Hazel “Vandy” Koshure passed away peacefully on February 25th, 2015 in Stettler, Alberta.
Hazel Mary was born in Big Valley on February 6th, 1925 to Angie and August (Gus) Van den Bon. As a young girl, Hazel had many favourite pets…cats, dogs, horses, bunnies and even chickens. It was rare to see her outside without an animal in her arms.
Dunbarney was where Hazel began her school years; she was a little girl who rode in a wagon or rode a big horse twice a day to reach the one-room schoolhouse near her parent’s farm, east of Big Valley. When she was very young, she was taken by horse and sleigh to Botha during a terrible blizzard for an emergency appendectomy. Sadly, one of the horses did not survive the trip.
After grades 1-9, Hazel moved into Big Valley and lived at the dormitory for a couple of years while attending high school. Upon graduation, and business college, Vandy joined the Royal Canadian Air Force as a wireless operator. She was 18 years old and received her nickname, Vandy, a name she preferred to be known by for the rest of her life. She met a dashing young RCAF serviceman, Victor Koshure and on June 15th, 1945 they married at Knox United Church in Calgary, Alberta.
Thus began her domestic life; besides raising four daughters, she mastered sewing, knitting (she made our clothes), gardening, carpentry and cooking – at which she was very inventive, including preparing a different dessert every night, to satisfy a sweet tooth that stayed with her until she died. She preserved jams, jellies, pickles, relishes and almost everything was made from scratch, as it was in those days. Vic and Vandy knew all their neighbours. They played bridge, socialized and kept in touch with them all, even when moving to different districts.The Zurch family were lifelong good friends to her whole family and spent many vacations and special occasions together.
Vandy later took a course as a comptometer operator and began working outside the home in 1961. In Edmonton, she was employed by Eatons and later worked on the 21st floor of the CN Tower. She would never look out of the window because of the height! Relocating to Kamloops in 1969, Vandy worked at Sears and CP Transport.
Victor died in 1987 and Vandy retired leaving more time for her numerous interests and pursuits, including a very profitable and extensive crafting business. She was so industrious and sociable. As a landscape artist, Vandy enjoyed membership in the local painting club and sold many of her creations over the years. She collected stamps, plates, mouse ornaments and friends. She played bridge and bingo and rarely sat still. Vandy loved games…Rummoli, cards, FreeCell on the computer and slot machines, too. She was as sharp as a tack as a player and so competitive, much to the chagrin of her opponents. Reading was a pleasure for her and she would often exhaust an author’s entire works before moving on to the next. Vandy moved back to Edmonton in 2002 then to Big Valley in 2008 where she reconnected with her community there, making new friends, too. She was very active until a broken hip required her to move to her Stettler home at Paragon Place. Not quite as mobile as she would have liked, Vandy was undaunted and continued to make friends and produce crafts and the wonderful quilts that her family and many people around Big Valley have as keepsakes for their babies. During the Christmas season, she opened up a little craft shop in her front hall closet, so residents could buy homemade ornaments and gifts without leaving the building!
She was an original scrapbooker…creating more than 50 thick photo albums packed with her families’ and community history. These photo albums are a wonderful legacy for her family as Vandy was present for the taking of so many of the pictures and our lives are chronicled here, too. Her friends smile when recalling Vandy being the papparazzi of Paragon Place recording their special events and scrapbooking them as well.
It is difficult to sum up such a full and well-lived life in a few columns of a newspaper. She was all of this but so much more…mom, Grama, Grammy, GG. Vandy loved her offspring dearly and loved her grandkids and their kids so much. She was always interested in their lives and their plans, and helped when she could. She was loved right back – from her sons-in-law to her neighbours and acquaintances..everyone liked Vandy. She was sensitive, abhorred violence and liked a good joke. She will be missed.
Left with wonderful memories are daughters Linda Donnelly – Edmonton; Valerie Koshure (Atlee) Kamloops; Sandra Koshure – Calgary and Janice Hermus (Louis), Big Valley. Grandchildren David James (Heather); Atlee James (Angela); Chelsea Hermus (Bradley); Braden Hermus; Angie Koshure; Breanne Hermus (Cody) and Jared Hermus.
Great grandchildren Kaitlin, Benjamin, Tealynd and Chloe. Brother Fred Van den Bon (Carrie) and family; numerous relatives and many dear friends.
A Celebration of Vandy’s life and Memorial service will take place on Saturday, March 7th, 11:00 a.m. at the Jubilee Hall in Big Valley, Alberta.
As an expression of sympathy and in loving memory of Vandy, memorial contributions may be made to the Big Valley Historical Society or to a charity of your choice in care of Brennen Funeral Home and Cremation Services, box 193 Stettler, AB TOC 2LO who have been entrusted with the care and arrangements. 403.742.3315. Condolences can be forwarded to the family by visiting our website at www.brennenfuneralhome.com.