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Elva Keast passed away at the age of 101 years old with her beloved daughter at her side. Elva was a determined, independent woman with an amazing amount of energy. She stopped counting birthdays at the age of 70, and at the age of 99 still seemed more 70 than 99.
Elva was the oldest of 12 children, and caregiving for family and hard work were instilled in Elva from a very young age. She was raised in the Rosendale/Lavenham area and stayed close to her roots. She married Howard Keast and they had three children: Garry (Heather), Judy (Wayne) and Don (Gail). Elva and Howard raised their children in Portage la Prairie and worked together throughout their marriage. They always had a project on the go, including building/renovating homes and cabins for their family to enjoy for generations. Elva worked at the Manitoba Home for Boys (known as Agassiz Youth Centre) and then at the Pop Shoppe for many years. She also volunteered at MCC for many years up to age 101.
Elva was lovingly referred to as “Gram” by her 7 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter who arrived on Gram’s 100th birthday. Elva loved her children, but she spoiled her grandchildren. The cabin at Delta beach that she bought for her grandchildren to grow up at, remains a treasure in the family to this day. Gram shared her curiosity about life, her love of nature (particularly trees and rocks), and her fierce strength with us. Gram was an excellent seamstress. She sewed countless beautiful quilts and clothes for all of us. We will fondly remember her quick wit and dry sense of humor; as she shared laughs with us until her final days.
Elva enjoyed travelling, and often combined travelling with family. She made countless trips across Canada to spend time making memories with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She traveled through Europe with her son and daughter-in-law. She cheered on her grandson as he competed in the Ironman in Hawaii.
Elva was always in motion and was still walking 2-3 miles a day when she was 100 years old. Elva was resilient. When she learned of the poor prognosis for her vision, she accessed the CNIB and adapted so well that she remained independent until the age of 100 when she reluctantly agreed to sell her house. She hated to ask for help and was extremely grateful for the love and support that her daughter, Judy, provided over the past years.
She was one of the founding members of the Henry Heritage Homestead and the Bittersweet Cross-Country Ski trails, where she shared a lifetime of memories with her siblings and large extended family. She walked the Bittersweet Ski trails on her 100th Birthday with some of her siblings, children, and grandchildren. She belonged to the Legion and Rebekah’s for many years.
Elva has left us to join her parents Joseph Ross and Edith Woodward, her husband Howard Keast, siblings Elmer, Kivil, Stanley, Will, Eddy, and Nancy. She will be busy being “Gram” to her great granddaughter Kenzie and making up for all the time they lost exploring and making memories in this world.
Aside from her children and grandchildren, Elva leaves to mourn her siblings Hartley, Connie, Dale, Louise and Claudia along with many nieces and nephews.
Special thanks to the staff at Douglas Campbell Lodge for caring for Elva over the past year.
Following Elva’s wishes, no funeral service will be held. Instead, hug someone you love and go for a nature walk. “Life is what you make of it.”
A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. 204-857-4021 www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com