October 28, 1925 – March 20, 2021
Mom was born on October 28, 1925 in Meadow Lake, SK to Fredrick and Lydia Morgenstern. She grew up in the Bear Creek District in a small 12’x16’ log home. Mom was the second oldest in a family of eight children in this order: Wilfred, Mom, Kae Campbell, Charlie, Oscar, Noella Warring, Larry and John. I can only imagine the hard times back in those days. All of the blood, sweat and tears that were shed growing up is something that we all take for granted now, and even more so as times move forward to the present day.
As Helen grew up, there was this young fellow that caught her eye. Well, Mom had pretty good eyes back then, and as time went on, Mom and this gentleman grew closer together, and were married on November 3, 1943, shortly after turning 18 years old. This gentleman I am referring to is our father William Seymour. Mom and Dad went on to have five children over the span of almost 21 years. Garfield was born in 1945, Barbara in 1951, Judy in 1954, Bernard in 1959 and yours truly (Merlin) in 1966. They were strict, but very loving parents, and would do anything to help us out if needed.
Raising their family on a small mixed farm, where grandson Fred now lives, was demanding not only to Dad, but Mom as well. Long hours of cutting the trees on the homestead, clearing the land, and picking roots and rocks were endless. As the youngest in the family, I was fortunate to be able to reap the benefits of their hard work. We always had a chicken coop full of roosters and hens, providing our family with fresh eggs. As well as the annual butchering day of 50-60 birds so we always had food for the table. Mom would pick eggs twice a day, and over the years had gained many a loyal customer buying the extra eggs, so there would be a little money to buy necessities in town. Pigs were another familiar sight on the farm. It was the best way to get rid of scraps and weeds from the garden. Speaking of gardens, Mom and Dad always had a huge garden. If I remember correctly, they planted about 500 hills of potatoes, 1/4 mile of carrots, 1/4 mile of corn and then corresponding amounts of cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, lettuce, and turnips. Oh, did I mention the chokecherries, strawberries and amazing raspberry patch. This was enough fresh veggies to keep the family going through the winter months as well after blanching and canning for days on end. Cows. We didn’t have a lot of cows, but always had fresh beef canned or frozen. This is where mom excelled. She would head out to the pasture to bring the cows home to be milked twice a day. I don’t know how many thousands of gallons of milk she drew with her hands.
Mom and Dad were never big travellers, but made the long trek to Innisfail, AB at least twice a year to visit Barb and Darwyn. Maybe a trip or two to Grande Prairie to visit Judy and I remember one trip to the west coast to visit Uncle Bob and Aunt Irene Seymour. On special occasions, when there wasn’t work to be done, Mom and Dad would go up to the lake to visit family that were up camping.
In the spring of 1985, Mom became a widow. It was very hard on her, as you can imagine, as Mom never did have a driver’s license and was either always at home or having to rely on family to get her from place to place. She enjoyed being out at Waterhen Lake with Barb and Darwyn when they were camping. This is where the next phase in our Mom’s life began. A longtime family friend, and widower, Harold Lingel, became a close friend to Mom and were spending more and more time together. At first it was hard on me, but after realizing how happy they were together, I knew that this was the best for Mom. Mom and Harold were married on August 31, 1991. They spent days and days camping and fishing and enjoying each others company.
After Harold’s passing, Mom was to the point where she was requiring a little care, and was able to move into the enriched housing section in the lodge. She flourished there, as she did not have to worry about having to cook meals, doing yard work and getting out to visit. She made many friends in her time in enriched housing. She made a point of attending numerous activities at the lodge, especially when Uncle Wilfred and Dennis were playing music. She was also an avid Bingo player and won prizes on a regular occasion, but when she didn’t win she was quite pissed at the other players that were cheating. She always enjoyed the company of her children, grand children and various nieces and nephews whenever they had an opportunity to stop in.
Barb and I always took the opportunity to have Mom over to our home for Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving days.
Mom’s health declined a couple years ago, but her stubborn German heritage enabled her to get feeling better for quite some time. The end of February saw her stubbornness come through again, as she began refusing to eat, and take her medication. Her spirits were good for the most part, and her mind was sharp until just a few days before her death.
I will miss you mom! Love you! Enjoy your final resting place in heaven!
With that, I have asked each of the children to share a few of their memories of Mom. Being the youngest, I was told by the others that I have to to do the talking.
Garfield: Our mother was a very hard-working person with no modern appliances and very little money. She worked at milking five or six cows twice a day to get cream to sell in order to purchase a few necessities for cooking and baking for her family.
