It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Gwendolyn (Gwen) Blanche Allan at Bashaw Meadows Lodge on December 15, 2020 at the age of 91 years.
Gwen was born on March 26, 1929 in Camrose, Alberta and was the eldest daughter to Walter & Goldie Stern and lived on a farm near Ohaton, Alberta.
She moved to Alix, Alberta in 1950 to work at the Alix Hotel Café. It was in Alix that she met Jim Allan, fell in love and married on July 14, 1951. They then farmed north of Alix until Jim passed on September 28, 1982.
In October of 1983, Gwen was fortunate to start her second life with Mel Marshall of Bonanza, Alberta and farmed in the Cotillion area until 2016 when they sold the farm and moved into Spirit River, Alberta until Mel passed in June 2018.
Gwen then moved back to Central Alberta to be close to her children and resided in Bashaw until her passing.
She is survived by her son, Alister (Linda) and daughter, Marilyn (Brad).
Grandchildren - Colin (Suzanne), Jason (Crystal), Laurie (Ernie), Jackie (Gary), Kris (Ross), and Scott (Kari).
Great Grandchildren – Johnathon, Matthew, Anna, Heidi, Nicholas, Natalie, Cody, Jordan, Jayden, Caleigh and Maddox.
Sister – Darlene (Dave) and family.
Sister-in-Law – Eve Keates and family.
Also survived by Mel’s family – Yvonne (Buck), Sandra, Kathy (Shad) and Bruce.
Grandchildren – Laryssa, Derrick, Matthew, Miranda, Kailene, Brandon, Gregory, Scott, Karen, Thomas and Dylan and many Great Grandchildren.
Gwen was predeceased by her parents, Walter & Goldie, brother, Roy, Jim, Mel and many other relatives.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Bashaw Meadows Resident's Association at Box 2000, Bashaw, Alberta T0B 0H0 or charity of choice.
Due to COVID restrictions, a closed, private service was held with immediate family only.
Eulogy – Gwen Allan
December 21, 2020
As we lay mom to rest today, I want you all to remember that Mom loved each of you and your families very much.
I certainly could tell by the amount of submissions I received that there are many, many stories and mom certainly had an impact on all of us. It would be impossible to share them all with you today but we will start a private Facebook page for our family so we can continue to share photo’s and memories. Please just let me know if you would like to be added to the group.
Mom was a very matter of fact, hardworking and independent woman, she didn’t need fancy things or a lot of ornaments, she called them “dust collectors”. She loved being with family and friends and we always knew where we stood with her as she didn’t beat around the bush, she called it like it was. She could do most anything she set her mind to, nobody was going to stop her. She inspired me everyday at what she could accomplish on her own.
Mom was born in Camrose on March 26, 1929, the eldest daughter to Grandpa Walter and Grandma Goldie Stern and lived on the family farm, 5 miles from Ohaton. They owned a ¼ section and also leased a ½ section which they always referred to as the CPR land. This land was just north of their home quarter by 1.5 – 2 miles.
Mom was the only child for 11 years until Uncle Roy was born August 7, 1940 and then Auntie Darlene on August 16, 1947.
When it was time for Mom to start school, she was 7 years old and did not have a horse to ride. It was 5 miles to Heartland Country School and she was too young to walk that far in the winter so they moved into Grandma Tooth’s house in Camrose. Mom started grade 1 there until spring, and then moved back to the farm where she would walk to the neighbors and go the rest of the way with them on foot. In the following summer, Grandma & Grandpa bought a pony and then Mom was able to ride horseback to school until Grade 3.
Grandpa’s work took him to Round Hill and Mom attended Grade 4 there and then they moved to Carrot River, SK. where she completed grade 5 & 6. It was back to the farm at Ohaton and she completed grade 7, 8 & 9 at the Thereomere Country School which at that time was only 1 mile from the farm.
In those days, a grade nine education was acceptable, therefore, Mom went out to work as a housekeeper for a family in the County of Round Hill for the better part of a year and then she moved on to Duhamel to house-keep and nanny for a family while their wife/mom was sick with Tuberculosis.
In 1950, she landed work at the Alix Hotel Café which included lodging and meals. She met our Dad in Alix, fell in love and married July 14, 1951.
Mom & Dad bought a little house west of Alix past Roy Johnson’s property on the Lakeside Sargent Road. Most of the first year of marriage mom travelled with Dad all over Alberta when he was working with his cat. In 1952, she became pregnant with Alister and knew they needed to build a warmer house as the one they had was very cold. It would freeze the jars of canned fruit in the winter and they were only a few feet from the heater, she found out later there was only old movie posters for insulation between the two walls.
Therefore, Mom and Dad moved in with Grandpa and Grandma Allan at Tanglefoot Farm until their new house was built. She remained in that house until 1983.
Mom was boss of Alister & I, Dad was working so mom had to keep us on the straight and narrow. She raised us to use our manners, have respect for our elders, set our boundaries and let us know what she expected of us, all while she did chores morning and night, drove grain truck, stooked bales, planted a huge garden and still kept the house and had 3 square meals on the table every day.
