Jun 5, 1930 – Jan 9, 2018
It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Jim Kerbes of Athabasca County.
He passed away peacefully onJanuary 9, 2018 with his family at home.
Jim was born on June 5, 1930 in Stettler, AB where he grew up on a small farm, south of town. He was the youngest of nine children and it was a childhood packed with love and fond memories. He often reminisced with us about those wonderful, hard times growing
up during the depression. He counted himself very lucky to receive the extra love, being the little brother and baby of the family.
Music was a love and big part of his life. He grew up with music in the house and learned to play the violin and piano at an early age with the help from his father, brothers
and sisters. We later learned that dad could play a tune on any instrument given the opportunity. I’m not sure who practiced the trumpet more, him or me in my school band days, but he certainly sounded much better!
Jim loved animals and as a young boy and (up until recent years) he enjoyed endless miles
on the back of his saddle ponies and pet dogs along his side. He went to a one-room country
school named, Spring Lake. His favorite subjects were history and baseball.
Like many in those days, dad was eager to make his way into the working world to earn money to help the family farm and have a little cash for a pair of cowboy boots or a radio for his parents to listen to. The rig jobs were just starting up and drilling around Big Valley, Stettler area is where dad began his 40-year career in the oil field.
It was also around that same time and area at a local community dance that Helen Bernice Muhlbach had caught dad’s eye and soon there after…captured her heart. They were married July 19, 1958 and moved to Fort St. John, BC for dad’s work. Between 1960 to 1965 the four of us kids were born. Then the real work started!
Dad was the “best of the best” as a husband, father and grandfather. We always knew that
we could count on him. That’s a very special feeling to have, that no matter what he would be there for us. When we were little it was about having him to fix the bikes, toys, teach us to swim, skate and take us places. But as we got older we realized that having him was so much more.
We were fortunate enough to thank him and tell him how much we loved him often throughout our later years. In 1972, dad and mom got to fulfill their dream to own a place in the country, spend more time as a family, raise some cattle, have a few horses, grown a garden (the good life). They worked hard side by side to build the farm up and they loved it! We too had fabulous music in our house. Dad on the fiddle and mom on the piano. This past month dad gave his beloved violin to his grandson, Rylan. He was very happy and proud to know that it will be loved and played always.
After Helen passed, Jim devoted most of his time to his family which he loved, but with our
encouragement he eventually started attending local functions, making new friends and reacquainting himself with past friends. He would laugh and tell us that he enjoyed his weekly bowling for the socializing, not the score. The Colinton seniors club get togethers were always looked forward to, as well as the goodies. He was a proud Athabasca Lions member for some time and felt good about the club’s accomplishments for our community.
Dad always looked forward to his fiddle jams, the Whispering Hills Country Music Association will miss him, I’m certain. His Thurs. afternoons of pool games were always a good excuse to get together with the boys and have some laughs. Jim was an active Colinton Community Club member. He participated in a great deal of fund raising and improvements to the community hall exterior, interior and bowling alley.
Jim is survived by his two sons: James R. Kerbes, John (Bernie) Kerbes. His daughter Janice (Rex) Johnston and daughter-in-law Charlene (Kerbes) Markowski. His grandsons: Rex Jr. Johnston, Nathan (Heather) Kerbes, Rylan Kerbes, James (Amanda) Kerbes. Granddaughters: Stephanie Kerbes, Jalina Kerbes, Kimberly Kerbes and Jennifer Kerbes. His three greatgrandchildren: Karson, Silas and Paix Kerbes. Jim is also survived by his sister-in-laws: Ruby Jolly, Ruth Kromm, Irene Kerbes, Helen (Muhlbach) Smith and Mary Muhlbach, as well his many wonderful nieces and nephews.
Besides being predeceased by his loving wife Helen in 1997, Jim lost his second born son,
Ronald Wayne Kerbes in 1991. He was predeceased by his parents John and Melanie, Jim’s
brothers – Alec, Archie and Ernie (Kerbes), his sisters – Julia Hennel, Hilda Dancocks, Helen
Mulligan, Marjorie Olive and Geneva (Kerbes) Parker. As well as two nieces – Judy Kerbes and Bunny Peterson. His one nephew – John Olive and one great-nephew – John Muhlbach.
Our family would like to extend our heart felt appreciation and thank you to all who have sent
cards, messages, brought food, ran errands, and thoughtful phone calls.
To our employers and co-workers who have extended themselves above and beyond, so we could have time with our father and grandfather. We will forever be grateful to you.
We also would like to thank dad’s long-time physician, Dr. Doman, as well as (Dr. Lafe) who also cared for dad’s needs this past month. To the staff of Silver Birch Medical Centre, thank you for everything. To Dr. N. Zhu and nursing staff at the University Hospital (Out Patient Ward) your care and kindness will always be remembered.
Finally, we send out a big thank you to our Athabasca Palliative Care Team. Your expertise, compassion and service are invaluable. You helped us immensely to carry out our dear dads wishes… to live his last days with his family at home.
As per Jim’s instructions there will be no service. He had requested to be cremated and have
his and Helen’s ashes placed along side their son.
Jim lived a good life. He was a honest and kind man. “One of the Good Guys”