Thelma Jean (Babs) Augustine was born the third child of Edward and Kathleen Miller in Bengough, Saskatchewan on February 27, 1933.
The family lived on a farm in southern Saskatchewan; but this was the ‘dirty 30’s’ with barren land and dust farms so in 1937 they packed up and headed north to homestead near Bjorkdale, Saskatchewan.
Little Thelma loved the farm animals and was nicknamed Babs after her favorite horse.
In 1943, when Edward joined the Army, the family moved into Bjorkdale.
By 1951, Babs and her sister Rita were ready to escape this tiny town and so they pooled their money and left for Prince George, B.C.
In Prince George, Babs married Daniel McMaster in December 1953.
They had two children – son Craig and daughter Cori.
By the time Cori was born Babs and Dan had moved to Horsefly where they owned and operated the Chevron service station.
Times were hard and by 1962 Babs, Craig and Cori were living alone in a little house on the Black Creek Road.
She was extremely independent and resourceful; no doubt growing up in the 1930s and 1940s on the prairies and the early years in Horsefly contributed to her ability to live frugally.
She had a knack for creating beauty and comfort from very little.
In 1963, Babs married Phil Augustine – he became dad to Craig and Cori and they moved to his property on Mitchell Bay Road.
Babs and Phil had two sons – Joe and Matt. Babs worked hard with Phil to develop the place.
Like a true ranch wife, she could work all day in the fields, raise babies, milk cows, and still find time to make the world’s best bread and pies. She took great interest in the cattle and loved horses, spending many hours riding for work and pleasure.
Babs’ interest in cattle (and kids) brought her to volunteer as a 4H leader for several years.
During that time the Horsefly 4H Club claimed top beef awards for three or four years in a row.
As well, Babs served as secretary to the Horsefly Cattlemen’s Association for several years.
In 1983, Babs moved to her home along the Horsefly River where she continued to operate a small ranch.
She restored the old Daugherty house on her property and used it as a rental.
Babs got her real estate licence in the late 80’s and worked with Horsefly Realty for seven years. During that time, she bought her cabin at Spirit Bay on Horsefly Lake.
She loved the lake and spent some of her happiest times there with her family.
One of her favorite pastimes was just to drive between Horsefly and the cabin at the lake – she said that every trip she would find something new and beautiful to delight her, whether it was a wild animal or bird, an interesting plant, or a just a particularly awesome day.
Babs put her family ahead of everything. Her children and grandchildren were the lights of her life.
All the grandkids loved to stay at gram’s house.
She usually had one or more kids in tow, all involved in some great (mostly legal) adventure.
Craig introduced his mom to four-wheelers about 10 years ago and from then on she could be found traveling around on her ‘quad’. She mostly stayed on her property, although she was known to sneak into the village from time to time.
Babs had many interests including gardening, sewing, photography and woodworking.
She designed and built wooden chests for all her grandchildren. She loved music and dancing and always had her ‘tunes’ on at home or in the truck.
In 2004, Babs was diagnosed with cancer. For over three years she courageously battled her disease. She was ever optimistic and never complained or let on how much she was suffering.
Throughout her treatments her quick wit shone through. During her last stay in hospital she became known as the ‘queen of the one-liners’ because her sense of humor would not be repressed.
Her incredible spirit and strong will enabled her to convey her love to her family until the very end. Babs died on December 7, 2007, surrounded by her family.
Babs leaves to mourn her passing, sons Craig (Cindy), Joe (Julie Vincent), Matt (Sara); daughter Cori (Chris Leggett); grandchildren Leah, Shaun (Jacci), Casey, Ryan (Jessica), Ashley, Rileigh, Reid, Alexa, Joey, Cody and Angela; sisters Maureen and Rita, sister-in-law Bernice, nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents and brother Wesley.
Babs’ family would like to express their gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of support and love shown by so many during this very sad and difficult time.