Eva died peacefully in her home at the Williams Lake Seniors’ Village on the morning of November 13th. She was predeceased by her husband Emilien (Emil) and their son Patrick. She is survived by her only sibling, Claire Whitmore, of Clearwater, BC, as well as her children Donna (Rick) Waraksa, Marie (Terry) Johnstone, Gabrielle (Mike) Hadden, Emil (Karen) LaBossiere, 10 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Born the daughter of homesteaders in Bear Lake in the Peace River region, Eva learned to be hardworking and resourceful. These qualities were crucial in meeting her life’s challenges, the greatest being polio. And although she grew up with few material possessions, her life was rich with friends and family.
While growing up, she attended the “Canuck” School near Bear Lake, as well as convent schools in both Donnelly and Grande Prairie. After graduating from high school in Grande Prairie, she attended Normal School in Edmonton for one year before starting her long teaching career and a life of being ‘on the move’. Eva’s first teaching position, at the age of 17, was close to home at the “old” McHenry School. From there her career led her to Halkirk, Vimy, Nelson, Slocan Park and Kaslo.
While teaching in Kaslo, Eva meet Emil, her husband of 48 years. Shortly after their wedding in Nelson, they moved to Edmonton and then on to Campbell River, Taylor Flats, Fort St. John, back to Edmonton, then to 100 Mile House, and finally to Williams Lake for her last year.
As previously mentioned, one of Eva’s greatest challenges, which impacted her entire life, was contracting polio in 1953 at the age of 33. Her third child, Marie, was the first baby born on the polio ward of the Edmonton General Hospital. Eva was extremely courageous and determined to overcome all obstacles when she left the hospital and, over the years, progressed from using a wheelchair to walking with leg braces, then using crutches, then walking with a cane, and finally had the ability to walk on her own.
After her first few years of learning to walk again, Eva resumed her teaching career and taught until the age of 65. She has left her legacy by having an annual student award presented in her name at the 100 Mile Elementary School.
Our family would like to express our most sincere gratitude to all of Mom’s devoted caretakers at Carefree Manor, Fischer Place, Mill Site Lodge, and Williams Lake Seniors’ Village.
As well, we are very appreciative of the support and assistance given to us at the funeral and Celebration of Eva’s Life by the St. Jude’s Catholic Women’s League.
Many others have helped and supported our family through the past few weeks. Thank you all.