Obituary of Marilyn Crandall
It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Marilyn Crandall, a life-long resident of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at the age of 72 years.
Marilyn Jean Stefanyk was born on Saturday, March 24, 1951, at the Sisters of Providence Hospital in Dawson Creek, BC to her father Peter and her mother Ann. She was the fourth child born to Pete and Ann and their only daughter. Her older brothers were Edward, Lawrence and James and Phillip was the youngest in the family. In 1951, Pete and Ann were living on the farm in Bonanza Alberta, on the home quarter that currently houses the Bonanza General Store and the Bonanza Gospel Chapel.
As the story goes, it was an exceptionally cold March that year and the roads were impassable due to drifting snow. Pete was away working when Ann needed to get to the Hospital to have Marilyn. A neighbour was summoned to help, and they contacted Sam Side out of Dawson Creek. He and his airplane were chartered to fly Ann into town. Several days later, Sam was once again chartered to fly both Ann and baby Marilyn home to Bonanza. Marilyn was nestled in blankets and placed in a wooden orange crate for the flight.
Marilyn’s childhood was full of fun times with lots of friends and cousins coming over to play and to enjoy Ann’s cooking and baking. She was fondly known to be called “Marnie” by her family. Pete farmed and was away working in the winter months to support his family. Ann earned extra money by boarding working men in the area and by delivering mail. Being the only girl, Marilyn was a bit of a tomboy growing up. Baseball tournaments and picnics were attended in the Bay Tree and the Landry Areas. Many hours were spent exploring outside, ice skating on the frozen dugout, and running away from older brother Jim who took joy in chasing Marilyn with live mice to scare her! Jim also told her on many occasions that she was adopted, which caused many tears no doubt. As a little girl, she collected many things including rocks, chicken bones, feathers, and sticks. She would safely tuck them into little boxes in her bedroom. Her little granddaughter Elise does the very same thing. As a young teenager, Marilyn would walk across the field to help out at the Bonanza Store – stocking shelves, writing out the charge account bills, and helping customers. She loved that job as it provided her with her own money to spend on special things. She also worked as a babysitter and nanny to several of the neighbouring children.
Marilyn started school in the fall of 1958 and completed her elementary schooling at Bonanza School. She was fortunate to have the school right across the road, so she walked home every day for lunch. She was an honour-roll student and received the Citizenship Award in 1965. After the completion of grade eight, it was necessary for Marilyn to ride the school bus into Dawson Creek for the duration of her junior high and high school years. In January of 1966, South Peace Senior Secondary School burnt to the ground and all students had to transition into portable classrooms for the duration of the year. In those days, the girls could only wear dresses and skirts to school – pants were not allowed – and Marilyn recalled nearly freezing in the drafty portable buildings during class.
On Christmas Eve in 1967, tragedy struck when Pete and Ann lost their family home and belongings to a tragic house fire that started in the attic. At the time, Jim, Marilyn, and Phil were still living at home and attending school. As the story goes, they were getting into the car to go over to Pete’s brother’s house for Christmas Eve dinner and they noticed water running off the roof. Being that it was thirty below zero that winter’s day, it could not possibly be chinooking, so Pete and Jim opened the trap door to the attic to investigate and by then, the flames were already out of control. They managed to save very little of their belongings as the entire structure was engulfed within minutes. Subsequently, the family members were farmed out to the neighbours for the duration of the winter until a proper house could be rebuilt. In the spring of 1968, a small house was moved from Dawson Creek onto the original basement for the family to reside in. An addition was built onto the first part of the house, and this would be their home from then on.
Marilyn graduated at the age of eighteen in June of 1969 from South Peace Senior Secondary School, specializing in Secretarial Studies. A funny story that she often shared is as follows. Even though she and Jim were close to a year apart in age, he ended up failing a grade and thus, was in class with Marilyn. Jim had not much interest in his studies and Marilyn was a studious student. On one occasion, he copied her high school English assignment word for word and handed it in as his own. When the assignments came back graded by their teacher, Marilyn received an “A” and poor Jim received a “C”.
After completing high school, Marilyn secured employment at Canada Manpower in Dawson Creek. That only lasted a short time, as she was offered a better secretarial position at McCoy Brothers, where she also further trained as a bookkeeper. She always spoke fondly of her time spent at McCoy’s, as she worked with many people that remained life-long friends. In the mid-1970’s, Marilyn accepted a job at the Royal Bank in Dawson Creek as the personal secretary to the Branch Manager, most notably Don Kirschman. She often expressed that Don was hard to work for and the demands were high. Her duties there were immense, she was in charge of all the incoming and outgoing correspondence, the transcribing of Dictaphone recordings, the taking of meeting minutes via shorthand, and the processing of all loans and mortgage documents. When Marilyn gave her notice in the spring of 1979, Don ended up hiring three women as her replacement to keep up with the workload.
In 1971, Marilyn met Blair Crandall through her brother, Jim. Jim was working at Loveseth’s in Dawson Creek as a parts man and Blair was hauling fuel for Rempel Trail and farming in the East Doe River area. Marilyn and Blair were married on July 4, 1975, at the Bonanza Gospel Chapel. After they were married, Marilyn gave up her rented place in town and she and Blair purchased a mobile home from Gene Vipond and moved it over to the Kay Hall place just north of the Doe River Hall. The decision was made to expand more into farming, so on August 16, 1977, the mobile home was moved over to the newly purchased Kruger place in East Doe River.
