Iona Mae Hankins was born at home, north of Westwoods Community Centre on December 15, 1922. She was the oldest living child of Oscar and Louisa Hankins. Iona went to school, by horseback or on foot, to a one room schoolhouse at Willow Park. Here she met many lifetime friends. Iona grew up through the great depression of the 30’s and worked from home as soon as she could, housekeeping and doing chores for several families in the district and in Lacombe. She came to Gadsby in 1943 to work for a bachelor who hadn’t finished threshing the previous fall and needed someone to do the cooking.
In 1950, Iona married Paul Berg (the above mentioned bachelor) and in 1954 their only child, Paulette was born. In her younger years, one of Iona’s interests was cooking. Angel food cakes from scratch being her most famous. It was nothing to see 12 or more people around her dining room table. Her favourite bedtime reading – a recipe book! For relaxation she loved to embroider and made many pillow cases, dresser scarves and tablecloths which she gave away as gifts and donated to the craft table at the Omega Bazaar. She was a lifetime member of the Gadsby Omega Circle and UCW. Later, with the help of Paulette, she made quilts for family including a huge horse quilt for her grandson. She was noted for her flowers, indoor and outside. She once had a Fuccia plant that took over the porch and everyone had to go around it to get in the kitchen.
When arthritis came to stay, she put down her egg beater and embroidery needle and took up hidden word puzzles, Canasta and Bingo! She enjoyed visiting, shopping and traveling. In 1993, with Paulette and Percy, her brother Bob and Betty, Iona took a trip to Oregon and on through to Nebraska where she reconnected with cousins on both sides of her family. In 1995 with the same four she was able to see the Yukon and Alaska.
She was thrilled when 174 people came to wish her a Happy 80th Birthday. And in 2007 she again enjoyed a birthday party in Gadsby to celebrate her 85th Birthday. In 2009 Iona moved to Heart Haven Lodge in Stettler and made many more lasting friendships with residents and staff.
Iona resided in Heart Haven Lodge for seven years, her last few weeks prior to her passing, she was in the care of the Stettler Medical Staff. She passed away Monday, May 18, 2015.
Iona leaves to mourn her death, her daughter Paulette (Percy) Heer; granddaughter Christy (Curtis) Wideman; grandson John (Jewel) Heer; seven great grandchildren: Matthew, Clayton and Josie Wideman, Brooke and Samantha Heer, Hannah Winter and Bailey Heer; sisters in law Betty Hankins and Jean Hankins; numerous nieces, nephews and cousins as well as her Norway family. Iona was predeceased by her parents Oscar and Louisa Hankins, her husband Paul Julius Berg, her brothers ‘Bob’ Robert, Clarence and Douglas Hankins, sister in law Verna Hankins and infant sister Minnie Anne Hankins.
Funeral services were held at St. Peter Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 2:30 PM with Rev. Karl Faltin officiating. Granddaughters Christy Wideman and Jewel Heer gave loving tributes of their grandmother. Musicians Doug and Shirley McKay presented their gifts of music as they sang “One Day at a Time” and “Where the Roses Never Fade.” Honorary Pallbearers were Iona’s Nieces and Nephews Debbie (Ray), Dale (Irene), Helen (Harvey), Patsy (Rene), Barb (Ken), Barry, John (Lorraine), Jim (Monica), Alan (Cheri), Jude and Omega Circle Ladies; Active Pallbearers were Grandsons John Heer, Curtis Wideman, Great Grandsons Matthew Wideman, Clayton Wideman, Friends Stan Quance, Dwight Quance, Kyle Vaine, and Wes Carey as Iona was laid to rest at Omega Cemetery in Gadsby. Family and friends gathered in the Education Wing of St. Peter Lutheran Church for a time of fellowship and a light luncheon graciously served by the Lutheran Ladies.
Memorial donations may be made to Omega Circle, Box 11, Gadsby, AB T0C 1K0.
Condolences may be sent to family at www.stettlerfuneralhome.com
STETTLER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORIUM
entrusted with the care and funeral arrangements.