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COLLEEN GAYE SOLMUNDSON (published on October 22, 2008)

COLLEEN GAYE SOLMUNDSON Following a courageous battle, with family by her side, Colleen Solmundson passed away at her residence in Portage la Prairie on Monday, October 20, 2008 at the age of 49 years. She was predeceased by her parents Ted and Josephine Solmundson and her dear sister Heather Skoropata of Gimli Manitoba by only a few hours. Colleen is lovingly remembered by the love of her life David Stiegler, brother-in-law David Skoropata, niece Tamara and nephew Trevor, brother Brent, brother Curtis (Lee) Solmundson, and nieces Taylor and Lindsay. Some of the following are the words of Colleen’s youngest brother Curtis. Colleen and her sister Heather had a special unique bond throughout their lives. As they were growing up, they were often dressed by their mother like twins. This closeness continued as they struggled through their sickness together. Colleen fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a teacher when she graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1981. Colleen dedicated herself to her teaching profession. She taught mainly basic French and French immersion at Prince Charles School for nearly 25 years and was known by her students as Madame Solmundson. She loved her students and will always be remembered for her love of Smarties and Pepsi. She was known by her nieces as “Crazy Auntie Colleenie” and would light up the room with her unique high-pitched squealing. Anyone who knows Colleen understands this. Colleen may have shown a hard outer shell at times, but those she let inside were privileged to experience her extreme warmth, love and generousity. She truly was a unique individual that will be sadly missed by family and friends but never forgotten. We love you Colleen. In Colleen’s last three years of her life and at the beginning of her battle with cancer, she was so fortunate to meet the love of her life, Dave Stiegler. In their short time together they were able to share a whole lifetime of memories. Together they created a beautiful home, purchased Colleen’s dream lakefront cottage and traveled to Hawaii and Nova Scotia. Truly, Dave stood by his love through thick and thin and his love for her will go on. Some of David Stiegler’s thoughts, reflections and insights follow. Colleen had been very close to her siblings as her parents had passed away so young. She loved her brother Curtis and family Lee, Taylor and Lindsay so much. Colleen also loved her sister Heather Skoropata and family David, Tamara and Trevor. On October 20, 2008 Colleen’s beloved sister also passed away from ovarian cancer. This tragic disease ended the life of two young sisters and has left a void in the lives of family and friends. Family gatherings were so special to Colleen and her siblings and her trips to Gimli, her home was something she always looked forward to. Colleen had an extended family that included Irene and Gerry Varnes (Winnipeg) and Betty and Gus Finnson (Gimli). Her Uncle, Barry Zagazewski and family were very special to Colleen and she could always count on Uncle Barry and her extended family to be there when needed. In a subsequent obituary I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to those friends and caregivers who were a heaven sent, particularly in Colleen’s recent journey. Finally, Cinnamon, Colleen’s love, pride and joy wishes her a safe, happy passage to the next journey where they will one day be reunited. I for one know that my short time with Colleen was filled with all the love, experiences and memories one could ask for. My feisty, curly haired friend, who stole my heart, will never be forgotten. I miss you terribly. Till we meet again my love! A service to celebrate Colleen’s life, in conjunction with her sister Heather’s life, will be held Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 2:00 pm at Gimli Lutheran Church # 50- 3rd Ave, Gimli Manitoba, led by Mona Johnson. A celebration of Colleen’s life to be held in Portage la Prairie will be announced subsequently. As expressions of sympathy, if friends so wish, donations may be made in Colleen’s memory to Central Plains Cancer Care Services, 318 Saskatchewan Ave. E., Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 0K8. or PAWS (Portage Animal Welfare Society) Box 1426, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 3N9. A tree will be planted and cared for in memory of Colleen by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel, 857-4021.

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