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Roberta Lee Stone of MacGregor, passed away peacefully on December 31, 2022 at the age of 86 years.
Roberta was a devoted mother to her son Tim (Darlene Fisk) and daughter Heather (Ken Klippenstein). She cherished her grandchildren Tyler (Trina Helfrick) Nicholas (Alex Pelzer), Mark, Jane Giesbrecht (Jared); siblings Bev Allan, Nancy Allan (Neil Carleton), Robin Allan (Maria), brother-in-law Garth Stone (Mae); and her many nieces, nephews cousins and friends. Recently she was blessed with the arrival of great grand-babies Natalie Giesbrecht and Leo Stone. Roberta was predeceased by her brother Perry, sisters-in-law Marg Allan, Monica White; and her beloved husband of 47 years - Lyall.
Roberta was born Aug 1st to Hazel and Walter Allan, the eldest of 5 siblings. She was a devoted big sister, enjoyed school (especially Math) and developed an early love of music: singing in church choir and earning a Gr. 9 Piano Certificate. She graduated from MacGregor High School in 1953, then attended Normal School for teaching at Wesley College, Winnipeg, where she flourished amidst newfound friends and social activities. She went on to teach in country schools (Image Creek and Southern Saskatchewan) before marrying (welder/mechanic) Lyall Stone on April 9, 1958. Lyall came down from work in the North and they moved to the (cattle and grain) farm at Beaver to raise their family. Being a “town girl”, learning the ropes of farm life was challenging. She eventually became an accomplished cook and honed her sewing and gardening skills (aided by neighbours and father-in-law Andy). In 1960 she was invited to direct the local Beaver (district) United Church (junior) Choir which continued until 1993. She earned a singing degree in these early years by taking weekly lessons, hitching a ride into Winnipeg (secretly at first) on Brother Bev’s transfer truck, with 5 yr. old Heather in tow. She taught private piano lessons and music at PCI for one year. In the 80s, she earned a Bachelor of Music Education and a Special Ed certificate by travelling to evening and summer courses at Brandon University.
For a brief time she was divisional Music Supervisor, driving to elementary schools (Austin, Gladstone, Plumas) to help classroom teachers with Music. Eventually the schedule settled to half-time classroom (grade 6/kindergarten/gr. 9 remedial Math) and half-time Music, at MacGregor. Some of her students went on to become Music teachers. She frequently instructed Music Education workshops at universities and conferences.
The rich life of choral music was ongoing. She was adept at drawing effort and energy from people, (enthusiasm, coercion, praise), and fortunate in having the countless willing hands and colleagues who helped her with varied involvements: Cantatrice Ladies Choir, MacGregor United Church Senior Choir, classroom choirs , MES Glee Club, Central Manitoba Youth Choir, Fairholme Colony Choir. Just for fun, she performed with her beloved Ladies’ Quartet. There were various musical productions: Portage Rotary Minstrel Shows, Church pageants and Christmas dramas, Grade 5 annual musicals, MCI Cabarets and Broadway musicals. Festival time brought further preparation of choirs and soloists for competition. Performers achieved accolades and high standing, but most important was always the inherent joy of singing, the love of achieving a pure and classic choral sound.
Roberta was an energetic mother…efficient and driving, yet affectionate and generous. Her children were kept highly involved with both home responsibilities and hobbies/activities: “If it was worth doing, it was worth doing well”. If we were idle, we learned to hide it. There were sparks, but there was also love and laughter. She was a woman of strong opinions and moral principles, but she could also laugh at herself. In championing her causes, she did not always tread lightly (thankfully when we have enough strengths, people forgive our faults).
She kept up regularly with current events and ideas. In the classroom and at home, she was a teacher of language (grammar corrections came free). She was especially a lover of books and stories. There are many happy memories of her reading aloud dramatically, to both children and grandchildren. For decades, the Delta cottage was a favourite family place where many would gather to sail, swim, puzzle, fly kites, feast, and sing songs around the piano or campfire. On a hot Sunday, a few people could happily expand to 25, by supper time.
At the margins of a busy life, Roberta still managed to sew, knit, cook, bake, and garden. She and Lyall loved to host parties and gatherings: their door was always open - later the piano and a singsong. They enjoyed having overnight guests and exchange students. Her kitchen was busy and her freezer full. She loved both personal and professional travels, with Lyall and/or friends: the UK, Australia, Brazil, Florida, Arizona, Churchill, and every Canadian province.
Moving into town in l992 brought eventual retirement and more time to help with Communities in Bloom, enhancing the green spaces of MacGregor. Progressively, she turned their town property into a landscaped paradise. She looked after grandchildren, devoured books and the daily newspaper, quilted prolifically, gave singing lessons, continued in church choir, and hosted family and friends… as long as she was able. - A life fully lived.
Her influence is indelibly imprinted upon our lives.
“ We let you go.
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the Star Maker,
We let you go.
We thank you, we love you, we miss you.
Go safely, go dancing, go singing home,”
- R. Burgess.
A private family service will be held on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. The public can view the service via live stream, to register and view click on link https://event.forgetmenotceremonies.com/ceremony?c=a37b3560-8411-4340-9acf-07c19f644302
A Reception will follow at the Heartland Multiplex in MacGregor, MB at 3:30 pm. Everyone is welcome.
If friends so desire, donations may be made in Roberta’s memory to the North Norfolk Foundation, PO Box 696, MacGregor, MB R0H 0R0.
A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Starts at 1:00pm (Central time)
McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel
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