.

Christmas season is approaching.  Silent Night was one of the carols on the radio.  I sang along for Mom.  It has a gentle message- Silent Night and later in the stanza, “sleep in Heavenly Peace”.

The roses are also significant.  For birthdays and special occasions Dad would buy Mom arrangements of 3 roses for our small family.  Dad had also told Mom that if she went first, he would cover her coffin in roses.  Instead, she covered his coffin in roses.

If you wish, as you leave here today I invite you to take a rose with you in remembrance of both Mom and Dad.

So here we are at Mom’s final resting place and beside Dad’s.  A month after Dad passed, Mom and I visited here.  Tears silently rolled down her cheeks.  She said, “I miss him so much.” Her grief was silent and profound- too deep for sobs.

And now shortly Rev. Smith will commit Mom to her final resting place her beside her husband.

I conclude the thoughts from Mom’s two remaining sisters.

Rita of Calgary, “I will miss her so much.  We talked every Sunday.” Aunt Rita also asked me to tell Mom when I visited her yesterday -I love you and you will be deeply missed.”

Adeline of Prince George: “That was the best birthday present I ever got.” Sick as she was Mom wanted to wish her sister “Happy Birthday” on November 24. She was able to do so clearly and to have a conversation with her with her youngest sister.  Adeline’s reaction: “Best birthday present I ever got.”

And finally, I wish to share with you, “A Prayer of Gratitude for a Deceased Mother.”

 

 

 

Gratitude Prayer for Deceased Mother

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of earthly life, in particular for the life of my Mother,

Thank you for all the years I enjoyed with her.

I praise you that she stood with me through the good times and the bad times.

I cherish the memories of joy and the times of sorrow.

As she is now at rest with you, I thank you for the hope of a future in your presence that we will share together.

Now may you, the Lord of Peace, give us peace at all times and in every way through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen

From:” 25 Best Prayers for Deceased Mothers”, Connections, by Editor in Chief October 13, 2020

 

Additional Genealogical Information-

Helen's Maternal Grandparents and Mother

Johan Schattenkirk (1864-1956), Helen’s grandfather, was born in Holland and immigrated to Canada. He married Bertha Mooch (1875- 1935). Their daughter Katerina, Helen’s mother was born March 20, 1900 in the Yorkton area- then N.W.T. The family moved to Everett, WA where Charlie, Katerina’s younger brother was born in 1902.  The family moved back to Yorkton area.  Johan (John) retired to Victoria.  He died outside Edson, AB (1956) at the age of 92 on a trip to visit Katerina and his grandchildren.  Katerina, Helen’s mother died on February 26, 1975 in Yorkton.

Helen's Paternal Grandparents and Father

Walenty (aka Valentine) Figel and Amalia (aka Amelia or Millie) immigrated from Poland with Vladek, their 18 year old son.  Walenty (1874-1940) and Amalia (1874- 1943) were 38.  The familydeparted Belgium on the ship "Mount Temple and arrived in Montreal on August 19, 1912.  Then they took the CPR to Springside.  In 1916 they became naturalized Canadians.  They lived on the family farm in Good Lake, SK.  The original name of Figel later appears as Fiegal.  Amelia's father (Helen's great-grandfather) was August Werner.  Helen's father Vladek, died March 26, 1975- exactly 1 month after his wife Katerina.

Helen's great grandparents were August and Anna (Hitmonik/Machmanic) Werner.

Helen's great-great grandparents were Michael and Rosella (Schroeda) Werner.

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Services

Committal
Friday
December 11, 2020

12:14 PM
Yorkton Memorial Gardens

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