Marilyn continued to commute to town and work full-time at the Royal Bank until the spring of 1979 when she found out she was expecting her first child. For the remainder of her married life, she was a homemaker. Marilyn and Blair had two children. Allison Ann was born on July 11, 1979 and Travis Delbert was born on August 24, 1982. The family of four worked together on the farm, raising 200 head of cattle, while grain farming and raising hay. Marilyn always kept an immaculate house, and loved baking and homecooking for her family. A large vegetable garden was harvested annually and a homegrown beef was butchered to keep the freezer full. Marilyn was an avid community supporter – she volunteered at the Doe River rodeo in the food booths, helped cater at the Doe River Turkey suppers and sold tickets at the door for the many dances she and Blair attended at the Doe River Hall. She was a member of the Doe River WI and attended card parties in the winter months with neighbours.
Throughout the duration of their marriage in the decades that followed, a total of nine quarters of farmland were purchased in the East Doe River area, making them one of the larger farming operations in the community. An additional quarter of farmland was purchased in 1999 in Ponoka, Alberta which had ancestral ties to Blair’s family. This piece of land was pastured and rented out.
In July of 2009, Marilyn and Blair separated and were divorced the following year. All nine quarters of land in Doe River were sold to the Hutterites and Marilyn moved into Dawson Creek, while Blair settled on the quarter of land in Ponoka and continued to farm. Marilyn secured employment at Canada Safeway in the Bakery Department and worked there for several months. She then accepted a position at The Mint Café with Theresa Goetze, waiting tables, and helping customers. After the Mint closed its doors, she worked with her good friend, Linda LaFleur, and her catering team, to cater weddings and funerals in the area. When she fully retired from her catering commitments, she enjoyed spending recreational time at the local Dawson Creek Senior Citizen’s Hall – playing cribbage and floor curling. Traveling to neighbouring communities for tournaments was a highlight for Marilyn. She always took along a home baked treat to enjoy with her friends over coffee.
No matter how busy her day was, Marilyn always took time to rest in the afternoon with a fresh cup of coffee and to take in her favourite television shows – namely Coronation Street and the Young and the Restless. She kept up on all the characters and the various drama that occurred in the broadcasts.
Marilyn’s grandchildren were the highlight of her life. Travis has two daughters, Arianna, born in 2002 and Emelia, born in 2008. Allison has one son, Reid, born in 2015 and one daughter, Elise, born in 2017. When the grandchildren were small, they often struggled to properly pronounce “Marilyn” – so, they affectionately called her “Grammie Mar” or “Mar Mar” instead. Marilyn expressed love by cooking, baking, and doting on her grandchildren. A memory that needs to be shared is as follows – in the fall of 2019, Allison and her family moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Marilyn missed Reid and Elise immensely and she wanted to send them a treat in the mail. She proceeded to bake a homemade loaf of banana bread, slice it, individually wrap each piece, and mail the entire parcel to Moose Jaw for the grandchildren to enjoy. Needless to say, it cost her a small fortune in postage but the love in that parcel was immeasurable.
Throughout her entire adult life, Marilyn had many health struggles. In her early 30’s, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Lupus – a serious condition in which the body attacks itself and its cells. Subsequently, she developed blood clots in her arms and legs which required multiple surgeries to remove. Over the years, she was under the care of many doctors and many different medications were used to try and keep the Lupus under control and to give Marilyn some relief of her symptoms and a better quality of life. Multiple hospital stays ensued and ultimately, she passed away on the morning of Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in the Dawson Creek and District Hospital, surrounded by her immediate family.
Marilyn is survived by her daughter, Allison, her husband Ryan MacIvor, and their children, Reid and Elise of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan; her son, Travis, and his children Arianna and Emelia of Dawson Creek; her brother Edward and his wife Elsie of Burnt Church, New Brunswick; her brother Lawrence and his wife Dorothy of Dawson Creek and their son Tom, his wife Tamara and son Tony; her sister-in-law Denise Stefanyk of Bonanza Alberta; her brother Phillip of Dawson Creek and his children, daughter Shelli Price and her husband Sean and their son Wyatt; son Neil Stefanyk and his sons Seth and Finn; daughter Stacey Shaw, her husband Trevor and their daughter Taylor. Marilyn is also survived by her two Aunts on her mother’s side – Emma Greene of Sherwood Park Alberta and Jean McBratney of Kelowna BC. She is survived by numerous cousins residing in both Canada and the U.S.A.
Marilyn was predeceased by her father, Peter in 1993, her mother Ann in 2015, her brother James in 2010, her sister-in-law Cindy in 2023 and numerous Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Reynars Funeral Chapel on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at 11:00am BC Time. Pauline Haycock will officiate. Interment to follow in Hill Haven Cemetery, Bonanza, Alberta.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Marilyn to South Peace Senior Citizens Association Branch No 74, 1101 Mckellar Ave, Dawson Creek, British Columbia, V1G 2S2.
Very Respectfully, Reynars Funeral Home & Crematorium
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