Betty Doreen Keith (nee: Burch)
Surrounded by love, Betty Doreen Keith (nee: Burch) passed away peacefully on February 5, 2020, at the age of 95.
Left to cherish her memory are her stepson Wilfred (Barbara) Keith; her grandchildren, Doug Keith, Al (Barb) Keith, Kelly Keith, and Jan (Rowland) Forster; her great-grandchildren, Cody (Kristian), Stefan, Mark, Mason, and Parker; and her great-great-grandson, Otsonen. Betty will also be remembered by her sister-in-law and friend, Millie Burch (wife of brother Bill), along with many nieces and nephews.
Betty was predeceased by her husband, Wilfred J. Keith; her daughter-in-law, Myrna Keith; her stepdaughter, Betty Stasiuk; her parents, Lancelot and Amy Burch; and her siblings and several of their spouses: Edna (William), Alvin (Ruth), Roy, Marjorie (Darrel), Bill, and Lucille (Romeo). She was also predeceased by Wilf’s siblings and their spouses, Marjorie (aka: Sister Rose Teresa), Bill (Florence), Arthur (Ethel – a childhood friend of Betty’s), Phyllis (Bob), Don (Marg), and Elmer.
Born in Selkirk, Manitoba, on August 19, 1924, to Lancelot and Amy Burch, Betty was welcomed into a blended family that would number seven children. After graduating from Devonshire Collegiate Institute, she and her sister, Lucille, shared an apartment in Winnipeg. She undertook a secretarial course at night school at Success Business College and worked in the mail-order department at Eaton’s for almost 10 years. Betty went on to fill various administrative positions throughout her life including working for the head of the RCMP in Winnipeg as ledger keeper for the entire division. She also worked at Kerr’s funeral chapel, Evelyn Affleck Realty, Trio Motors, Kron Transport, and in the office of a furniture store. She retired in her mid-70s after 12 years as a medical receptionist at Hollenberg & Associates Medical Group.
Betty married the love of her life, Wilfred Keith, a young widower with teenaged twins (Wilf, Jr. and Betty) in 1953. They enjoyed 25 wonderful years together before he passed in 1978. They loved the outdoors and spent many happy hours hiking, fishing, tobogganing, and boating, often with their grandkids and a picnic lunch in tow. They would often take the kids skiing, starting out at Yoyo hill near Pinawa where Wilf (known by his grandkids as Papa John or Pop) would drag them up the hill on a toboggan over and over!
Some of her favourite years were spent living in Keewatin, Ontario, when Wilf was transferred there with the Canadian Grain Commission, and they spent a great deal of time on Lake of the Woods often packing a shore meal and heading to the boat right from work. She loved to return there for many years afterward to visit friends and see her old haunts. They also loved visiting Wilf, Myrna, and family (when they lived in Pinawa) where they would take the grandkids, and often several of their friends, on many hikes in the Whiteshell.
For 30 years she owned a condo in Osborne Village, where she relished and fit right in with the lively neighbourhood. She could frequently be seen “tramping” all over town, if there had been pedometers in those days, she would have set a record for number of steps. She particularly enjoyed heading down to the Forks via the river trail.
Known affectionately as “Jama” to her grandkids, great-grandkids, and many others, Betty had an incredible spirit. She lived life to the fullest, always focussing on the best this world offers. She had boundless energy and a desire for adventure.
From an early age, Betty longed to see the world. She spoke of asking to tag along with her father, wherever he was headed, whenever an opportunity arose. Also spurring an interest in the wider world was an annual package of books, toys, and clothes from her mother’s family in England.
Her first trip was with a friend and co-worker from Eaton’s when they traveled all the way to New York City by bus. She would tell a story about how a cab driver got lost taking them to where they were staying and how they got to see more of the city that way. She went on to make many, many more trips to Europe, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and throughout North America on her own or with family. She kept in touch with people she met on tours for many years. She particularly loved cruises.
For many years, she would take Jan and Kelly along on her adventures and later on she would join them, along with Jan’s family, on some of their trips south. Kelly accompanied her on her last two trips which were both big ones. One to Alaska in 2007, where they took a land tour by glass domed train to Denali National Park and then up to Fairbanks, followed by a cruise down through the inside passage to Vancouver. The second was a 10 day cruise through the eastern Mediterranean, including Turkey, with a few days spent in Venice before and after. Both times, she adored sitting on the balcony of the stateroom and watching the scenery go by – be it the glaciers of Alaska or the Greek Islands.
The family would like to thank the staff at Pembina Place Personal Care Home, who took such great care of Betty over the last few years. We know that they will miss laughing and joking with her.
Funeral services will take place on Tuesday, February 11th, 2020 at the Gilbart Funeral Chapel in Selkirk, MB at 2:00 p.m. Interment will follow a reception.
“Happy trails” Jama, we love you to bits and will miss you terribly.
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