Viola Insley

Viola Insley

1922 - 2006

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Viola

Obituary of Viola Insley

Viola Insley passed away at Bethesda Hospital on Friday, September 15th, 2006 at the age of 84. Loving memories of Vi are shared by her brothers, Rollin and Elma Reimer of Steinbach and Howard and Brigitte Reimer of Kelowna; brothers-in-law Art and Wilma Kroeker of Winnipeg and Chris Christenson of Chicago; fourteen nieces and nephews and their children. She was predeceased by her husband, Morris, parents, Jacob F. and Justina Reimer, two sisters, Romelda Kroeker and Kathy Christenson, and brother Wesley. Vi was born June 22, 1922 in Steinbach. She was the oldest of five children which meant taking responsibility for necessary tasks in a family struggling to make ends meet in difficult times. Growing up on Hanover Street, she enjoyed school, friends and a large extended family. A number of her childhood friendships were renewed in the 1980’s when she moved back to Steinbach after living elsewhere for more than forty years, and they continued until her death. Vi’s happy memories of her childhood included visits with aunts and uncles. She particularly enjoyed visiting her Uncle Jimmy and Auntie Agnes on a large sheep farm near Domain. For most of one year, while she recovered from spinal meningitis, she lived during the week with her Taunte Anna near what is now the post office, and at home on the weekends. Her brother Rollin pulled her on a toboggan between the two homes. This arrangement allowed her to resume school while she regained strength. After graduating from school in Steinbach, Vi moved to Winnipeg to work as a secretary. During WW II, she took a job in Fort William, where she met Morris Insley. They were married there in 1947. Later they moved to Dartmouth, NS for a few years and for many years lived in Ottawa. Morris worked in the defence industry and for the Government of Canada. In Ottawa, Vi worked as a school secretary in the 1960’s and 70’s. She and Morris enjoyed travel and golf together, and frequently came to Manitoba for family visits. In 1980, Morris and Vi moved to Steinbach. Despite his poor health, they enjoyed caring for their home, entertaining friends, several car trips and family gatherings. She and Morris enjoyed being close to their Manitoba family. These years were particularly meaningful for Vi’s relationship with her parents after living far away for so many years. After Morris’ death in 1985, Vi continued living on Autumnwood Drive until her move to a condominium on Stonebridge Crossing in 2003. She took advantage of opportunities to learn and grow, continued to travel and maintained a welcoming and gracious home. She took several long car trips in Canada and the US, visiting siblings, nieces and nephews and old friends, with whom she also kept up regular correspondence. Trips to Europe and the UK were highlights of these years. The memories of these travels and a lifetime of friendships and experience helped sustain Vi through the months of her final illness. She often expressed gratitude for the richness of her life and the people in it. She loved photography and the collection of pictures she took during her travels and closer to home reinforced the happy memories. Some of her beautiful photos will remain in our homes to remind us of Vi. Vi had many good friends whose caring and support she appreciated, especially in these last few months. She in turn was a valued companion and could be relied on for informed opinion and a genuine interest in others’ lives and activities. These qualities she also brought to her relationship with her family. Her brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, their spouses and children, all had a special place in her heart. Vi enjoyed being part of this community and contributing to it. She was a long time subscriber to the Steinbach Cultural Arts series and looked forward to evenings of drama and symphonic and other music. Regular attendance at WSO concerts also fed this passion. Younger family members could count on an annual invitation to join Vi at one of the concerts, and she considered a cultural evening to be incomplete if it didn’t include dessert. Vi was a faithful and active member of the United Church of Steinbach. She was challenged and strengthened there in her relationship with God through the ministry of pastors and relationships with fellow members. She found further outlets for her interest and energies by serving as a member of the Friends of the Library and as a volunteer with the Mennonite Heritage Museum. Vi enjoyed knitting and crocheting throughout her life; she made many beautiful and complex sweater sets. Vi began a lifelong interest in birds and birding as a young woman, a passion she shared with her mother and sister. The bird book was always handy and the feeder always tended. She enjoyed driving around southern Manitoba to catch a glimpse of rare birds, and loved to be able to say when particular songbirds had made an appearance in her back yard on Autumnwood Drive. Vi was much loved and will be remembered as an interesting and interested woman. She was determined to live fully and was not shy about expressing herself. She lived with cancer for many years and endured her last illness with grace and courage. A few days before her death, she said she was looking forward to a “family reunion”. She always loved them. We will miss her. Our family would like to thank Vi’s friends who were with her in the last few months, and especially her last days, in the hospital. Thank you to the doctors and nurses, hospital staff and chaplain, and the Home Care and Palliative Care program people who cared for Vi. The Community Cancer Program people were much appreciated by Vi for their care over many years. A viewing will be held at the Steinbach United Church, Tuesday, September 19 at 7 pm with a devotional and sharing at 7:30. The funeral will be Wed, Sept 20 at 2 p.m. at Birchwood Funeral Chapel with interment at the Heritage Cemetery. A light lunch will follow. Donations in Vi’s memory may be made to South Eastman Palliative Care Program, Box 88; St. Pierre, MB R0A 1V0