I can remember begging mom as we would go out and wait for the school bus, to please stay inside the house until after we left as she would start chores about that same time. I tell you, by the time she got dressed up with her touque and chore clothes, she was quite a site, but she didn’t care what she looked like, she had chores to do and stay wardmand was going to stay warm.
Mom belonged to the Eastern Star for many years and was elected as Associate Matron in 1983. She was a member of the Mirror Curling Club.
Also, Mom. Alister & I joined the Mirror Community Band and she played the big bass drum. We marched in many parades in the summertime and had lots of fun, She always said we would never have gone there if we hadn’t been in the band.
One of the biggest highlights for mom was her 25th wedding anniversary with Dad in 1976. We put on a big outdoor BBQ for them and all their friends and neighbors attended. She had a real wedding cake, speeches and a dance with a live band. She always said that this was her wedding celebration as they never had a big wedding when they got married.
Once we grew up, things slowed down for Mom and Dad and they did some travelling. Although they had not retired, they were able to do some camping and had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii and the Phillipines. I am sure that they would have travelled more if Dad would not have got sick, passing away in 1982.
Mom remained on the farm until she met Mel and moved to the Bonanza area by the Peace River.
Yvonne’s memories help capture mom and most everything she did on the farm with Mel. Linda will read what Yvonne and family have submitted:
These are her words:
I just wanted to write a few words about Gwen. She will be missed. She joined our family about 35 years ago, about the time Shad and Kathy were getting married. I have to say, not all of us were thrilled about this new addition, thinking she was trying to be our mother. Over the years though, we came to respect the person she was.
When I read on Facebook, a post calling her sweet, I almost coughed up my mouthful of coffee. Sweet wasn’t a word I would use to describe her. But I would use words like very hard working, strong, strong willed, stubborn, strong values and ethics, dedicated to dad, enjoyed good company and time away from the farm. She was very hard worker, she put others to shame. I tried to fill her shoes at the farm for a couple of days, and I was never so glad when her and dad returned. Her schedule was exhausting, getting up before 6 to prepare breakfast, a rush to get the crew out the door, clean up the dishes, and the same schedule for lunch and supper, all the while cleaning the house, washing clothes, knowing what was happening out in the yard, and putting up with numerous dirty hired hands. Gwen made the best lemon meringue pie ever. She managed the farm and construction books along with payroll for years, all manually. She kept up with the phone calls about the business, kept an eye on the hired help, and the farm work. It must have been hard to prepare meals when she had no idea how many extras might show up for meals. So, it was no wonder when dad teased her (usually about her smoking) that she got upset with him. He was unrelenting, the madder she got, the more he teased. Even though he teased, she would do anything for him. She waited on him hand and foot for all of the years they were together.
Some funny stories about Gwen. It was no secret that her and Bruce didn’t get along. He was a lot like Dad, teasing her, not knowing when to stop. She was ticked at him at the table one day, and I remember the pepper shaker flying through the air at his head. I think he realized that he had gone too far. Or the time that Gwen bought a new lawn mower. We tried to talk her into a ride on one, but no way. She was the first to try it out so we watched as she tried to keep up with the self propelled mower set on high. She flew around that lawn like tinker bell, with her feet barely touching the ground. I don’t think she thought it was very funny though.
Gwen and Kailene had a special bond. She often talked about Kailene and her ventures, or when Kailene came to the farm to help her can her peaches. On one of our trips back east, Buck and Brandon, Dad and Gwen were a little late boarding their flight from New Brunswick. You could hear her yell at Dad to hurry from the other end of the airport! That was one trip I was glad to be driving back. Buck and I had the opportunity to take Dad and Gwen back east after that and we had a great trip with them. We tried to plan a bit better, so as to arrive on time. That seemed to ease the situation a bit. We attended several kitchen parties and both Dad and Gwen enjoyed the live music, dancing and visiting with strangers.
She loved to attend Rodeo’s with dad, go for a visit with the neighbours, go out for a meal, or an event at the hall and especially when someone else cooked! She enjoyed our family reunions, but I’m sure she was also glad when they were done.
When they were packing their stuff to leave the farm, she had a hard time letting go of stuff they didn’t need. I figured out that she had to do things in her own time and process. The move to Spirit River was definitely easier on her, although she still insisted on shoveling snow off the entry way - using her walker! She drove me nuts! I found it hard raising parents! When she wasn’t as able to cook or clean, we tried to get her help, but she was having none of it. Meals on wheels delivered one meal, then she cancelled it. When we figured they needed to move to the lodge, we knew if Gwen didn’t want to go, we were fighting a losing battle, so we got Chris from homecare to help us convince her. Once they were moved into the lodge, I finally saw Gwen relax - she thrived in there. She enjoyed the company, without the work. She certainly deserved the rest. She still waited on Dad though.
