Monday, November 20, 2006

99 and a half years old!

EVA MURIEL (BLANK) SCHWAB was born in Morden MB on May 19, 1907. She was the third oldest in a family of nine children. Now think about that for a moment. Imagine all the history that she has lived through. I had the opportunity and privilege to share many lunches and scrabble games with this special lady. During our times together Auntie Eva would tell me of the different events in her life. I heard her story and even encouraged her one day to have someone write it out.

Eva had to leave school after grade 8 in order to help provide for her family. After moving to Winnipeg in 1930, she worked as a housekeeper in a nursing home. On January 7, 1938, she married Ralph Schwab and they lived happily until his death in 1966. She remained at home for a number of years raising her family, before working as a chef at the Happy Vinyard, until her retirement in 1972. Eva told me how important it was for her to focus on her family and not think about getting remarried. WOW! Not one to gather moss, she began working part-time at Lange's Pastry Shop for several years. From the time that she was a young woman, Eva's Christian faith and values were the foundation of her life. She enthusiastically participated in the life of her church, Calvary Temple, which she attended faithfully for over 69 years. During the 1970s, Aunty Eva served as the head cook for the boys' and girls' camps at Calvary Temple Youth Camp at Red Rock Lake in Whiteshell. Many stories of her feisty spirit and prankster nature stem from those summers at camp.

It was an honour for me to be a pallbearer at her funeral last Friday. At the funeral many stories and tidbits were told about this great grandmother, grandmother and mom. Stories like how mischievous she was when she was not only young but ALL the time. She was considered a real prankster by all who knew her. When she was young she captured 12 mice and put them in the top drawer of the teacher’s desk at the school. Needless to say we would have all loved to see that response. Numerous times she pretended to be a bear at camp…and scared people silly. She even encountered a real bear on a path, and lost!

Here was an interesting story…how many knew that this little woman saved a family of 6 from a house fire and was recognized for her act of bravery? According to her son David he only really heard her complain once and she said…..”Why could I have been born rich instead of good looking?”

Eva had a remarkable gift for hospitality, and enjoyed entertaining friends in her home. She excelled at knitting afghans, sweaters, and baby shawls, which she gave away at weddings and baby showers. Auntie Eva was famous for her pies and jams and marmalade and kept our fridge full and my boys were always thrilled when I came back from lunch with Auntie Eva, never mind how thoughtful she was at Christmas time for each of my boys. I was just one of her many “boys” and that was a badge that I wear with honour.

One thing sticks out however with Eva. My wife remembers a phone call from her, shortly after one of my boys had major surgery on his arm to correct a bone defect. Eva told Sharon how she wished that she could bear his pain. Man, that meant so much to our family simply because we knew that Eva meant it.

Peacefully, on November 12, 2006, Eva Schwab passed away at the Grace Hospital following a brief illness. She is survived by one daughter Hazel (Jack) Hyde; one son David (Dorothy Regehr); seven grandchildren, Keith, Kari (Greg) Renner, Sharla (Dean) Kojima, Dayna, Tracey (Robert) Brandt, Sarah Jane, Rebeccah; four great-grandchildren, Jaysen, Brayden, Alex, and Madison Eva; one sister Hilda Cann of Kelowna; one brother Jack Blank of Penticton, BC, a very special sister-in-law, Rosemary Blank of Portland, OR and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was predeceased by her husband, Ralph (1966); her daughter Darlene (1986); brothers, Austin, Lawrence, Floyd; sisters, Linda, Frieda and Eileen.

May I end with what was said in a letter from the funeral…..
“Many will rise up and call her blessed and her works will follow her!”

Aunite Eva….Enjoy your new home!!!!


Bowering said...

What a nice tribute. John and I have known "Grandma Schwab" for a long time, John since he was a little boy, she was quite the lady. We visited her in the hospital the Tuesday before she passed away, she and Jackson held hands, and as we left she said "see ya later alligator". She will definitely be missed.

Little Worshiper said...

Auntie Eva was a wonderful lady! I had never tried Marmalade until she gave us a few jars for a wedding shower gift a few years ago. I like the stuff now! I hope that i'll continue to live with as much engery and love for God and others that she had.

Anonymous said...

It's funny what lasts. I just went to another funeral of a rich important guy, and no one said "gentle, meek, or kind." Everyone's tribute said "influencer, wheeler-dealer, his-way-or-the-highway." Lots of people showed up and maybe lots of people liked him, but I -- obligated to be there because my job demands I show up to honor various families -- was happy I missed knowing him.