She raised five children alongside her husband Bill and did a wonderful job of it, always putting her family first. She was very happy to get electricity in the house in the early 1960s.
For many years she grew a big garden, canning beef and chicken because there were no deep freezes in those days.
I could go on forever praising this wonderful mother right to the end. Love you Mom and may you rest in peace.
Barbara: One time while Mom and I were having one of our extended phone conversations, she was telling me that while she was working at the Four Corners Store, she began her hope chest. The most memorable item I can think of was a milk pail! She must have had her eye on a farmer! Milking cows became her meditation time. After all, raising five kids she needed some time to herself!
Later on in life, she adapted very well to camping. She looked forward to her little camping trips to “THE LAND”. Going for a stroll across the yard, watching the cows grazing across the fence, and listening to the birds and squirrels. And I often took her a pot of flowers for her to fuss with. She loved the great outdoors!
Judy: Mom was a wonderful mother. She was very devoted to our family and we were all loved unconditionally. Reflecting on growing up, she managed to tirelessly grow a huge garden; making sure to preserve a variety of vegetables, jams, pickles and fruits to last the winter.
There were countless warm chocolate cakes for a snack when we got off the bus. Mom always prepared a large supper, often with a big pot of chocolate pudding to top it off – that usually cooled on the step. Mom was a very hard worker, as this was all done besides caring for all the animals.
A couple days before Mom passed away, I again thanked her for everything she had done for us and how it must have been hard for her… especially raising us five brats.. she said “oh it wasn’t bad.” Rest in peace Mom, Grandma, Great Grandma. We love you. You will be missed.
Bernard: Just remembering how hard she worked to take care of her family! Like days when she would shell peas and chop up carrots and have mounds of them on the table, often packing up over 100 freezer bags of vegetables in one day. And laundry day, when so many loads were put through the old ringer and hauled out to dry on the clothesline.
Then there was bread baking day. A huge pan full of dough that she would punch down and make 10 loaves of yummy bread, which she would lather in butter when they were done. And she would always offer to eat the crust when nobody else wanted it because she said she liked that part best!
When we would come in from outside in the winter and put our cold hands on her neck, she always said, “oh, that feels so good! Put them on my back.” Last time we were here, I put my cold hands on her neck and she looked up and said, “I just love that!”
And how many years did she get up and milk the cows at 6 am and again at night so we could have milk on our cereal or with a slice of bread with a dollop of sugar? And how many eggs did she gather and clean and sell? (or let Barbara and Judy wash their dollies faces with!)
Helen is lovingly remembered, missed and survived by her five children: Son: Garfield (Verna) Seymour; Grandchildren: Lawrence (Kelly) and Fred (Dayna); Great Grandchildren: William, Christian (Destiny), Sarah (Dallen), Bryn and Layla; Great Great Grandchildren: Milo, Ava and Willow. Daughter: Barbara (Darwyn) Beedle; Grandchildren: Michelle (Chris) Pickard and James Beedle; Great Grandchildren: Jordan (Joel), and Jeffrey (Sacha). Daughter: Judy Cooney (Larry Albert); Grandchildren: Joleen (Jason) Carbert, Jenn (Mark) Hawryliw and Janelle Gardiner; Great Grandchildren: Madeline Harris (Jared), Ayden Svandrlik, Rylen Svandrlik, Ryler Hawryliw, Halle Hawryliw, Sadie Gardiner and Spencer Gardiner. Son: Bernie (Susan) Seymour; Granddaughter: Vanessa (Colin) Jensen; Great Grandchildren: Ella and Westyn. Son: Merlin (Barb) Seymour; Grandchildren: Megan (Brooks) Johnson and Brenna. Sister: Kae Campbell. Brother: Oscar (Paula) Morgenstern.
She was predeceased by her Husband: William Seymour; Second Husband: Harold Lingel; Son-in-law: John Cooney.
The pallbearers were Lawrence Seymour, Fred Seymour, James Beedle, Jason Carbert, Vanessa Jensen and Brenna Seymour. The honorary pallbearers were the remainder of the grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.
Card of Thanks
We the family of Helen would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to everyone for the phone calls, cards, messages of condolences, food, and flowers; Darcy and Keltie from J. E. Thomas Funeral Home and Crematorium and Glenna Cryderman from the Salvation Army for officiating. Thank you to Megan for the slide show presentation and Brenna for putting together the music selection for the service. Thank you to the staff and nurses at the Northland Pioneer Lodge for the loving care given to our Mom.