GRINTALS, Elizabeth

Posted: September 19th, 2020

Elizabeth “Betty” Grintals

1936 – 2020

Elizabeth (Betty) Mina Grintals of Lethbridge, Alberta – beloved wife of the late (although usually on time) Guntars Grintals, passed away at Edith Cavell Care Centre in the early hours on Monday, September 14th, 2020. With her daughters Lisa McLellan and Erika Grintals by her side, she decided to skip out on their party and instead, join her husband on this 86th Birthday. She chose to make the final chapter in her life an epic tribute to the man she so dearly loved. A statement so simple, yet powerfully beautiful.

Born in Quebec on December 30th, 1936, Betty was raised by her father Ernest Pearce who immigrated to Canada from England, and her mother Ella Fritz-Pearce, whose roots stemmed from Romania. Spending her upbringing in McMasterville, QB, she learned to play the piano and sang in the local girls’ choir. This is where her love for animals and nature arose. From her first pet Queenie, a horse whose bond she cherished, to spare time jaunts along the Richelieu River exploring its beauty, her passion for the natural world blossomed.

It was at the Montreal General Hospital that Betty graduated from nursing and began a lifelong career in the healthcare field. A young adventurer at heart, she spent time in San Francisco and Europe, later returning to Quebec where she took a job as the nurse at the Montreal Girls Cottage School. Thanks to stars aligning during her time there, her eyes fell on Guntars, the school’s English teacher. A short time later the two were married and ventured out west together.

After 3 kids and 6 years spent working in various towns across northern Alberta, Nurse Betty’s family decided to settle down in Lethbridge, AB. Achieving her master’s degree in nursing she joined the team at Alberta Mental Health for the remainder of her career and was one of the proud founders of the Lethbridge AIDS Connection.

As a lifelong explorer she always loved the mountains and enjoyed backcountry drives to places unknown. Summer holidays were spent at the cabin in BC in either a boat, canoe, or kayak. She was an avid fisherwoman and bird watcher, and led daytrips involving mushroom hunting, berry picking, and searching for escaped cats and dogs. At home, her passions included cooking, gardening, photography, painting, knitting, and pressing the flowers she found on her outdoor adventures.

Feisty and stubborn, strong willed and opinionated, yet at times incredibly shy, Betty was a feminist and humanist before her time. She was also a loving mother, occasionally overwhelmed by the strong-willed, independent, free-spirited kids that emerged from her womb. And really, who could blame her for that?! We were more than a handful.

Rest in Peace Betty. Mom. Ma. Sweet Pea. You fought long and hard, and now it’s your time to chill with dad and Curtis. Although your girls are grieving down here, we hope the boys shenanigans and love give you the comfort and peace you so deserve.

If you would like to contribute to a cause in the memory of Betty, you can donate to the Canadian Cancer Society. Or an AIDS charity. Or any cause that helps humans, or animals, or nature.

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