Bertha Kurjata
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Obituary of Bertha Kurjata

With sorrowful hearts the family of Bertha Dawn “Bea” Kurjata announce her passing away on September 30, 2018, in Chetwynd, B.C., at the age of 95 years.


Bea was predeceased by her husband, Stanley Lawrence Kurjata on August 19, 1973. Our beloved Matriarch leaves to mourn their six children and three more generations of descendents including 15 grandchildren, 28 great grandchildren, and 6 great-great grandchildren.


Bea was born at home at the family homestead in North Bend Saskatchewan on April 11, 1923. Her parents, William Ward Campbell and Ruby Abigail (Howard) Campbell had settled on their farm after moving from Kansas, U.S.A.Bea was the youngest of three siblings; a brother, Fernando Franklin, born 1906, and a sister, Mary Joy born 1910.  She lived with her parents on the homestead throughout her early childhood and teens. 


In 1942 she met Stanley Kurjata and the couple married in October 21, 1944 at St Walburg, Saskatchewan.  Stan and Bea farmed in Saskatchewan from 1944 until 1955.  Five of their six children were born during their farming years there.  In 1955 the family moved to Little Prairie, B.C. and and Laurie was born at Pouce Coupe a few years later. 


Bea was an avid reader and loved music. She graduated from Toronto Royal Conservatory Grade 10 Piano and taught her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren piano. Much of her music, typing, and literary skills were self-taught or learned through old fashioned correspondence. From childhood and lifelong, Bea was a gifted and passionate writer and poet. She was a published poet Laureate and author of prose throughout her teen years.  She continued to write as an adult and won Peace River Arts Festival awards for several years for her talent in form and verse of various poetry categories. Locally, she is well known as Editor of the Saga of Little Prairie, a collected history of the Pioneers who settled this community and breathed life into it.


In the early 1970’s the demands of work took Stan from Chetwynd to Fort Nelson.  In 1972, Bea joined him there until his untimely death in August 1973.  She returned to their Chetwynd home later that fall.  Bea was employed as Teacher’s Aide at Chetwynd Secondary School on return home.  She later worked as Administrative Assistant at British Petroleum BP Oil and Gas in their Chetwynd office for 10 years until her retirement in 1988. 


Four of her six children reside in Chetwynd; William “Buzz” (Patsy) Kurjata; Julian “Chunky” (Debbie) Kurjata, Laurie (Calvin) Martin and Helene Ruth Kurjata.    Daughters Cathy (LeRoy) Vossler and Barbara (Gus) Arseneault live in Vanderhoof,B.C. and High Prairie, AB. respectively.


Above all, Bea loved her family and her whole world revolved around us.  She was always entertaining her entire family.  She treated everyone who came to her home like they were her family. She will be missed by all who knew her and remembered always with deep affection and great respect.



Following are a few of the many memories and reflections offered by friends and family members about Bea:


Caitlin & Mikaela  – great granddaughters

Words cannot describe how much we will miss you Grandma.

You were such an important woman in our lives. You taught us about etiquette, music, and God. You were beautiful and wise, and stubborn as a mule. You were a truly fascinating woman.

The last few months have been hard for you, so we are happy that you are finally at peace. We are so grateful for you and feel so blessed that our sons had the opportunity to meet you. We’ll always love you 


Michelle,Nichole , and Pj  – grandchildren

When we met for the first time 30 years ago, the first thing she said was "Hello, I'm Grandma Bea! Can I be your grandma?"  We can still feel the love from that day.  She loved us before she even knew us. That moment will always be with us. She taught us what it meant to be family and to love with no conditions: Rest in peace, Grandma. Our world won’t be the same withoutyou. You will always be loved, missed and never forgotten.


Edwin Martin – grandson

Grandma, I don't have the words to match the feelings, thoughts and memories that would describe the impact you have made on me…So many treasured memories… the gardens of fruit and vegetables; the pies on the window sill cooling. You were probably the only one who could get me to eat green beans. The way you made them was the best. You tried to teach me piano. Guess I had the working hands not the delicate ones. You taught me picking a carrot from the garden, wiping the dirt on my shirt and eating it was perfectly acceptable. Although my mother probably thought otherwise 

You will be missed but never forgotten.  I love you grandma. I hope you are in a happy place growing the best flowers and garden around!


