Sheila Berke

Obituary of Sheila Marie Berke

Sheila Marie Berke (nee Maroney), age 88, passed away peacefully November 24, 2020 with many of her family by her side. Sheila was born on March 24, 1932, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to James and Gwendoline Maroney. The only girl in a family of 8 children. She was raised in Prince Albert until the age of 8, when the family moved to Calgary, Alberta. Sheila went to St Mary’s Girls School in Calgary, until she graduated in 1950. She then took a job at Dominion Bank followed by General Motors Acceptance Corp. During this time, she met and married the love of her life Frank Richard Berke, on July 14, 1951. Frank and Sheila then moved to Hanna, Alberta where Frank worked as a watchmaker with his brother Herb at “Berke’s Jewellers”. Frank & Sheila soon purchased the jewellery store from Herb and continued to build the family business. The first of their children, Frank was born the following year, in 1952. Followed in quick succession by Craig, James (Jimmy), Maureen, William (Bill) and Robert (Bob). Followed soon after by three premature babies, Catherine, Michael, and Clara, who sadly did not survive. Sheila grew to love her life in Hanna although the challenges were many raising 6 children, with the oldest being only 5 years. Somehow, she managed to run the Berke household, assist all six kids with their schoolwork, sports and after school activities, while also supporting her husband Frank in the jewellery store. Not an easy task, but Sheila was the family matriarch who kept everything and everyone together and moving forward. With all of this, Sheila stayed very involved in many community activities including the Kinettes Club, Meals on Wheels and the Catholic Women’s League. The St. George’s Catholic Church was a large part of her, and her family’s lives. Sheila also loved to play bridge and met weekly with her bridge playing friends to enjoy a social gathering and the game. Both Sheila and Frank were also very active in the Hanna Player’s Society who annually performed the “Gilbert & Sullivan” Operetta series, on stage. Sheila had the most amazing memory and never forgot friends and family’s birthdays and special occasions. She loved to hand write cards and letters and until recently always made sure that personalized Birthday and Christmas cards went out to all the special people in Sheila’s life. If anyone ever had a question about people from Hanna and where they were now, Sheila could provide amazing details with names and all the details about that person and their family. She was also very proud of her eyesight and still had 20/20 vision when she passed. Sheila always put others ahead of herself. If anyone was in need, Sheila was one of the first to step up and assist in any way that she could. Sheila was a real lady and never left the house without her makeup and her hair being done. Her dear friend and hairdresser, Rhonda Stolz Stone, kept Sheila looking great right up to when she died. After the early passing of her husband Frank in 1991, Sheila struggled to move on without him. She continued to stay active. Her canine companion, Casey, whom she loved deeply, kept her company. You would often see her and Casey walking early in the morning around the town. Sheila surrounded herself with her children, friends, and grandchildren. Her home was always the gathering place for special occasions and family events. Like her daughter Maureen, Sheila was very organized and an amazing cook. She could whip up a delicious feast with short notice and pull it off with rave reviews. She always made sure everyone was well cared for. In her later years and her mobility became difficult, she moved from her home on 6th Avenue to the Hanna Lodge. This was a difficult transition for Sheila, and she found it a challenge to settle into this new lifestyle away from her home. Thankfully, daughter Maureen who lives in Hanna was always there for mom and along with brother Craig, helped her immensely during this difficult time. When the Covid Pandemic shutdown came, it was especially hard on Sheila and all of the seniors at the lodge. This isolation certainly aged Sheila and stole some of her enthusiasm for life. Over the past year her health deteriorated, and she subconsciously prepared herself to leave this world and join her departed loved ones in a better place. After two weeks in the Hanna Hospital, she quietly slipped away on the morning of Tuesday, November 24th with her family by her side. A huge thank you to the wonderful nurses, staff, and Dr. Mdawe at the Hospital. Sheila was so well cared for and the empathy, care, and concern from all the hospital staff, was so heartfelt and very much appreciated. She is survived by her children: Frank Berke (Wendy) of Sidney BC, Craig Berke (Mary-Jean) of St Albert AB, Maureen Corry (Reg) of Hanna AB and Bill Berke of Edmonton, daughter in-law Debbie Berke of Stony Plain; grandchildren: Frank Jr. & Shannon, Lisa & Shawn, Adam, Michele, Angela, Michael, Heather, Sheldon, Stuart, and Tyler; 7 great grandchildren; and Sheila’s brothers, Gordon, Carney, Mike (Shirley), Craig and Martin (Natalie) Maroney. Sadly, her husband Frank along with her children: Robert, James, Catherine, Michael, Clara and grandchildren Brittany and Garret, predeceased her. Sheila Berke will be dearly missed by her family and friends. She has been waiting a long time be reunited with her husband Frank and is now finally by his side. She touched many in a positive way on her life journey and left this world a better place. “Mom, in life we loved you dearly, in death we love you still. In our hearts you hold a place no one will ever fill.” Due to COVID-19 restrictions a funeral mass will be held at a later date. If desired donations in memory of Sheila can be made directly to the Alberta Cancer Foundation, 10123 99 St NW #710, Edmonton, AB T5J 3H1. Hanna Funeral Services Ltd., entrusted with the care and arrangements; 403-854-5956, www.hannafuneral.ca.
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