Obituary of Leola Christine Aitkenhead
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Leola Aitkenhead, our mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, sister-in-law, cousin, and friend.
Leola leaves to mourn her four surviving children Michelle (Phil Cyrenne), Mark, Meiko Heartsong, and Valerie (Jesse Schierholtz); grandchildren Tyler Schierholtz (Michelle), Nicolas Cyrenne, Alex Cyrenne, Danielle, Nicole (Dan Hawthorne),Thomas; great grandchildren Keira, Olivia, Isabelle, Stella, Amelia and Charlotte; siblings Donald (Rosalind), Claude (Carolee), Valerie Brown, Vivianne Penner (Reinhard), George (Louise), Marie Wadelius (Chris), Angela Wadelius (Kevin); brother-in-law Roland Bernard; the extended Aitkenhead family; Joyce Gittins, Carol Bendera(Eugene), Ross Aitkenhead (Connie); and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Leola was predeceased by her parents Leo and Aurore Despins; her loving husband William; beloved son Kevin; sister Rolande Bernard; brother-in-law Wayne Brown; sister-in-law Connie Belanger and brother-in-law Ashley Belanger; brother-in-law Harold Aitkenhead and sister-in-law Hildur Aitkenhead; brother-in-law Richard Gittins; brother-in-law Jimmy Aitkenhead.
Leola had a wonderful family life growing up in The Pas Manitoba. She admired and learned from both of her parents who were hard working, musical, creative, and caring. Her mother was a furrier and a homemaker extraordinaire. Her father worked at CNR and loved to hunt and fish to provide for the family. She came from a generation that understood the value of not being wasteful and she carried that forward in her life and to her family.
She met her husband Bill while working at Royal Bank in The Pas and they were soon married and began their life together. Whether they lived in Kenora, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, or Kitchener/Waterloo, they were always involved in the community and they made many lifelong friends along the way. After raising their family of five children, Leola and Bill enjoyed traveling with family and friends and being part of Rotary until Bill passed in 1999.
She was an avid gardener and enjoyed working in her yard creating beautiful spaces for all to enjoy. Leola was fearless and would always reach out to new people; she genuinely enjoyed meeting people and having new experiences. Her greatest joy was her grandchildren and she made sure she had time with them whether she was living in Ontario or back in Winnipeg. She enjoyed being part of all their activities whenever possible. The grandkids always knew that she was their #1 fan no matter what the sport or activity.
In the past 10 years, she was blessed with six great granddaughters. She never tired of hearing about what they were up to in their young lives.
Leola was a natural caregiver and she never hesitated to put her life aside when help was needed. Her friends and family knew her as selfless, dedicated, and loyal. The legacy she leaves is one of compassion for others and self-sacrifice. She always went the extra mile. She set the bar high for her children as parents, community members and caregivers. Over her later years with various health struggles, her family marveled at how she kept going, stayed positive, active, and involved. She loved her family and enjoyed their phone calls and visits till the end.
In lieu of flowers, if so desired, donations can be made in Leola’s memory to the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg.
Even when the heart falls silent, we do not cease to be. Leola may be gone, but she is an inspiration and will live on in our memories.
A celebration of Leola's life will be at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, 603 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg on December 10, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.