Gardening 03

Jean Isabel (Laing) Kehrer

May 29, 1927 ~ July 19, 2020 (age 93)

Obituary

In loving memory of Jean Kehrer who passed away on July 19th, 2020 at the age of 93 years. Beloved wife of the late Bill Kehrer, and mother of Cheryl (Randy) Seefried, Brian (Diane) Kehrer, Judy (Brian ) Hauser, Cindy (Don) Burnett, & Trevor (Patti) Kehrer.

Jean (Laing) Kehrer

Jean Isabel Laing was born May 29, 1927, in Kerrobert, Saskatchewan to Donald and Eleanor Laing.  Jean grew up on their family farm near Coleville, the youngest and last surviving of six children: Marguerite Lovett, Genevieve Michael, Dorothy Codling, Neil Laing, and Ian Laing.

Jean always got a smirk from saying she went to ‘Normal’ School to become a teacher.  She taught for a few years, beginning in a one-room schoolhouse at Bear Creek, 9 miles west of Meadow Lake, before resigning to raise her family.

Jean married Helmut William (Bill) Kehrer on August 3, 1949.  Bill predeceased her in August 2009, a few days after their 60th anniversary.  Together they built their family home in Kindersley, where Jean resided until 2012.  Initially, Alice and Alfred Schmidt rented the basement and became lifelong friends and family.

Jean is survived by her five children: Cheryl (Randy) Seefried, Brian (Diane) Kehrer, Judy (Brian) Hauser, Cindy (Don) Burnett, and Trevor (Patti) Kehrer, who went on to create 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.  She is also survived by her sister-in-law Barbara Laing and numerous nieces and nephews.

In 1961, Jean and Bill together started, owned, and operated Kehrer’s Appliance Sales and Service Ltd. in a few locations in Kindersley.  Jean was a strong, independent entrepreneur.  She worked tirelessly as the business changed with the times, eventually adding craft supplies and classes and morphing into Kehrer’s Appliances and Crafts.  This provided a great outlet for new skills to add to her many artistic endeavors including knitting and crocheting.  Jean’s kids received many of her handmade gifts over the years.

Jean was very involved in St. Olaf Lutheran Church and community organizations including the Lionelles Club, devoting many hours volunteering in service to others.  She could often be found in various kitchens assisting with Fall Suppers, pancake breakfasts, weddings, and funeral socials.  Jean loved to bake and her delicious treats were enjoyed by many.

Jean was very musical, playing the piano and organ.  She had the most beautiful voice right to the end of her life. She enjoyed singing in the church and community choirs and enjoyed performing with the musical groups Carolettes and Jubilantes.  Her favorite role was performing in a stage production of HMS Pinafore.

Although Jean enjoyed traveling to many parts of Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and Germany, her favorite destinations were to be with family.  There were many family camping trips to Cypress Hills, including her 50th-anniversary celebration.  She also enjoyed the many Laing family reunions over the years.  Jean loved her trips to Las Vegas to celebrate special birthdays with her children.  She would also embark on arduous journeys by bus, train, plane, or automobile to visit her extended family if she could assist in sickness or with new babies, provide support and TLC, or stock a freezer with delicious meals.

Being the daughter of a Saskatchewan MLA, she became a staunch advocate for many worthwhile causes including the small business community in Kindersley.  Her policy was to ‘shop at home.’  She always adhered to her core values of honesty and integrity.

Jean conquered serious bouts of cancer.  She went on to participate in the annual Relay for Life, being extremely determined to walk at least one lap the day after returning home from hip surgery.  She helped raise funds for cancer through the Daffodil and other campaigns.  She also recovered from several broken bones over the years with her usual strength and resilience.

In 2012, Jean moved to Caleb Village independent retirement community, which she enjoyed very much.  Declining health forced her to move to Heritage Manor in 2015.  Brian provided exceptional compassionate care and support over her years in the nursing home.  Jean would want the Manor staff to know she appreciated their care.

Jean passed away peacefully at Heritage Manor with some family present on July 19th, 2020.  Jean would be so perturbed with COVID 19 postponing her final family gathering. A service will be held at a future date when safe to do so.

