Service Date: August 31st, 2019 1:00 p.m., Saturday
Service Location: Tofield Alliance Church
Verna Frances Welsh was born in Eston, SK on October 16, 1936 to Mable and Erman Welsh. She was the third of eight children, having 5 sisters and 2 brothers. She is survived by 5 sisters and 1 brother; 2 daughters Pam (Fred) Katunar and Patty (Len) Koop; 6 grandchildren Chad and Blaire Katunar, Megan (married to Michael Dytiuk), Kyle, Ryan and Justin and 2 great-grandsons Silas and Jacob Dytiuk. Her husband of more than 60 years, Ken Heistad, passed away on October 22, 2017.
She spent her early childhood days on the family farm and then when she was about 11, their family moved into Lacadena, SK so the children could be at home and still attend High School. Under Mable’s watchful eye, all the Welsh children played a musical instrument and Verna’s was the saxophone. She also liked to skate, ride horses and play baseball. Shortly after moving into town, she started her formal working life at the age of 12 by working in the general store in Lacadena. A few years later, she went to Saskatoon to attend Teachers College. Verna was a natural teacher and always very gifted in working with children. She never had to raise her voice with her young students and children were just naturally drawn to her. Right after graduating from college, she taught in Sanctuary, SK. Later in life she would even open her own Kindergarten in Stony Plain, AB. Verna also attended one year at Eston Bible school where she met Ken. They were married in Eston, SK on July 27, 1957.
Right after they were married, they moved to Coronation, AB where Verna once again taught school. As Ken continued to work for the Treasury Branches, they had many transfers throughout the province of Alberta and built at least 6 different homes before finally retiring to Tofield. Verna would often be responsible for selling one house, choosing the colors/design for the next one and keeping the family going as Ken would already be at the next location as a result of another transfer. Moving every 2-3 years was not easy on Verna or the family. In later retirement years, they lived in Sherwood Park and most recently were cared for at Bethany Meadows in Camrose.
Early in life, Verna committed her life to the Lord Jesus. She set a godly example in her lifestyle and for her family. Family was of utmost importance to Verna. Family reunions were frequent when the children were young, and many adventures and laughs were had at the Welsh farm in Castor or with the Heistad’s at Veteran. Verna was an incredibly hard worker and would never settle for a job “half done”. She struggled for most of her life with a number of health challenges, and if she didn’t have such a fighting spirit, she would never have lasted to her 80’s. She enjoyed making her houses into homes, always had a keen interest in fashion and loved to do a number of crafts. She truly loved her family and was especially thrilled when the grandchildren came along. She made the best Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter dinners for everyone! Birthday parties were also a big celebration. She loved to decorate Easter eggs and do pumpkins with the grandkids as well. From her days of decorating her classrooms, she has become known as a bit of a “Hallmark lady” by always decorating and celebrating special occasions.
Her hard work ethic, gentle spirit, ability to organize things, elegance, sense of humor, godly advice and willingness to help or sacrifice for her family will all be greatly missed. She was always considerate of others – even of strangers and willing to help someone in need. We know she is reunited now with Ken and is finally free of her many health challenges. Our lives are all enriched by her godly example and she will live on in our hearts and memories for ever.
The family would like to thank the staff of Bethany Meadows for the many years of wonderful care for Ken and Verna. They would also like to acknowledge Dr. Awakan for his empathy and professional care. Thank you to Gwen Boettger for the friendship she shared with Verna over the years.
A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, August 31, 2019 at the Tofield Alliance Church. Cremation will take place following the funeral service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made directly to the charity of one's choice.