Peacefully at home, with her family at her side, our beloved wife, mother and nana Loretta Burtnyk passed away on December 30, 2020 at the age of 85 years.
Left to mourn Loretta’s passing is her beloved husband of 65 years Gene; son Kerry (Patti); daughter Kim Burtnyk-Marriott; grandchildren Rachel Burtnyk, Laura Burtnyk and Brittney Hellemann (Derek); and great-granddaughter Kaliah Hellemann. Also remembering Loretta is her sister Brenda Reishus (Warren); and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Loretta was predeceased in life by her parents William and Zetta Berkis; brothers Rudy, Andrew, Ken, Nelson and Elmer; and sisters Helen, Lydia and Hilda.
Loretta was born in Fork River, Manitoba on February 23, 1935. Growing up in the country, she was very involved in 4H, eventually earning the title of 4H Queen. She also developed an early love of sports, and would continue to enjoy being active throughout her life. As a girl, Loretta was also a majorette.
Eventually Loretta came to Winnipeg to attend teacher’s college, where she would meet the love of her life, Gene, who was also a student at the college. The couple were married on August 4, 1955 in Gene’s hometown, Ethelbert, Manitoba. The newlywed pair of young teachers settled into a new home and life together in Tilston, Manitoba and had two children; Kerry and Kim. The family would soon move again to Glenboro, then to Thompson, followed by a year in Bemidji, Minnesota before finally settling back in Winnipeg.
In Winnipeg, Loretta continued to work part-time as a substitute elementary teacher. She remained very involved in sports and was an avid curler and softball player. She was also a great golfer, capturing the city championship. Growing up, Loretta’s love of sports reflected onto her children and she was an incredibly supportive curling mom.
Loretta enjoyed taking her young family camping across Manitoba and western Canada during the summer months. When Gene retired in 1988, they purchased an RV and would travel throughout the southern United States during the winter months, staying frequently at their daughter Kim’s home in Florida.
In 1987, Loretta became a nana and a great-nana in 2019. She cherished her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Along with Papa, she really enjoyed taking care of her grandkids. Brittney would enjoy a “secret day” with nana, where she would be treated to something sweet at Robin’s. Rachel and Laura would have an enthusiastic audience in Nana whenever they performed a home play for her. Just as she was for her children, Loretta was always very supportive of her grandchildren’s sporting activities. If there was a curling event or soccer game, she would be there cheering in the stands.
Loretta was a very positive, vibrant person that always saw the glass as “half full”. An incredibly sociable person, people were drawn to her.
The family thanks the palliative and home care staff who helped us through this difficult time. Special thanks are also extended to the staff at the Grace hospital 3 south, Dr. K. Heinrichs, and Dr. P. Harris. The family is also thankful to Lori McMIllan and all the staff at River Ridge Retirement Residence.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to CancerCare Manitoba in Loretta’s memory.
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