We were sad to see her move south when Dad passed away, but I’m glad she had the opportunity to reconnect with her family. We tried to call often, she always sounded cheery on the phone. I know she lived with pain in her hip, but didn’t dwell on it. She was very resilient, that’s why I was shocked to hear of her passing, I honestly thought she was too stubborn to leave us. We will miss her. Even though we had our differences I will miss her.
Scott & Meagan
Scott says he just never remembers a time without her. Grandpa and Grandma were always together unless there was farm or field stuff and then she was inside cooking for everyone. She always had cookies in the cookie jar and she was always serving up canned peaches with ice cream.
Meagan remembers the first time she ever met Grandma, they had a big Marshall family dinner for Easter (around 20) and Scott had brought her to meet the family. She was nervous and worried (as she comes from a very small family) and while standing in line to dish up for dinner, grandma was right behind her and said “This is the first time Scott has ever brought a girl home to the family, so you must be a keeper so just enjoy the food and the big get togethers”. It was so simple and so reassuring and 10 years later I am still in the family. She was right.
I also remember that every time we had a turkey dinner, she had first dibs on the popes nose.
Thomas & Megan – have shared that their kids absolutely loved Grandma Gwen. Even though not blood related, she treated everyone as her own family, they could not imagine her any other way but their Grandma. They will all miss her very much.
Laurie – Always have had special memories since the age of 2. Anytime that I was able to spend time with Grandma was “The Best”.
- I remember listening to old records, Johnny Appleseed was the song that I liked listening to.
- Scotch Mints on top of the fridge.
- Walking through the field to Tanglefoot Lake
- Driving up north with Cody all by myself and spending a week with Grandma
- Grandma had the most genuine smile and laugh. Her face would light up.
Cody – The Marshall Family Reunion at Cotillion campground. Boating, music and singing. And also the bears.
Eve & Rennie (Sister-in-law & Niece) – Her smile and big laugh
- Trip to Hawaii
- Trip to Victoria when she was 90 to celebrate Eve’s 90th birthday.
- Travelling to Spain for a month, eating unusual food that she had never heard of before.
- Never complaining about the service.
- She was very strong- and did everything on the farm including butchering the chickens to hauling bales and carrying big pails of chop.
- But most of all, they both remember her big laugh, sense of humor, ear to ear smile and warm, strong hugs.
Jackie - Visits with Grandma at the lodge. Listening to her stories and learning about her life.She loved being kept up to date on what all the family was doing. How the kids were doing at school/university, sports and how work was.
Receiving a video phone call from her - singing Happy Birthday when she was vacationing in Nicaragua. Best surprise ever!!
Picking her up and taking her golfing. She was Jackie’s good luck charm and she loved riding around on the golf cart. Precious memories that will be cherished forever.
Grandma was also very blunt and to the point, she asked questions and wasn’t afraid to tell you how she felt about things, she was a straight shooter and just told it the way that it was. She taught us to be polite and kind, put your family first, work hard, but enjoy life and take up any opportunity that might arise.
Grandma’s love was unconditional and accepted everyone for who they were.
Gary always called her BauBau and she liked that, nobody else ever called her that. He would tease her a lot during their visits, but she always had a pretty quick comeback and she rarely fell gullible to his jokes.
Caleigh loves to remember the times Great Grandma made it to her volleyball and basketball games. These were pretty special moments to have 4 generations at your sports games. One of the fondest memories was when Caleigh came over to talk to her after a basketball game and Great Grandma said it was pretty good, but I think you girls need a little more practice. HAHA she told her teammates, it’s pretty bad when my Great Grandma, that can’t see, thinks we need more practice. Everyone got a good chuckle and the girls always liked to see Great Grandma at the games.
Jayden was so thankful to have many memories with Great Grandma these last few years.
Some of his fondest moments include accompanying her to Victoria for Auntie Eve’s 90th birthday and also on her own 91th birthday, visiting in the parking lot of the lodge due to COVID with helium balloons and singing from the sidewalk.
He will miss racking her brain about everything from politics to sports and everything in between, he cherished the talks they were lucky enough to share.
Brad – remembers how much she loved to go for car rides, checking up on the farming whether it was seeding time, growing season or harvesting. There was nothing like a good picnic in the field.
Marilyn – I remember the one thing, when I was growing up and in school, Mom was always home. I can only remember one time that she wasn’t there when I got off the bus and I think I was 13.
There was always something to do on the farm. Chores, weeding the garden, picking roots, all those fun things, but she also made sure we were involved in outside activities like swimming lessons and after school sports.
We were members of the Mirror Community Band and the Buffalo Lake 4-H Beef Club. Those were good years.
Then I became a teenager, she was the over-protective mom that always wanted to know where I was, who I was with, and when I would be home. (And if she didn’t, she would chase me down the road to find out). She loved me unconditionally and stood by me through a divorce and becoming a widow. She taught me that you never get anything for nothing and you have to work hard to get anywhere in life. She taught me love, honesty, work ethic and courage. I wouldn’t have made it without her.
Mom, you will be sadly missed by all who knew you, we all love you very much.
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