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EDNA BLANCHE HAMELIN (published on February 10, 2009)

EDNA BLANCHE HAMELIN (nee BRAY) December 19, 1919 - February 6, 2009 Peacefully and surrounded by the love of her family, Blanche Hamelin (nee Bray) formerly of Oakville, Manitoba passed away on Friday February 6th, 2009 at the Lions Prairie Manor in Portage la Prairie, at the age of 89 years. Blanche leaves to cherish her memory, devoted husband Tony, her life's partner of 67 years; daughter Jean (Don) Krampetz; sons Wade (Arlene) and Ian (Kathy) Hamelin. She will be forever missed by grandchildren Sharron Potvin, Colleen (Jay) Ahntholz, Mark (Tricia) Hamelin and Erin (Scott) Meyer; and 11 great-grandchildren: Anthony and Ashley Potvin and their father Claude, Chance and Max Ducharme; Reid and Cade Ahntholz; Blake, Riel and Mats Meyer, and Jack and Michael Hamelin. Extended family includes sisters-in-law Florence Bray (Oakville) and Doris Colvin (Thunder Bay); Joe and Lorette Hamelin (Winnipeg), Ron and Stella Hamelin (Hillcrest, AB), Ulysse and Annette Hamelin (St. Francois Xavier), Tom and Jocelyne Stewart (Ottawa); and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews across Canada and the United States. Blanche was predeceased by her daughter Janet Lea (September 2008), and infant grandson Michael Hamelin; her parents Edna Janet (Robertson) and John Henry Bray; brothers Bob and Allan Bray; sisters Dorothy Stewart and Melba Bartlett; sisters-in-law Claire Blight and Helen Bray; and brothers-in-law Ken Bartlett, Charles Colvin and Dick Blight. Blanche was born and raised in Oakville, Manitoba where she met then teenaged Tony who with his sister Florence was operating a small restaurant and butcher shop. Blanche and Tony were married in May 1942 after which she accompanied him to various Army postings in Canada prior to him leaving to serve overseas. Upon Tony's return after a year and a half absence, Blanche and Tony operated a store in Poplar Point MB where Wade was born. They subsequently ventured west, settling in New Westminster and Coquitlam, BC. Three more children followed before their return to Manitoba in 1959. Over subsequent years, they resided in Kirkfield Park, Baie St. Paul, and Twin Lake Beach, eventually coming full circle and establishing their retirement home in Oakville. As snowbirds , they spent 25 enjoyable winters in Mesa, Arizona and Weslaco, Texas. Over the years Blanche demonstrated her talents through various crafts, sewing, quilting and cooking. However her primary focus was always her family and her role as a traditional homemaker, devoted wife, dedicated mother, and adoring grandmother and great-grandmother. In recent years Blanche experienced a number of medical challenges, facing them without complaint and with courage and optimism. The family would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Khalil of the Portage Medical Clinic for his dedicated care; and to all the staff of the Lions Prairie Manor for their commitment and dedication to the essential work they do, and for the kindness and consideration they have extended to Blanche, Tony and the family... this includes nurses, social workers, healthcare and dietary aides, activities coordinators, and housekeeping and maintenance personnel ... too numerous to mention by name, but you know who you are. Special thanks also to sister-in-law Florence, cousins Rowena and Loretta, nephew Cameron Bray, Jamie and Susan Bartlett, and family friend Jack Kissock who visited Blanche faithfully during her three year residence in the Manor. Additional thanks and the family's sincere appreciation to Blanche's friends and former neighbours who demonstrate the special qualities and character which made her so enduringly proud to be a resident-daughter of Oakville. A memorial service in celebration of Blanche's life will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, February 13th, 2009 at McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel, 56 Royal Road South, Portage La Prairie. Honorary pallbearers will be sister-in-law Florence Bray, and cousins Rowena Gibb, Loretta Wood, Val Doupe, Verna Blight, Edna Miller and Melrose Carlson. Flowers gratefully declined. If family and friends so wish, donations may be made to the Lions Prairie Manor Foundation, 24 9th Street SE, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 3V4 or to the Oakville and District Community Endowment Foundation Fund, P.O. Box 1153, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 3J9. A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel 857-4021

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