It is with much sorrow that we announce the passing of Elizabeth Sawchuk Bertram of Eston, Saskatchewan on April 7, 2023 at Glengarda Hospice, Saskatoon.
Elizabeth is survived by her husband of 59 years, William Peter Bertram; her 5 children - Shaun Bertram (Michael Bradley), Fortune Bertram (Bonnie), Land Bertram, Lease Bertram and Misty Alexandre (Stacey); her 8 grandchildren - Leif (Sarah), Jagger (Kendyl), Vance (Kate), Alexander (Cherisse), Seager (Brook), Rylan (Tyra), Davis and Annie; and her 12 great grandchildren Macy, Ivy, Arlo, Isla, Adilyn, Achilles, Jasmine, Phoenix, Sawyer, Payton, Hazel, and Onyx.
Elizabeth was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 6, 1942 to Ann (nee Motkaluk) and Antoni Sawchuk. Her father was a CN railway engineer, and some of her fondest memories were spent riding the trains between Winnipeg, Pembina Valley and Biggar. She treasured spending time at her Baba and Gigi’s farm in Cowan, Manitoba in the summers. It would be an understatement to say she came from humble beginnings, but she consistently found ways to overcome adversity with determination, creativity, and sheer will power.
From the age of 15 on, she worked as a waitress, theatre usher, accountant and cashier in North Battleford and Biggar, Saskatchewan before moving to Eston, where she worked as a cashier at the Co-op. In Eston, she met her future husband, Bill Bertram, whom she married on March 28, 1964. Bill and Elizabeth raised 5 children together on their family farm north-east of Eston. While Elizabeth took great pride in establishing a warm and inviting atmosphere in the farm house, where guests were always greeted with an overabundance of food and lively conversation, she also enjoyed contributing to the farm work itself, never hesitating to throw bales or drive truck during harvest.
After the children were raised, Elizabeth pursued higher education, and proudly received her Continuing Care Assistant Certificate from SIAST, thereafter embarking upon a career as a Special Care Aide at the Eston Health Centre.
In addition to being a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Elizabeth was a valued friend and neighbour, a proud Legion member, and a fiercely patriotic Ukrainian. Her enthusiasms were many: multifaceted collector and treasure hunter; amateur sleuth; impersonator and storyteller extraordinaire; shrewd debater; talented cake decorator; purveyor of feasts; avid gardener; and queen of all things festive. She was a generous spirit, who never forgot a birthday or a Christmas present, who believed that grandchildren deserve gifts simply for existing, and who never saw a guest leave without a large supply of pickles, relish, jelly and home baking.
Elizabeth was passionate about fighting injustice and she found cause to celebrate for the smallest of occasions. Her humour was legendary, contagious, and her laughter lifted the spirits of everyone around her. And she was, perhaps above all, an eternal optimist, a dreamer and a believer in the impossible.
Elizabeth loved the story of the Phoenix rising from the ashes, emerging stronger and smarter from the obstacles of adversity. This was so evident in her life, as she faced many great challenges, always fighting to overcome them. To her very last moments Elizabeth continued to make plans for when she was well again, never conceding to a battle she planned to win.
Rise up, our beloved Phoenix.
There will be a Memorial Service held for Elizabeth on Saturday, April 15th 2023 at 2:00 p.m. from the Royal Canadian Legion #155, 137 1st Avenue, Eston, SK.
If desired, donations in memory of Elizabeth may be made to: Royal Canadian Legion #155, 137 1st Ave S.E., BOX 664, Eston, SK S0L 1A0
or to Eston Caring Hands, c/o Joy Gan, Box 244, Eston, SK S0L 1A0