Theresa Perkins – granddaughter

I remember her peaceful smile, her gentle ways, her loving words.  Grandma always had time for everyone, a meal for everyone and a place for everyone to sleep; you were always welcomed at Grandma's house. I remember as a kid, wandering through her flower garden, helping her set the table for family gatherings and doing the dishes with her.  I remember early summer mornings with grandma, talking with her one on one while she drank coffee and I, hot chocolate; I could tell her anything and she always had a way of making me feel that everything was going to be alright.   Grandma had a way about her, where things had to be so 'proper'; as a kid, I thought for sure grandma was the queen's sister! 


Kevin – grandson & family

Grandma, we know you are in an amazing place. A place you have spoken of so lovingly for so many years. We know you're happy. You, and your name, will always live on in all of us. We are grateful for the countless ways you have enriched our lives. Enjoy your rest, you deserve it. We love you! Forever and Always! God Bless!

Kevin, Coral, Brianna, Ryan, and Natalie Sophia Bea


Brad Wagner – grandson Much of what I learned from Grandma was from my teen years. Many of her lessons only became obvious to me later in life, but the compassion, knowledge and comfort Grandma lavished on us is what I will cherish and remember the most. 


Ward Wagner- grandson

Grandma made sure that her house was always a safe and welcome place to be. Anyone could drop in, at any time, and she would immediately ask if they were hungry, or thirsty, happy, or heartbroken.  Then she would head to the kitchen, and soon everything was much better.

There was always a big Christmas tree with a little gift for absolutely everyone under it. I don’t know how she managed all that! Rest well, Grandma! Go with our love!


Terry Martin Sr. – friend and neighbor

She was a really amazing person; someone you could always go to when you needed help.  She wrote me letters that I still keep.  One I carried around in my wallet until it wore out. She told me if I could just once glimpse my father sitting in his chair watching the traffic pass by I would be repaid a thousand times for the sacrifices I made for my folks. She made a huge difference in the lives of so many people, not just me.


Doug Evans – friend

I was closer to her than anyone – even my own Mom.  I don’t think I would be here right now if it wasn’t for her.  That’s how much she means to me. 


Gerry Scott –   I was so sorry to hear the news of Grandma. She was an incredible lady and she took us Scott boys in as her own. It was so nice to have a grandma again. I will always cherish her love and charismatic mind.


Bea was totally confined to bed for the last 3 months of her life.  She endured the sudden loss of her independence with extraordinary courage and valor.  She made the most of every day and treasured the presence of every visitor that called by her hospital room. Often she would quote poetry from memory and her listeners were moved to tears by the beauty and passion of her eloquent presentation.  As she looked out her window and drew in the splendor of the autumn leaves her voice quivered, a wistful longing chord and she shared her final dying wish…


Saskatchewan September – Bertha Campbell Kurjata

Let me go home to Saskatchewan in September

When the poplars blaze into gold and the hills are brown

The second cut of alfalfa perfuming the meadow

The combine’s clattering late tho’ the sun is down.


Let me wander the banks again in September

For the bittersweet smell of the fallen leaves, wet in the rain

For the pungent cranberries, scarlet and tart on their branches

And the poignant call of the geese winging over again


For if there is beauty in this land of my exile

My heart will not heed it for the pain

Of yearning to be where the grain stretches gold to the harvest,

And the cattle serene with their calves, amble home down the lane


In closing I would like to say “thank you Bea”, for showing us the wisdom of living our lives in integrity, simply by being who you are in season and out of season.  We would not be who we are apart from your love that lives on in our hearts and lives.


A Funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Chetwynd, BC on Saturday October 13, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. Father Rene Antonio officiated. Interment followed at the Old Tuscoola Mountain Cemetery.


For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Bea to the Chetwynd Senior Citizens

Housing Society, Box 1679, Chetwynd, BC V0C1J0.


Very Respectfully Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium