Obituary of Verla Mitchell
Verla Mitchell passed at Maidstone Health Complex in Maidstone, Saskatchewan on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at the age of 87 years. Verla will be sadly missed by: her son, Larry (Eleanor) Mitchell; daughter, Brenda (Brian) Reifferscheid; eight grandchildren, Lisa Mitchell, Joshua (Tiffany) Mitchell, Amanda (Glen) Schumacher, Brad Sutherland, Matt (Cindy) Sutherland, Cory (Cynthia) Reifferscheid, Colin Reifferscheid (Leah Sperle), and Cameron Reifferscheid; thirteen great-grandchildren, Simon Mitchell, Isabella Mitchell, Catherine Mitchell, Jansen Sutherland, Bennett Sutherland, Emma Schumacher, Aurora Schumacher, Julien Reifferscheid, Kylie Reifferscheid, Shea Reifferscheid, Radly Reifferscheid, Rex Reifferscheid, Quinn Gartner; and sister, Shirley Pilcher; and brother, Pete (Marilyn) Nowoczin. Verla was predeceased by: her husband, Duncan Mitchell; son, Brian (BJ) Mitchell; parents, Gus and Emma Nowoczin; sister, Irma (Steve) Smoch; brother, Arnold (Joan) Nowoczin; and brother-in-law, Frank Pilcher. The Memorial Service will be conducted from Maidstone United Church, Maidstone, Saskatchewan on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at 2:00 P.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Pine Island Suites or Canadian Cancer Society. EULOGY VERLA MITCHELL Part 1 BY SHARON PEGG Verla entered the world in 1932 as the dreaded middle child between the elder Irma and Arnold and the younger Shirley and Pete. She was born in Standard Hill to Gus and Emma Nowoczin. They later moved to Peace River and in her teens moved to Vernon, B.C. Her initial introduction to Duncan occurred at his sister’s place which also happened to be Verla’s aunt. Thus, the convoluted twisted relationships after their marriage in 1953. She and Shirley had moved to Toronto and were living the life of single young women. Duncan, remembering his first encounter with her decided to pursue and thus began the life of Verla and Duncan. They were married in Vernon in 1953. My first recollection of Verla was in 1952 when she travelled to Saskatchewan with my brother Duncan to meet the family. I was probably about 8 at the time and because he had had girlfriends before he left for Hamilton, I wasn’t sure this stranger was someone I wanted in my life. Needless to say, that changed very quickly and Verla became an integral part of my life. She was always there and if I was in need of anything, she would respond. When my son was hit by a car she spent a week in Calgary looking after my daughter leaving her own family to fend for themselves. Larry was born in 1954 and developed asthma. Upon the doctor’s suggestion they moved to Maidstone to take over the farm. That was in 1957. They left behind the world of electricity, running water and good friends in Hamilton. They started their life on the Goodair place and as a new farm wife she had to cope with mice, chopping wood, lighting lanterns, cooking on a wood stove, hauling water and going to the outhouse in the dark as there was no electricity or running water in the house. Her salvation was Jim Mitchell and Marj Stewart as nextdoor neighbors. Later, Angus Mitchell arrived and in his usual manner taught Larry how to curse much to Verla’s chagrin. BJ or Brian James was born in 1958 just prior to moving into a rebuilt Tweedsmuir School. The house was equipped to Verla’s specifications. Because she was short, the counters were lowered so she could reach them, but everyone else who used them suffered a sore back bending down to do simple chores. In 1962, Brenda was hatched, fulfilling her dream of a girl. The world expanded to include milking cows, raising chickens, cows and pigs, not to mention the family pets of dogs and cats, snakes, fox, moose and salamanders. The relatives in B.C. were important to her and each year a trek was made to go see her parents, her 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I accompanied them on a few of those trips and when the kids were acting up, they would be left on the road and told to walk. The neighbors were a major part of her family’s life and Paul Bullock along with Debra Perry (Sutherland) being frequent fixtures in the house. She undertook looking after her 3 children with gusto and even taught Sunday School. Her garden was both a curse and a blessing with never ending weeds, moles and growing too fast or too slow. In 1983, her son BJ was tragically killed in a car accident. To commemorate his legacy, they had a new house built on the farm lived there until 1997 when they moved into the house in town. Duncan passed away in 2014 after a brief illness. Her life partner and travelling companion was gone. They had experienced trips to California, Mexico, Las Vegas, Florida, Cuba, Hawaii and Scotland. Many have gone before her and she will have a huge reunion at the pearly gates. She left behind her Casino Card to play in her absence. VERLA Green tomato relish And canola in the fields Garden to feed an army And rows and rows of weeds Travel to casinos With a wad of cash Smiles when she was winning Frowns when winning didn’t last Great grandchildren on her knee Stories she would tell Their smiles and laughter Made her heart to swell Visits with her neighbors And coffee row to talk Of rumors and of speculation Or stories of the past Goodbye sweet lady Your memories will live on In the hearts of family We bid you sad so long We will think of you In the waning evening sun Your smile and thoughtfulness With all will linger on EULOGY FOR VERLA MITCHELL Part 2 By Josh Mitchell Good afternoon. My name is Joshua Mitchell and I am a grandson of Verla Mitchell. The family got together and put some stories together about Grandma to share with everyone. We are grateful for the 87 years she walked on this planet. She was known and loved by many. Grandma went by many different titles. Beside Verla, she was Mom to her children and many of her children’s friends. Other names were Ma, Grandma, Granny, Grannyhacker, Squirrelly Verlie and last but not least Beetlebaum. Ask any family member to explain that title. Her descendants liked to call her Beetlebaum just to get a reaction from her. She has been described as kind, feisty, humorous, generous but also stubborn. That is probably why she