Mom was born in Wroxton, SK to Fred and Doris Derbowka, the second of four children. She died peacefully in the early morning at Fairview Personal Care Home in Brandon on January 3, 2021.
She had many wonderful stories about her early years in Wroxton, surrounded by much extended family. Her siblings were very close, and there are many photos of those fun years, both on the farm and at Madge Lake. They sold the farm, and moved around a bit, finally settling in Russell.
After she finished school, she worked in Winnipeg for a couple of years and returned and married Ed Penonzek on June 18, 1953 at St. Theresa Church in Rossburn. They lived on the farm in Cracknell and raised their two children Barry and Vivian.
She loved every aspect of life on the farm. She grew a huge garden and patiently tried to keep ahead of the portulaca, hauling pails and pails of the stuff off and into the burning barrel. She was proud to continue to grow a variety of dried bean that her grandparents had brought with them from Ukraine. The variety was unnamed but has come to be known as ‘Derbowka’ beans and is still being grown.
The summer months kept her very busy with meals, both in the house and on the field, along with the normal household chores. She was always eager to try new recipes, loved baking and storing her garden produce. Many hours were spent foraging for berries and mushrooms…she loved telling of the time she and the kids, along with Grandma Penonzek, got chased by a bull out in the pasture. They found quick shelter in an old house and when the men came in for supper and there was none to be had, they were finally rescued.
The cold storage room was always full of gleaming jars of jams, jellies, pickles, and vegetables, and she always had a heaping pile of potatoes. The freezers were packed to the brim with vegetables and baking, although she often found empty containers of dainties and cookies thanks to Barry, who had discovered the joy of frozen goodies. Watching her make perogies and cabbage rolls was almost magical! Her long slender fingers pinched and rolled them so quickly…she was like a machine. It was a beautiful thing to watch!
In her younger married years, she was involved with the CWL at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Russell, 4H, knitting and crocheting, curling, and volunteering at the Inglis Rink. She also helped milk and feed cattle until Barry was old enough to take over. After they retired to town, she volunteered with Meals on Wheels and the Thrift Store. She also spent much of her time trying to keep up with Ed, reading, walking, quilting, playing canasta and she really enjoyed the visiting involved with these activities. They also began camping – first at Madge Lake and then later at Rossman Lake. Summers still had her maintaining the garden on the farm and feeding men until Barry got married.
After Ed’s death, she moved first to Portage, and then to Brandon. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband Ed, her brothers Bill, and Mike (Arlene), brother-in-law Al Wolfe, in-laws Dan and Dorothy Penonzek, and Ed’s sister Wanda (Lawrence Gandza). She is survived, and will be deeply missed, by her children Barry (Shawna) and Vivian (Cal Jackson); grandchildren Daniel, Chase, and step-granddaughter Susan (Matthew; Louis, Adam, and Natalie). She is also survived by her sister Anne Wolfe, sister-in-law Mary Derbowka, and many nieces and nephews.
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