Posted: May 2nd, 2013

1915 – 2013 Helen “Elle” Isabelle (Fowlie) Hern passed away peacefully on Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at the age of 97 years.

Helen leaves to cherish her memory three sons: Jimmy (Carol) of Bindloss, their children, Jay (Chris) of Bindloss, Craig (Stephanie) of St. Joseph, Minnesota and their children Colton & Norah, and Leanne Hern of Edmonton; Benny (Kathy) of Medicine Hat, their children, Casey (Mandi) of Medicine Hat and their children Austin & Nicholas, and Vandy (Trevor) Bishop of Medicine Hat and their children Kane & Diesel; and Allan (Cathy) of Turner Valley. She is also survived by her brother, Frank Fowlie of Medicine Hat; and her brother-in-law, Maynard Hern of High River. Helen was predeceased by her husband, Bennie Hern; her parents, William and Christine Fowlie; three brothers, William, Jack, and George; brother and sisters-in-law, Roy and Vera Hern, Gordon and Mildred Fraser, Mary Hern, Helen, Luana and Doris Fowlie. Helen was born on the family farm 13 miles south of Bindloss, Alberta on July 12th, 1915. She attended the Social Plains School up to grade nine, and after finishing her high school at Lealand, she attended business school in Medicine Hat. A few years later, wishing to pursue a nursing career, Elle enrolled in the Medicine Hat nursing program, graduating in 1941. Shortly after graduation, Helen accepted a position at the Empress Hospital and it was there that she met Bennie Hern whom she married on November 11th, 1942. While living in Empress, Helen had her three sons, Jimmy, Benny, and Allan. In 1950, Ben was promoted to a locomotive engineer and moved his young family to Calgary. Helen and Ben shared a dream of owning their own ranch, and in 1962 their dream became reality. In the summer of that year, they purchased the Red Jacobson ranch in the Bindloss area, located two miles west of the Fowlie homestead. Being a tomboy growing up, Elle knew a great deal about horses, cattle, and farm life in general. She worked long hours on the ranch: riding, fencing, haying, feeding cattle, gardening, canning and cooking. All three boys became professional rodeo cowboys, so most of Helen and Ben’s social life was travelling to rodeos to watch the boys. In 1980, Ben and Helen moved to Medicine Hat. Sadly, Ben passed away in 2007, and in December 2008 Helen moved into the Riverview Nursing Home. When Elle retired to Medicine Hat she loved to golf, bowl, play cards, sew, do volunteer work, travel, read, socialize with friends and watch her grandchildren’s sporting events. She was an accomplished seamstress, often making her own patterns, when sewing clothes for herself or her grandchildren. Helen enjoyed going to her sons’ ranches, helping where she could, especially during calving season. Loving horses, Mom also enjoyed attending horse shows with her daughter-in-law, Cathy. One of the highlights of Elle’s life was celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Fowlie Farm in the summer of 2011. To keep in touch with the medical profession, Helen served many years on the Empress Hospital Board. An event she looked forward to every March was the Medicine Hat Nurses’ Reunion. Last year being 96, she was the oldest graduate in attendance. Her brother, Frank Fowlie, who is 95, was her best friend, faithfully visiting every week. During visits they played competitive crib games, with loonies being passed back and forth between them. To pass time in the nursing home, Elle became an avid reader, and literally read hundreds of novels. Helen was a dedicated mother, with her whole life centered around her family. She was an amazing woman: thoughtful, kind, caring and generous. When we think of the changes that Helen had seen in her lifetime of almost 100 years, we were all amazed at how young-minded she was and how willing to accept change. We all loved the stories she told and were again amazed at the details she could remember right up until her passing. When dealing with her health issues, Helen never complained, had an incredible will, and never lost her sense of humor, often making us all chuckle. The family would like to thank Anne Marie and her girls from the Compassionate Companions who went beyond their duties to enrich Helen’s life, and also the caregivers at the Riverview Nursing Home who showed such love and kindness toward Helen. Helen’s children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends will dearly miss her, but we are comforted with all the great memories that we have of mom and we will cherish them forever. When someone lives almost a century, Helen’s passing should be a celebration for the many years that she so positively touched all our lives. Mom and grandma, we love you and will never forget you! The Memorial Service will be held at WESTMINSTER UNITED CHURCH, 101 – 6th Street SE, on Saturday, May 4th, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. with Reverend Dr. Shane P. Andrus and Reverend Leroy Angle co-officiating. Memorial gifts in Helen’s memory may be made to the Palliative Care Ward, Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, 666 – 5th Street SW, Medicine Hat, Alberta, T1A 4H6. Condolences may be sent through www.saamis.com or www.gonebutnotforgotten.ca or to condolences@saamis.com subject heading Helen Hern. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to SAAMIS MEMORIAL FUNERAL CHAPEL AND CREMATORIUM, “The Chapel in the Park”, Medicine Hat, Alberta. Should you wish any additional information, please telephone 1-800-317-2647.


  1. Alan Barrie says:

    Dear Jim, Ben, Allan and families. My deepest sympathies on the loss of your mother. Elle was a great lady and always made me feel like my 2nd mom. 97 years – we can only wish we can live such a tremendous life. Apologies but have prior commitments for funeral, but please know my prayers are with you as you celebrate her life. Regards Alan Barrie

  2. Debra & mike holland says:

    Wow! Your mom sounded like an amazing woman. Sorry to learn about her passing. If only we all would lead a life such as her. Bless her soul. Our condolences.

  3. dawn says:

    our most sincere condolences for your loss. May you find strength relying on the Almighty God who so lovingly invites us to throw all our burdens on him and he will sustain us (Psalms55:22).

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