 

Thoughts about Mom

After the initial shock of losing the physical presence in our lives of someone as special as Mom, we can turn our thoughts to the memories and lasting legacies of her time spent nurturing and mothering us. Knowing that she is free of the fetters of living a life she was long since done with, offers us comfort and peace in her passing. Brian spent many hours caring for her comfort and wellbeing while she waited for her release from this earth. What may have seemed a chore to some was considered a privilege and a joy for him. He would come home with stories of what mom had done that day that gave him a glimpse of her... still very much present in that body and knowing he was there with her. Mom never lost her love of music. Memories of Christmas Eve spent at Alice and Alfred’s that included attendance at candlelight services at the Lutheran Church where mom and Alice would join in the choir. Over the years, she carried her love of music through musicals done in the community, to participation in community and church choirs. Visiting with her one evening during her time at Caleb, we watched the “Sister Act” with the Caleb group, and though she was already disappearing into the world of dementia, she sang the songs in the movie as if she were a member of the choir! While in the manor, Brian would take her to the hymn sings and she would join in with perfect pitch, the words she could remember and when she had no words, she would hum and tap her toe in time. While in the manor, Mom popped back into life during a visit from her youngest granddaughter Emma, joining Emma at the piano and playing a few pieces from a long-forgotten memory. Mom enjoyed the dances at the manor, and when she could no longer stand to dance, she would raise her hands up from her wheelchair to her partner and smile with delight. Mom had a wonderful sense of humor as one son in law could attest when she subjected him to a body search for a missing piece of silverware that later turned up in the toy box. I don’t believe an apology was ever offered then nor during the many times, the story was shared with lots of laughter and absolutely no remorse on her part! Sharing humorous stories of exploits shared with family and friends, was a regular occurrence for Mom. As she threw out an apology for being repetitive, she would launch into a tale with much laughter, sparing no one any embarrassing details, and making the story as interesting as if it were the first time it was told. Even as memory left her, she could still enjoy a laugh, sometimes to things only she could see and sometimes to the interaction she had in conversation with those present. She could suddenly drop back into life to delight us with a comment that actually made sense, then disappear behind the curtain in her mind that kept her from us. She has left many memories... a candy bowl always filled with peppermints for the grandchildren to enjoy... the peach and black tiles in the bathroom of her home... the piano in the basement that was hopelessly out of tune that every grandchild attempted to play....the pool table......playing card game 31....the many, many family gatherings at her home full of good food, lots of laughs, and a feeling of inclusion and importance she gave to all of us who gathered there. It is said a man can build a house but a woman makes it a home. Mom was home to us. Mom and dad built much together. They built their home on the seventh avenue, piece by piece, and expanded it as the family grew. Together they established business in Kindersley and saw it through many expansions from its tender beginnings to its final home in the old McEwen building on Main street. Mom worked alongside dad in their retail establishment for many years. She opened a craft side to their business that lasted beyond her years in the store. It brought her much enjoyment and fulfillment and a few new skills. In retirement, she was able to be a part of a busy church family. Sharing in the volunteering in church fundraising suppers, quilting for church projects, crocheting blankets for daughters, and I remember a Siwash sweater she made me for Christmas one year. Mom cared for dad through his declining years and when the time came, released him to the care of the Kindersley Manor. She then expanded her family to include the manor staff. Many treats from her kitchen found their way into the staff room and she took the time to get to know the staff by name. When dad left her, she moved into Caleb where she enjoyed the daily activities provided by the staff there. Again her family grew by new and old friends who moved in as well. She loved inviting family to meals there and sharing life around the coffee gatherings. My memories of Mom will be of a loving parent, a source of wisdom and security, who knew when to speak and when to listen. She had a good business sense that was based on simple principles. Honesty and integrity. When leaving a business she had invested so much of herself in, her parting advice was, “Don’t spend more than you have in assets”. No small challenge for us as we moved into a changing business environment, but words we held to for the remaining years of the family business. Mom ended her days as a resident in the Kindersley Manor. Amid the ever-changing world of a pandemic, we are grateful to the staff who cared for Mom. As we grieve her passing, we feel a bit like a ship without a rudder. But this too will pass and we will be left with the sweet memories of a life we were blessed to have a part in.

 There will be a Memorial service for Jean at a later date.

Donations in Jean's memory may be made to St Olaf Lutheran Church Kindersley, or to Heritage manor Ladies Auxillary

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