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VERNA VALDINA ISFELD (published on January 02, 2010)

VERNA VALDINA ISFELD We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Verna Valdina Isfeld on the morning of December 27, 2009, after a difficult battle with cancer. She was 62. Verna was a cornerstone at Maples Collegiate in Winnipeg, where she was employed for 29 years as a guidance counselor. In those 29 years, she changed thousands of students' lives through her tireless efforts to help them succeed. Her students were her kids, and she would often spend late evenings at the school to help them get scholarships, credits, and aid during difficult times in their lives. Verna was born in Johnson Memorial Hospital in Gimli, Manitoba on January 10, 1947 to Trausti (Frosty) and Noreen Isfeld. She grew up on the Hofi farm with her brother Wayne, and helped her family care for the many animals they raised mink, foxes, sheep, cows, and horses. While living on the farm, she helped in her community by volunteering with the Ladies' Aid and Husavik Hall. After graduating from Gimli High School, Verna moved to Winnipeg and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Winnipeg. She then used her math skills gained in university to work as a financial analyst for A W in English Bay, B.C. Upon moving back to Winnipeg, she attended the University of Manitoba and obtained a Certificate of Education. This got Verna her first teaching job at Erickson Collegiate in history and guidance. Verna later returned to the University of Manitoba to obtain her Bachelor of Education and become a guidance counselor. Her first job as a guidance counselor was at Edmund Partridge Junior High, and at the end of her work there, she was also acting vice principal for the school. In the fall of 1980, Verna transferred to Maples Collegiate as a counselor and teacher. Verna worked with her fellow guidance counselor and partner in crime Fil Costa to help students reach their potential. When in classes, she taught math, social studies, and career education. Annually, she organized two major events to help students pursue careers and post-secondary education. Verna also involved herself in the school's extracurricular activities. She was the supervising teacher for yearbook from 1981 until 1996, completing 16 books with the students. She did make-up, props and backstage work for drama, and was involved in every production until 2008. She would often run into former students who always told her she was their favourite teacher. Everyone at the Maples treasured the effort that Izzy made for her students. Verna also cared deeply for her two nieces, Erin and Jamie. Verna spent many summers taking the girls to the zoo, educational day camps, and other events they enjoyed. She made sure the girls received the education they wanted and supported them in their choices. While her students were her kids, Verna's babies were her cats. Throughout her life, Verna's home was rarely without one, and she loved them all equally Ask'em (Popsicle), Crystal (Momma), Baby, Spike, Little One, Gingersnap, and Pumpkin Pie. She even left a dish of food on her front doorstep for hungry outside cats in her neighbourhood. Verna was a prolific and talented artist, teaching for the Seven Oaks Continuing Education classes in both acrylics and oils. Verna loved to paint pictures of scenery and wildlife. Her works have been displayed in many shows, and have also won several awards, including a Best in Show the first year she entered the Icelandic Festival Art Show. She is predeceased by her parents, Trausti and Noreen. She is survived by her brother, Wayne; his wife, Pat; her nieces, Erin and Jamie; her four cats; and other relatives. Verna's family would like to thank her many friends who offered support, visits, and errands; as well as the staff at St. Boniface Palliative Care for their efforts in keeping her comfortable in her final months. To respect Verna's wishes, no funeral will be held. A celebration will be held at a later date to commemorate her life. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Verna's name to the Winnipeg Humane Society or toward a scholarship trust for Maples Collegiate graduating students. Gilbart Funeral Home, Selkirk in care of arrangements.

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