January 3, 1924 – October 15, 2018
Emily Ratke was born on January 3, 1924 to the parents of Anthanas and Katherine Kulczycki, on the family farm near Glaslyn, Saskatchewan. She was the tenth child of fourteen. In 1928, at the age of four, her family moved from Glaslyn to settle in the Meadow River District on the farm, which is presently owned by Glenn and Val Dennis. The family farmed, raised cattle and operated a saw mill.
At a young age Emily worked very hard on the farm picking roots and stoking bundles. Emily was 10 years old when she started school, but eventually quit school to return to help on the farm. Emily moved to Wilkie and worked at the Co-op store there for a brief period. Following that she moved to Toronto and worked at a grocery store for one year. When she received word that her Father was ill, she returned home to help on the farm.
Her Dad passed away Nov 1954. On July 10, 1958 Emily married Walter, whom she had met through her sister Olga, as Ralph and Walter were best friends from Biggar. In 1959 Patricia was born. In 1962 Garry was born. In 1965 the Ratke family moved from town to the farm where Garry still resides today. While on the farm, Emily spent her time cooking, cleaning, canning and baking. When she got tired of all the housework, she would love to go outside and cut grass.
One day she sent Walter to town to buy a new lawn mower. He came home with a self-propelled push mower. Walter took it out of the pickup, and started it and said here is your new lawn mower. Emily pushed it out to the highway and back and told Walter that this lawn mower is harder to push than the old one. So Walter said no it is not. I can push it out there and back with one hand, which he did. So Emily tried it again. This time she told Walter to take it back. Walter said all you have to do is hold this lever down and it moves by itself. Emily was not happy and went back in to the house. Walter went back to the shop where his friend had been watching all the time. Emily wore out many lawn mowers over the years, and the last few years her lawn mowers just got smaller.
During the winters Emily and Walter were busy. They went to many dances, played cards, coached hockey, and took Patricia to music lessons. They were involved in 4H with Garry. Emily was involved in the Church, often attending meetings and baking for bake sales.
When the snow started to melt in the spring, Emilys anxiety would start to take over and it motivated Walter to get out into the field. In 1974, when Walter won the truck and camper, their lives changed. They spent time in the summer travelling to BC to pick fruit and then haul it home to can, or to go fishing up north with family and friends.
One particular trip they were driving through a construction zone and Emily was in the back of the camper sleeping. The traffic had shopped for a considerable time and unknown to Walter, Emily got out of the camper to see what was happening. At that very moment, the traffic started to move again and Emily was left standing in the middle of the road. Some miles later a vehicle pulled up along side Walter and the kids and there was a person waving frantically in the vehicle. At first Walter did not recognize the person and kept driving. When Walter realized it was Emily, he stopped. Walter thought it was funny, and Emily did not.
Summers were always busy with flowers and the garden. Fall was her most favorite time of the year when she could get on the combine and harvest.
Emily loved her three grandsons. She was always firm with them and meant business. When the boys would come to stay with Grandpa and Grandma, Emily would phone Patricia and say these boys are starved. Don’t you feed them?
After Patricia and I bought the drugstore, Walter and Emily would arrive in Lacombe on December 1 and she spent many hours cooking, making lunches, doing laundry, Christmas baking and enjoying the kid’s school and Christmas programs. She never missed coming to Lacombe to celebrate the boy’s birthdays and important milestones in their lives. It was sad to see Walter and Emily leave on December 26th to go home for a rest.
In 2001, Joel and Mitchell went to Germany with the Red Deer Royals Marching Show Band. Emily, Patricia and I travelled together to Germany to watch the competitions. Emily was the oldest member of the tour group at the age of 77. Emily would always trigger the airport security alarms. She could never figure out why, until she was told that it was her titanium knees. Emily wore out two sets of knees.
Walter was a very social person and invited many people into their home. Emily was always prepared with a home cooked meal from the garden and a desert from the fruit she picked. Walter passed away in 2009, Emily continued to come out to the farm to cook, clean and mow grass.
After she was no longer allowed to drive, she relied upon Garry to take her everywhere. Even up until this fall, when Garry took her picking blueberries.
Emily means industrious, striving, and hard working.
She was a true example of this and lived her life to the fullest up to the very last minutes of her life. She will be sadly missed.
Emily is survived by daughter: Patricia (Eric) Eaton; son: Garry Ratke; grandchildren: Joel, Mitchell and Nathan (Yvette); great grandchild: Emma Grace Eaton. She is also survived by her two sisters-in-law: Ann Kulczycki and Joyce Ratke; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Emily was predeceased by her husband: Walter Ratke; her parents: Anthanas and Katherine Kulczycki; nine brothers and four sisters. Funeral services were held on November 3, 2018 at the Alliance Church with Reverend Wendel Brock officiating. Pallbearers were Joel, Mitchell, Nathan, Colin, Kyle and Kelsey Eaton. Internment followed at Woodlawn Cemetery.
Card of Thanks
We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all who cared for Emily, especially all the staff present at the hospital during her passing, to our families and friends for their support and generous acts of kindness during the recent loss of Emily. The flowers, cards, visits, food and phone calls meant so much to us. We would like to thank the ladies who helped with the lunch. And to everyone who attended the service, thank you. That was the greatest tribute to Emily’s life.
Eric, Patricia Eaton and family