Posted: September 14th, 2012

1925 – 2012
Vera May Curling was born on March 23rd, 1925 to parents, John & Ellen Curling. She was born in the Curling home “The Studio” in the picturesque English village of Amberley, West Sussex. Vera was the third of five children; Eric, Vernon, Vera, Jean & Beryl. The family later relocated to the nearby village of Washington. In 1939, at the age of 14, Vera was sent to London to work as a Nanny. After a brief return home at the outbreak of the Second World War, Vera return to London and remained there for two and half years. In 1942, she returned home to work as a companion for an elderly woman needing assistance. In July of 1943, Vera met her future husband, a Canadian soldier training troops at the Canadian Training School in Washington, Willard A. Dumont. The couple were married at the Washington Anglican Church on February 5th, 1944. Aside from a brief two day honeymoon in Brighton, the couple had little time together before Willard was transferred to Aldershot and was soon after sent to Holland. After the end of the war, Willard was only able to spend a few days with Vera before being shipped home to Canada. Vera was given passage to Canada in March of 1946. Along with countless other war brides, she travelled to Canada on the RMS Auquitania; arriving in Halifax on her 21st birthday. She travelled across Canada by train, and was reunited with Willard in Medicine Hat. Willard & Vera’s first home in Canada was a two room sheep camp wagon in Redcliff. After four months the couple upgraded to a small apartment above the bakery, and then later built their own home. During this time Willard was working in the shale pit at Redcliff. However, he yearned to return the country life he had known before the war. So, in the spring of 1948 the couple moved to the Wild Horse area. This was the beginning of a whole new life for Vera as she adapted to the open prairie of Southeastern Alberta; a very different environment than that of England! For the next 26 years Vera worked as a ranch wife, with her husband finding employment fencing, haying and working as a ranch-hand throughout the area. When Willard starting working for Ross Ranches, Vera moved houses seasonally as her husband would move with the cattle from winter range to summer range and back. Often enduring periods of isolation while snowed-in, mail and other items dropped to them on little parachutes from the Ross Ranches’ airplane. Another feature of ranch life was rattlesnakes. Although she never had to shoot one, Vera very quickly learned to be a crack-shot with a lever action .22. Willard & Vera had two daughters during this time; Debra (1953) and Donna (1956). In 1956, Willard started as the Foreman of Ross Ranches’ LA Ranch, a posting the couple would hold until purchasing their own ranch in 1967; the 4-T in the Eagle Butte Valley adjacent to Cypress Hills Provincial Park. While at the LA Ranch, Vera’s niece Paula came to Canada from England to live with them. After seven years at the 4-T, Willard & Vera retired from ranching and moved into Medicine Hat. Shortly thereafter the couple purchased an acreage along the Trans-Canada highway in Dunmore, and opened a business called “The Woodshed.” Vera aided her husband in the business by painting, staining, detailing and varnishing his carpentry products. While in Dunmore, Willard & Vera opened their home to Cody & Cameron Girling for daycare while their parents Don & Mona Girling were at work. Willard & Vera were soon adopted by the Girling family as surrogate Grandparents, and in like manner the Girling’s were adopted as an extension of Willard & Vera’s family. After 20 years in Dunmore, Willard & Vera sold the acreage and moved back to Medicine Hat; first to a large house on Shannon Drive, then to a condo at Fairway Village, and finally to Chinook Village in 2012. She enjoyed family gatherings at Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas. She also enjoyed knitting, sewing and crafts; making most of her own clothing throughout her life. Over the years, Vera kept in close contact with her family in England, and had two opportunities for return visits; once in 1963 and then again in 1979. Vera is survived by her daughter, Debra Pettyjohn (Garry Lentz) and her children, Royce, Cal, Terina (Laurie Sommerfeld) & Alex (Karla Rust); and her daughter, Donna (Herb) Kopp and her children, Aaron (Velaine Short) & Bradley (Heather Bader). Vera was a Great-Grandmother to Lukas Sommerfeld (mother, Terina), Ethyn Pettyjohn (father, Alex) and Harlow Kopp (father, Bradley). She was also a Step-Great-Grandmother to Serenity Heinz, Amber Ivie & Nathan Sommerfeld. Vera also leaves to cherish her memory a special niece, Paula (Jim) Gaub of High River, and their children, Terri Jane and James; and her adopted family, Don and Mona Girling; and their sons, Cody Girling and Cameron (Rachel) Lole-Girling. The Funeral Service will be held in SAAMIS MEMORIAL FUNERAL CHAPEL, #1 Dunmore Road SE, on Monday, September 17th, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. with Reverend George Brandt officiating. Memorial gifts in Vera’s memory may be made to the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, 4West or 6West Palliative Care, 666 – 5th Street SW, Medicine Hat, Alberta, T1A 4H6. Condolences may be sent through or or to subject heading Vera Dumont. Radio funeral announcement can be heard on Friday around 12:35 p.m. on Power 93.7 fm. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to SAAMIS MEMORIAL FUNERAL CHAPEL AND CREMATORIUM, “The Chapel in the Park”, locally owned and directed. Should you wish any additional information, please telephone (403)528-2599

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  1. Brendan/Wendy Harty says:

    Our condolences on your sad loss of both your parents so soon one after another. We enjoyed our visit with them a yr or two back and it was a pleasure to sit with them and talk old times. And yes your mom came to make sure we found the apartment caring as she always was.Wendy and Brendan Harty Milk River. Ab.

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