lived so long. Grandma also kept very physically active in her life. She loved sports. She curled, bowled, cross-country skied, golfed, biked and hiked. But her love for the Riders was HUGE. She knew all the players, the STATS, the coaches, and who got traded and to where. Her sister Shirley was a BC Lions fan and they would always call each other after games and the winner would brag and the loser would hang up. One time, BC and Saskatchewan were playing a play-off game and they were flying somewhere together. We thought one of them would be pushed out mid-air because their rivalry was so strong. They say opposites attract. This was true with Grandpa and Grandma. Grandpa was known to be VERY IMPATIENT. Grandma was the complete opposite. She had the patience to teach Amanda how to make the perfect pie crust at age 5. (Meanwhile Auntie Brenda was throwing her crust against the wall because she couldn’t get it right). Grandma loved to bake but always worried about cooking meals for company. She saved her favorite trick for her three children. She would hide liver or turnips in her famous stews and hope no one would notice, but they did. She was the buffer between Grandpa and the kids whenever the yearly BC trips happened. Grandpa would tell Larry, Brian and Brenda there would be no stops until they hit BC. Grandma would tell Grandpa she had to go potty so her kids could have a break from trying not to touch each other’s seat. Even though Grandma was patient, her kids tested her at times. At one time, Grandpa was burning brush and my dad thought he should help build more fires. He sent Brian in to Grandma to get some matches. Larry had told Brian that if he didn’t come back with the matches he would get beat up. Grandma actually spanked Larry. Another time, when Grandma was suffering from an abscessed tooth, the boys decided to walk to Jimmy’s for a visit during a blizzard warning. Needless to say, both had their bottoms spanked. Grandma collected coins. She loved to roll up quarters and loonies. When enough were saved, she rolled them up and gave them to her grandkids or great grandkids. Everyone played with Grandma’s coins up on her bed. It was like they had found treasure. It entertained them for hours. Grandma loved her farm pets. They had cows, pigs, chickens and dogs. She would help the kids walk past the aggressive roosters by fending them off with a hockey stick. Auntie Brenda made pets of all the chickens but was upset with Grandma when her beloved “Humpyback” was served on a platter and she recognized the bump in the chicken’s back. They also had cats but Grandma didn’t like them. Some of the names were Pukey Pukey and Wooley Wooley. In later years, she would curse as the neighbor cats used her flower garden for their bathroom. Brenda and Brian would try to pose a cat statue strategically behind Grandma in the background for pictures when she didn’t know. Some stories from her earlier days were brought up. Grandma didn’t like to drive. She always let Grandpa be behind the wheel. Maybe it started after she rolled the car on their honeymoon. When they got engaged, Grandpa was living in Ontario and Grandma was in BC. Grandpa mailed her the engagement ring and Grandma was teased so much that she went out to the outhouse to get some quiet time and admire her new ring. Good thing she didn’t drop it. Their love letters are still in a box waiting to be read. Grandma said we will be surprised to see how romantic Grandpa was. Grandpa and Grandma loved to travel. Besides the BC trips and sunny destinations, they travelled with their motorhome. They would often park up north and fish. Grandkids accompanied them on some of these special trips. Brenda had warned Grandma not to feed Bradley hot dogs or orange pop. Grandma ignored her and Brad christened their brand-new motor home when he threw up his meal. Grandma loved gambling so much that when she set up her purple shield to make all her wishes known for her funeral, she listed the casino and her favorite slot machine under the Likes and Interests. She was thrilled when the casino bus pickup was set up just across the street from her. Many trips were made to the Gold Eagle with friends and family. She traveled to Vegas as well. The last time was after Grandpa died. Her family and sister Shirley joined her. That was quite the adventure with two 80 something ladies, one blind and both hard of hearing. Grandma was pretty technologically advanced for her age. She used her computer to keep in touch with family and friends. Later when she got her tablet for a Christmas present, she was a little more reliant on grandkids to help her out. Often a family member would get a phone call to ask how to get on Facebook or her email. And each family member knew all her passwords so they could help her out. But it was pretty amazing how she never had any problem getting into her casino games on the tablet. She also struggled with her hearing aids, their remotes and the TV remotes. Her friends were an important part of her life. The neighbors were frequent visitors both on the farm and in town. Lifelong friendships developed. Coffee row, birthday coffees, dances, weddings, etc. were frequented. Everywhere she went her face would light up with her famous smile when she met someone she knew. Last but not least, was the love for her family. As you saw in the slideshow, there was always a child on her knee. She was the cuddly Grandma and the one who loved to tease. She happily babysat any time until she didn’t have the strength anymore. She awaited each birth of her Grandbabies and Great Grandbabies with excitement. She had a special bond with each of us. Never wanting anyone to worry about her, she tried to keep living as if she wasn’t ill. When she went to Anne’s she made the decision herself. She told Brenda that she would phone Anne and if there was a room available, she would go. Brenda sat with her while she made the call and had to laugh when she heard Grandma say “Oh shit. There’s a room.” But she never took back her promise. She loved it there. When she went into the hospital Emma thought it was because Grandma was going to have a baby. Emma was disappointed when no baby showed up. Grandma, you will be missed, but you are at peace. We will meet again some day.