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Imogen Joyce Pizzey

October 6, 1924 ~ February 5, 2019 (age 94)

Imogen Joyce Pizzey (nee White) was the daughter of George Wilfred White who was a veteran of World War I and Agnes Amy White (nee Ilott) who served as the organist at St. Matthews Anglican Church (Binscarth) for 25 years. Both of Imogen’s parents immigrated to Binscarth, MB, Canada from Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK. Imogen never personally met her grandparents, her aunts or her uncles but she had seven brothers and sisters whom she loved dearly: Arthur White (Ottawa, ON-deceased), Joan Charles (Rathwell, MB-deceased),  Bernard White (Carmen, MB, formerly of Binscarth),  Muriel Scarrow (Rivers, MB-deceased), Leslie White (Brandon), Phyllis Shaw (Estevan, SK-deceased) and Gordon White (Brandon-deceased).  Imogen’s family lived on the old Binscarth highway where her parents owned and operated the gas station. When Highway 16 (Yellowhead Route) was built, her family moved to where the current Binscarth service station is located. To this day, an evergreen tree marks the place where her childhood home stood.  Imogen often recounted how she lost a shoe as a child in the gravel pit on the old highway and how her siblings and her would sneak drinks that their father chilled in the cool water spring that ran under the Binscarth railroad bridge.  She recalled how her older brother, Bernie, yelled “Get that cat out of this house!” when their mother gave birth to brother Gordon in their home. She often reminisced about  how her seven siblings and her would walk to school using the railway tracks to orient themselves on blustery winter days.  She lived through  the depression, and many times dug potatoes and cut vegetables to share with needy strangers passing by.  Imogen White married Murray Pizzey from Foxwarren on January 25, 1944.  Murray’s family had earlier moved to Manitoba from England (paternal side) and Ireland (maternal side) as preachers, teachers and furniture makers. Upon homesteading, the Pizzey family built Balmerino School and Balmerino Church, the latter being furnished with hard-carved pews and altar. Imogen cared for the church and mowed the graveyard’s grass for most of her adult life. Murray had seven brothers and sisters who also were very close to Imogen:  James Pizzey (Foxwarren-deceased), Mary Edwards (Binscarth-deceased), Ethel Watt (Binscarth-deceased), Norman Pizzey (Foxwarren-deceased), Lawrence Pizzey (Foxwarren-deceased), Allan Pizzey (Foxwarren-deceased) and Melba Carter (Lac du Bonnet, MB-deceased).  When Murray and Imogen were first married, Murray worked on the L. R. Ryan farm and drove children to school with a team of horses and sleigh. Imogen and Murray’s first child, Calvin Murray Pizzey (deceased), was born on January 8, 1945.  In Calvin’s early years, the couple  purchased the Souch farm and, a little later, a quarter-section across the creek from the original Pizzey homestead, which was on the same side of the creek as the Redmond (maternal family) homestead. Over ten years later, on June 15, 1955, Imogen and Murray’s second child, Cheryl Joyce Pizzey (now Craig) was born. Imogen assumed responsibility for driving the school van when cars became the mode of transportation. She was totally devoted to her spouse, her children, her extended family and her communities (Foxwarren & Binscarth).  She studied with Calvin after hockey games and worked with Cheryl into the night making certain assignments were well done.  On weekends, she prepared delicious meals for extended family members and friends.  Also, when Imogen visited others, she always arrived with food in hand. Her home was a place of love and laughter. On weekdays during the harvest season, she cooked feasts that she then delivered to the field.  Nearly everyone in the community benefited from Imogen’s generosity. She sold tickets for every conceivable charity or club, most especially the Foxwarren Fat Stock Show, the 4-H Club and the Canadian Legion as she was a lifetime member.  Imogen also spearheaded the fund-raiser for the Foxwarren sign recognizing the community’s NHL hockey players. Many have declared that if Imogen Pizzey could not rally support for a cause, no one could. She was always the first to help anyone in need, particularly females who lost their spouses and needed to provide for their families. She also aided the elderly, the disabled, the downtrodden and children. She was a socially just human being before the term was invented.  Imogen’s cooking and baking were legendary, particularly her pie crusts.  During  Foxwarren’s centenary, Imogen arose at 6:00 am to bake for a visitor who divulged that her lemon meringue pie was his best hometown memory.  Her great grandchildren, Dawson Barteaux (Red Deer, AB) and Aynika Craig (The Woodlands, TX), would heartily agree, with their favorite kind being Great-Grandma’s saskatoon pie.  Imogen Pizzey played a very active and present role in raising all of her grandchildren: Jacki Barteaux (Foxwarren), Tracy Pizzey (Foxwarren), Marica Pizzey (Brandon) and Kirt Pizzey (Virden), along with Jeffrey Craig (The Woodlands, TX) for three weeks in the summer. She will be remembered as a fun-loving Grandma, Great-Grandma, Aunt and Mother. Jacki remembers tea parties on the lawn with painted tree stumps; Tracy remembers the dozens of perogies her Grandma made for her siblings and friends; Marcia remembers Grandma entering into baking competitions with her (Grandma’s rolling pin is now prominently displayed in a shadow box in Marica’s kitchen); Kirt remembers Grandma’s red lipstick and playing cards with her (with Grandma always putting her own spin on the rules); and Jeff remembers Grandma turning her back on the waves in Hawaii and her crediting his Mother (Cheryl Craig) with “saving her life.”  Madison Barteaux (Foxwarren) dearly misses her beloved “Candy-Nanny.” So do Ryley Pizzey (Virden) and Carter Pizzey (Virden). Imogen’s niece, Donna Simard (nee Pizzey), recalls a hilarious Hallowe’en trick Aunt Imy and her played on her betrothed (Jean Maria Simard) and his family. Imogen’s many other nieces and nephews have special tales to tell of their own. And Cheryl, Imogen’s daughter, will never forget her Mom’s English rose complexion, the soft texture of her skin and her hard-working hands. Imogen Pizzey will be fondly remembered as a one-in-a-million person, an individual who lived her life with incredible zest and unforgettable character.  Imogen Pizzey will be laid to rest beside Murray Pizzey and Calvin Pizzey at Balmerino Cemetery, the family burial site.  In addition to her daughter Cheryl Craig, her two brothers, her grandchildren (along with spouses David Barteaux [Jacki] and Cherilyn Pizzey [Kirt]) and her great grandchildren, she leaves behind daughter-in-law, Donna Pizzey (Foxwarren), son-in-law, Bruce Craig (The Woodlands), three sisters-in-law, Ardena (Pizzey) Page (Russell), Dorothy (Watt) White (Brandon) and Gail (Smith) White (Brandon), a multitude of  nieces and nephews and a legion of friends near-and-far.  


Donations may be made to:

St. Matthew's Anglican Church
~, Binscarth MB R0J 0G0

Sunnyside Manor Personal Care Home
~, Birtle MB R0M 0C0

Foxwarren Fat Stock Show
~, Foxwarren MB R0J 0G0


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