Zulma Louise Cherlet
On January 1, 2020 at the Gimli Hospital , Zulma, beloved wife of Marcel, peacefully went home to be with Jesus. Besides her loving and caring husband of 60 years, Zulma is survived by her children Theresa (Rheal) Collette, Catherine (David) Lyder and Michael (Janice) Cherlet, her grandchildren Rachael (Eric) O’Callaghan, Liana (Michael) Pekrul, Liam and Genevieve Lyder and Ben, Laura, Rosa and Ella Cherlet, her great-granddaughter Aria O’Callaghan, her siblings Anna (Phil Sarrasin) Maes-Sarrasin, Yvonne Delichte, Raymond (Fenella) Temmerman, her sister-in-law Janice Temmerman, her brothers-in-law Bob (Jeanette) Cherlet and Ray (Joyce) Cherlet, numerous nieces and nephews, and furry grandpets Charlie Collette and Madeline and Wil Lyder. Zulma was predeceased by her parents Hector and Maria Temmerman, her parents-in-law Frank and Marie Cherlet, her brother Frank Temmerman, and brothers-in-law Maurice Maes and Lawrence Delichte.
Zulma was born on April 22, 1935 at home in Swan Lake, Manitoba. She attended Norquay School and Ste. Marie School in Bruxelles. Zulma grew up a reliable farm girl and was her father’s right hand ‘man’, but she decided to pursue a nursing career, her life’s work, graduating as an LPN in 1955. After working in a number of locations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, she returned to Swan Lake in 1957 to continue nursing at the local hospital. One fateful New Year’s Eve, she was reacquainted with her childhood friend, Marcel Cherlet, who was home on leave from the RCAF base in Edmonton. After a whirlwind long-distance courtship of a few months, they became engaged at Easter 1958, and were married in Swan Lake on May 9, 1959. Zulma followed her RCAF husband to Edmonton, where her three children were born. After a number of years living the RCAF life in Alberta and Ontario and working part-time at the related local hospitals, she and Marcel decided to settle for good in Manitoba, first in Winnipeg. Once her children were settled in school, she returned to nursing full-time, primarily geriatrics, working in the communities of Morris, Emerson, Manitou and Gimli. Upon retiring in 1992, Zulma’s working hours turned into volunteer hours, where she dedicated herself to many causes in the Gimli community, including sewing Huldufolk dolls and providing support for Cansurmount. Her call to service included being an active member of the Board of Directors of the Gimli Hospital in the 1990’s. Zulma supported Marcel in the development of the Gimli Lawn Bowls Club, and was a charter member. Her love of history complemented her volunteer work at the New Iceland Heritage Museum, where she was an integral part of the committees that facilitated the re-development of the new museum from the ground up. She helped prepare, package and move the artifacts to the new museum location, and then helped catalogue the collection. Zulma was also the author of the first tour guide manual, and was an active and valuable tour guide for many years. She and Marcel were key players in the creation of Evergreen Basic Needs, a charitable, community-based organization in Gimli. Zulma participated in fundraisers for Evergreen’s building, and volunteered significant time working in the store and ensuring that all received donations of clothing, household goods and furniture were in tip-top shape for resale. All through her life, but particularly in her retirement years, she gave of her time, talent, and treasure. She continued her volunteer work for many years until the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease made her world smaller.
A gifted piano player, Zulma had a passion for music, and she was very involved in church, school and community choirs. She was a founding member of The Westshore Singers, and was a member of the Gimli Handbell Choir. She loved gardening, needlework and quilting, and could knit an afghan or a sweater at remarkable speed without taking her eyes off the TV. She was a voracious reader and enjoyed completing jigsaw and crossword puzzles. Her love of animals was very evident by all the furry friends she met on her daily walks, and the love she showed to her furry grandpets. Zulma’s name came from the strong family women who preceded her, and as a first-generation Canadian, she was very proud of her Belgian heritage and traditions. She loved to travel, especially across Canada and to Europe to visit relatives and many historical sites. Zulma was a strong, independent and kind woman who provided a wonderful example to her children and was a kick-ass Grandma to her grandchildren. She was fortunate to welcome her grandchildren in bunches, having little ones to cuddle for three decades. Her strong Catholic faith was evident in how she lived her life, helping others less fortunate, providing community service, having an open door to her home, in her loving and committed partnership with Marcel, and in her acceptance of her cancer diagnosis. God answered her prayer that she be taken home before the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s set in. She always had time to listen and provide wise counsel to those in need. She touched many lives, and will be missed.
Funeral mass will be celebrated on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 11:00 am at St. Michael’s Church, 113 7 Avenue, Gimli, MB, concelebrated by Father Marcelino Bandico and Father Art Seaman. Inurnment at Swan Lake Cemetery will occur at a later date. The family gives heartfelt thanks to the staff at Health Sciences Center, the Gimli Community Health Center – Johnson Memorial Hospital, and the Interlake – Eastern Regional Health Authority for their kind and compassionate care, as well as to family and friends for their continued prayers and support. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Evergreen Basic Needs in Gimli (evergreenbasicneeds.com).
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