Surrounded by the beauty of the flowers in her backyard and with the sun shining down on the pages of a good book, Mom passed away on July 19, 2017. She died in her favourite place doing her favourite thing. She was the youngest of 10 born on March 19, 1946 to Eva and William Knowles of Byemoor, Alberta. She grew up on Sunmound Ranch and later established Sandusty Farm with her husband, Bill. Farming was only her first career, but it remained a cornerstone of her personality. A consummate community builder, Mom dedicated many hours in Victor and Craigmyle organizing events, writing history books, leading 4-H clubs, and playing practical jokes on neighbours. After leaving the farm, Mom embarked on her journey as a lifelong student completing a Bachelor of Education (University of Lethbridge), a Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (University of Saskatchewan), a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society and a Bachelor of Laws (University of Calgary), and certification as a Chartered Mediator with the ADR Institute of Canada. She previously worked as an instructor at Red Deer College and more recently, as a civil court mediator. Mom was also the owner of Muddy Waters Mediation, and chief tractor operator for Sandusty Services. However, her most important career was that of mother and grandmother. She was devoted to her three children, Terri, Lorraine and John and spent countless hours managing hockey teams, sewing uniforms, costumes and grad dresses late into the night, and contributing to our various school and 4-H projects. As we grew up, we continued to benefit from her skills in painting, landscaping, sewing, photography, and cooking. Thanks to Mom, we had upholstered sailboats and holiday trailers, feature walls, well-planned flowerbeds, hemmed and patched pants and endless supplies of cabbage rolls, lemon loaves and turkey pies. She was always our biggest fan and her support was extended to our spouses as she developed close relationships with Dug, Patrick and Carol. With the arrival of grandchildren, she poured her advocacy, unconditional positive regard, and empathy into Shelby, Marin, Hudson and Geneva. Mom also valued her roles as Knowles family historian and social convener. Relationships with her siblings deepened as they aged together and she had special connections with several nieces and nephews. Fiercely loyal, Mom’s friends always knew she was unequivocally in their corner. She had an affinity for the underdog and many turned to her when they were struggling. She loved all things old – cars, houses, furniture, and people. She recently devoted much time and energy into participation on the Alberta Council on Aging and her historic home in the Waskasoo neighbourhood of Red Deer was the center of our family gatherings. She was never without a book, an ear for listening, or competent hands for projects.
Mom was predeceased by her husband Bill, sisters Lillian Johnson and Betty Vorachek, brother Leo Knowles, brothers-in-law Willie Ries, Alfred Zurfluh, Ross Spencer, Ted Vorachek, and sisters-in-law Wendy Gobeil and Eileen Smyth. She leaves to mourn her children, Terri (Dug), Lorraine (Patrick) and John (Carol), grandchildren Shelby, Marin, Hudson and Geneva, siblings George Knowles, Herbert Knowles, Shirley Ries, Wilma Zurfluh, Nora Spencer, and Karen Hogg (Joe), brothers and sisters-in-law Mike Johnson, Bob Smyth, David and Rita Smyth, Ron Gobeil, Clark and Norah Watts and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Mom’s life will be held July 31st, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the Poplar Ridge Community Centre, 38543 Range Road 283, Red Deer County, AB T4E 0M1.
Online condolences can be forwarded to the family at www.parkland funeral home.com.
For further information please go to www.sandrasmyth.com
“If you look the right way,
you can see the whole world as a garden.” ~ Francis Hodgsen Burnet