Irma Jean Morden was born 88 years ago on May 6, 1931 to parents Lawrence and Mary Morden in Souris, Manitoba. Mom was the middle child between older brother Alex and younger sister Margaret. The family lived on the farm at Hartney, Manitoba and worked hard to raise grain and cattle.
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Mom was a lifelong learner. She did grades 1 to 8 at the one room Forbes School, Grades 9 and 10 by correspondence and Grade 11 at Hartney High School. Mom went on to complete secretarial training at Success Business College in Brandon in 1948 and found her first job at the YMCA in Brandon. She travelled to Victoria with her cousin Madeline and worked in BC before returning to the prairies.
In 1950, Mom caught a ride from Hartney to Brandon with her cousins Les and Madeline Morden. A handsome young man named Ken Fardoe rode with them. All four squeezed into the front seat of the truck and a romance between Mom and Dad was sparked. They were married on June 6, 1953 in Souris with a reception at the local Chocolate Shop. They honeymooned in Minnesota and Dad introduced Mom to fishing which became one of her favourite activities. They celebrated their 50th anniversary in June 2003.
Mom and Dad loved the north and moved to Flin Flon in 1953. They rented Nanna Macarthur’s house on Green Street for a year and moved to 133 Queen Street in 1954. I was born in July 1955 and Diane came along in December 1956. Our house was less than 600 square feet but felt like a palace to us.
The Lakeside neighbourhood was home to many families in the 1950’s and 60’s. Over 100 kids lived in the block between Queen Street and Riverside Drive. The vacant “swamp” next door was a beehive of activity in the summer and winter. All the kids enjoyed skating, hide and seek and run-sheep-run. We fitted right into the hustle and bustle.
Mom worked as a bookkeeper at the Flin Flon Hotel from 1967 to 1972 and at Kerr Motors from 1973 to 1978. She was an excellent employee and was everyone liked her.
Mom was a devoted Christian and member of the congregation at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for over 50 years and the United Church more recently. She was secretary for the St. Andrew’s church group and produced the church bulletin with a typewriter and Gestetner machine for many years.
Mom loved music, played the piano and enjoyed singing. Charlie Pride, Burl Ives and Anne Murray were often heard in our house. She liked bowling and swimming. She was adventurous and tried my kayak at Simonhouse Lake one year. She looked like a pilot in her swim cap!
Mom loved to socialize. Mom and Dad enjoyed old time dancing with Uncle Bill often playing the music. They enjoyed many evenings of cards with John and Vi Black and Herb and Mabel Thurstan.
Our family enjoyed many Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with Bill and Billie Fardoe and our cousins who lived a few houses away across the back lane. Mom and Aunt Billie were close friends and shared the ability to get along with male Fardoes which could be a challenge.
Diane and Randy were married in December 1975. Mom became a proud grandmother when Michael was born in March 1982 and Laura was born in March 1987. She became a proud great grandmother when Elizabeth was born in 2015. Mom loved Michael, Laura and Elizabeth and spent many happy hours with them. Three generations made the best ginger bread men on the planet!
Mom and Dad loved camping and fishing and spent many summers at Phantom, Beaver, Athapap and Iskwasum Lakes. Mom and Dad liked to sit at the campfire and shared many meals with friends over the years. Diane and I often camped with them and Michael and Laura often stayed over in the trailer. We are thankful for Mom and Dad’s love of the outdoors which we inherited.
Mom sold the house on Queen Street and moved into Legion Housing in May 2009. Mom met many friends while there and particularly enjoyed ice cream and apple pie with good friend Hector LeBlanc. Mom was known as the “Brooch Lady” and Diane and I are wearing brooches from Mom’s collection in her honour.
Mom was a very caring person and would often write letters to people who were not well. She sent letters to cousin Max when she was recovering in the hospital after an accident. Mom was naturally curious and inquisitive. She loved reading and often watched nature shows, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Mom was very fond of cats and dogs and long time friends with Susie and Baillie. She was a lightweight drinker who turned beat red after one glass of wine. That didn’t stop her from enjoying a drink and giving Michael his first beer on a camping trip to Iskwasum!
Mom loved to travel. Mom and Dad drove to Alaska and the Maritimes and made many trips to southern Manitoba to visit relatives and to the West Coast after I moved to Victoria. I remember a ferry trip to Bella Coola and camping in a storm on the Sunshine Coast where a bolt of lightening landed in our tent. Mom and I visited good friends Dee and Corrine Kleespie in Tucson, Arizona. Dee was the unofficial mayor of Iskwasum.
Mom enjoyed the connection with the Whitbread family who welcomed her as one of their own. Mom and Herb were good friends and Mom loved to go to Tracey and Lyle’s cabin at Big Island for family gatherings. Mom’s buns were very popular!
Mom was an excellent seamstress. She made matching outfits for her and Diane and taught Laura to knit at age 5 which must be some of kind of record. Mom started quilting with the St. Andrew’s Quilter’s Guild and worked on a quilt for her own 40th anniversary. Both Mom and Dad worked on a quilt for Laura.
Diane and I can’t remember our parents fighting. I’m sure they had disagreements but they never fought in front of us. Dad passed away in September 2003 and we all miss him deeply. Thanks to Diane for all her love and support for Mom when she was in the manor. Diane carried a lot on her shoulders and never complained. She is a lot like Mom!
Mom loved life and enjoyed every day to the fullest. She looked at peace when Diane and I viewed her yesterday. Rest in peace Mom. You were the best mother ever!