1924-CLARE CREWS-2022Posted: October 22nd, 2022
1924 – CLARE CREWS – 2022 The one we loved but could not save.
With bitterness and broken hearts, the family of Clare Crews announce her untimely passing on Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at the age of 98. We wish to extend heartfelt gratitude to staff at Masterpiece for their great care, concern and efforts to bring her back to us. We were too late.
Our dear Mother was the last of the 12 siblings from the Kasper Wagner family. Gone before her were: Sam, Adam Schwengler; Joe Kupser; Wendlin Wagner, Tillie Derzaph, John Wagner; Barb Nittel, Roy Wagner, Lena Wingenbach, Frances Worth, Tony Wagner, (mother, Frances Wagner).
Mom was born at home, in Rastadt, Saskatchewan, delivered by her father, on June 22, 1924, joining a large, combined family of half and step siblings. They lived in various parts of SW Saskatchewan (Burstall area) and growing up during the Depression, Mom said “If we were poor, we didn’t know it”, as their family was rich in love, hard work and compassion for family and neighbours.
Along with the usual farm chores, there was always housework, dishes, laundry, and cooking for the large family but there was always time for ball games (very competitive ones!), dances, gathering around the radio, and playing cards she always said she learned to play cards before she even went to school. Travel was still horse and buggy, sleigh in the winter. Their social world revolved around church and school community events.
Mom developed rheumatic fever at the age of 14 and was hospitalized in Prelate for ten days; the treatment at that time was oil of wintergreen and by being covered with heated hoses. Upon recovery, she worked off the bill by doing nursing aide jobs at the hospital, including administering ether to patients. The doctor commended her for her steady hand and bedside compassion and encouraged her to take up nursing, even providing her with books to study.
However, her and her big sister, Barb, decided to head to the big city lights of Medicine Hat where job opportunities abounded and she began working first at Medalta Potteries, and then to Dominion Glass. Later, while working as a waitress at the Rex Cafe down on North Railway Street, she met a handsome young railroader by the name of Bob Crews. Interestingly, what started out as a double date with other partners, the couples traded and the rest is history as both went on to have long, happy marriages. Thank you, Mom, for choosing our Dad!
Following Dad’s return from WWII service overseas, they began married life in a wartime house on the SE Hill over 60 years making close friends and lifelong relationships with everyone in the neighbourhood. We grew up in the best of family homes, it was a hub of activity. Mom was the ultimate wife, mother, homemaker. She still kept up ties with her own large family, keeping in touch and always there to help in any way, to lend advice or just be a good listener.
She became actively involved with Westminister United Church, serving as UCW President, always ready to pitch in on any church activities, a real go-to person in any situation. She got her driver’s license and decided to go back to work in retail at the Betty Shop and Bon Ton Shoes downtown. She was known for her fashion sense always dressed well, hair done, make up, nails, jewellery for every occasion. She was a success with any project she chose to take on our home exploded with Avon and Tupperware products until she’d created businesses even too big for her to handle. She was Master Organizer for social events like weddings, funerals, gatherings both large and small, always knowing exactly how things should be done. She worked several years as a Volunteer at The Post making even more friends. And always ready to be a part of whatever activities her family planned, from travelling throughout Canada to camping trips in their beloved motorhome, to the Philippines and Hawaii, to a Mediterranean cruise, train trips, bus trips, even just a day trip out to Elkwater to see the new calves in the springtime. Her knitting expertise countless baby outfits made, sweaters, scarves and her cooking borscht, homemade buns, trying new recipes. Her love of sports continued to the end baseball (Blue Jays), curling, hockey. She had such a fun loving, optimistic personality, loved to laugh and learn new things, not afraid to give spam callers a piece of her mind, and was on a first name basis with Shaw when curling didn’t come on, questioning and concerned about world events.
Upon Dad’s passing in 2006, Mom decided to make a move to Chinook Village. She enjoyed many years there making new friends, reacquainting with old friends and enjoying being socially active at dinners, dancing, playing shuffleboard, cards (especially cards, still winning right to the last). Thank you to those many good friends at Chinook.
Mom was a very strong woman, she was determined to overcome any obstacles. A heart attack at age 68 slowed her down only briefly. A broken hip at age 97 only renewed her determination to get back on her feet and going again no wheelchair, passed the walker use, and then only briefly, a cane. Still living independently, she was amazing, and we felt she had more years left, she had aimed for 98 and beyond. It should have been.
We like to believe she has been reunited with Dad and Arlie, and all those beloved family members who have gone on before.
She leaves to mourn her passing: son: Robert Jr. (Joanne), their son Justin (Kim) and great grandson, Matthew; their daughter Jen (Dana); daughter: Mildred (Wayne Rinke), their son Philip (Medi) and great grandchildren Jessy (great great grand daughter Quinn), Noah, Gavin, Jairus; son Andrew (Erika), and daughter Elizabeth (Steve Sera); daughter Arlene (deceased, married to Brian Schorr/Kelly Schorr) and granddaughters Andrea (Dan) and great grandchildren Shayla (Zander), Logan, Nolan; Erin (Kelly Larson) and great granddaughter Kaylee; Lori Breum and granddaughter Randi; grandson Cole (Megan) and great grandchildren Parker and Emerson; daughter Patti, her daughter Ariel (Al Kitching) and great grandchildren Darian (Jen), and Shade; son Lance jr.; son Dylan (Shannon) and great grandsons Van and Ripp with another on the way; daughter Skye (Spencer Gregg) with a little one on the way. She was Nanny to grandchildren, Super Nanny to great grandchildren. She would so dearly have loved to be here for the new arrivals, she loved babies so. She did not even get new baby outfits knitted in time.
A private family gravesite service was held Saturday, October 15th, 2022. Thank you to long time family friend and special friend of Mom’s, Rev. Helen Reid (retired) for officiating. We would like to say Thank you for the many happy years Mom spent at Chinook Village, and a very sincere, heartfelt thank you to the staff at Masterpiece for all that you tried to do for her and for us. A part of you lives on in all of us, Mom. Our grief knows no bounds.