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Posted: September 7, 2021

Obituary of Verna Irene Thielen


AUGUST 17, 2021 – AUGUST 18, 2021

On Wednesday, August 18, 2021, our beloved mother, Verna Irene Thielen (Klatt) departed this earthly life at Joseph Creek Care Village at the age of 89 years.

Verna was born in Foremost, Alberta on August 17, 1932 to Rudolph and Mary Klatt.  She was part of a family of six and lived on a farm with her family of three brothers; Rupert, Lawrence, Glen and two sisters, Adeline and Julia.  All of her siblings have predeceased her.  She grew up riding horses, driving tractors, and a motorcycle too!

Verna married Jerome Thielen in 1951 in Milk River, Alberta.  They lived the first few years of their married life on a farm at Allerston, AB.    In 1961, Jerome and Verna moved their young family to a ranch in Grasmere, BC. They spent ten happy years in the valley, making many lifelong friends.  During these busy years she still found time to try her hand at many crafts, and sew clothes for her children and was known for showing up with a birthday cake at many of the neighbour’s homes.

From 1971 to 1990, they went on to operate the Alberta Motel in Creston, where mom was in her glory, being able to readily find so many fruits and vegetables to can.  She filled many jars, and dad built many shelves!  Mom was an avid canner, jam maker and baker.  She was famous for her cinnamon buns and pies.   She loved to garage sale to find bargains for her kids and grandkids, but mostly she enjoyed meeting people while she was out and about.  One of her favourite days was Halloween.  She would put on a mask and go out to the neighbours, never talking, except in a funny voice so they wouldn’t know it was her.

They sold the motel in 1990 and made their final move to Cranbrook to retire, but mainly to be closer to family.  In their retirement years they got a computer and Mom loved emailing and sending jokes to people to brighten their day.  She also spent much of her early retirement visiting her beloved seniors, taking them treats and keeping them company.

One of Mom’s most special experiences was when she and Dad travelled to Nashville with great friends from Grasmere, Doug and Jessie McDonald.  It was their trip of a lifetime!

Her husband, Jerome was a very talented musician.  He played for weddings and dances and mom enjoyed then, and continued to enjoy to the end, the old time country music.  Music was a strong connection for her and she liked to sing too.  She especially appreciated all the entertainers that came to Joseph Creek Village.

Verna belonged to the CWL and had a strong bond with many women out in the community.  No one sent better cards and letters than she.  Her birthday book is full of family days to be remembered.   With her continued failing eyesight she had to rely more on the phone for those contacts, and quickly learned who Google was!  Mom taught us to care about others and to keep in touch.

Mom and Dad had the privilege of almost 61 years of marriage.  Unfortunately, Dad passed away in 2012 but Mom was able to stay on in her own home until knee surgery didn’t allow her to walk up and down the stairs of her home anymore.  She moved to Joseph Creek Village where she enjoyed the friendship of so many people that lived there.  She would drive her power chair wherever she needed to go within the building to see people and attend socials, and outside for appointments.  Even with her failing eyesight, she was able to win the wheelchair rodeo!  If something involved fun or music, you can bet she was there!!

While her eyesight had failed her, her hearing was very good.  She had an ear for voices and knew each and every care aide at Joseph Creek by the sound of their voice or their footsteps. Many of them had a special place in her heart.   Mom never left her apartment without putting on her lipstick, a pair of earrings and a bracelet, and she always loved having her nails done at the nearby mall.

Verna leaves behind her five children; Sheila (Shan) Fitzpatrick in Invermere, Brian (Dari) Thielen in Jaffray, Gerry (Christa) Thielen in Claresholm, Ab, Gwenn (Saied) Kiaresh in Kelowna and Scott (Angie) Thielen in Calgary.  Verna has 12 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.  She and dad loved babysitting these kids!

Verna was predeceased by her beloved husband Jerome in 2012 and her infant son, Michael in 1963.

The family of Verna wishes to acknowledge the many special friends she had that brought comfort and joy to her days, in these last few months especially.

There will be a Celebration of Life for Verna held when it is safe to do so and COVID restrictions are lifted.


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