It is with heavy hearts that the family of Astrid (Persson/Mosbeck) Fairnington announces her passing on Friday, May 3, 2013 in Fort Frances, Ont.
She was born Nov. 18, 1916 to J. Alfred and Christine Persson in Rich Valley, Alta.
Her family relocated to Tovell, Ont. in her early childhood and she attended the Tovell School that her father had built on their property as a public school, thus beginning her passion for learning and teaching.
Astrid had many health issues as a child but despite her delicate health, she persevered and attended Rainy River High School, completing her Grades 11 and 12 simultaneously and obtaining her teacher’s certificate.
Following her dreams and thirst for knowledge, she continued her education further. While teaching full-time, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western University and Master’s degree in Geology, with post-graduate courses in geography, German, and Swedish from Queen’s University and the University of Waterloo.
The 17 years following found her continuing to achieve several dozen specialist certificates through summer school programs and home study—all while continuing to work and raise a family.
Astrid married Chester Mosbeck in December, 1934 and when they first homesteaded in Minahico, they lost everything to a fire, but they carried on by making the best of it with hard work. They moved to Tovell, where they had two sons, Ronald and Dennis, and later to Sutherland-Nelles and Bergland, where Astrid taught until after Chester developed severe heart problems.
In 1948, she and Chester moved their family to Fort Frances, where Astrid became the guidance counsellor and taught at Fort Frances High School. She was asked to develop a pilot project that became the two- and four-year occupational courses for the high schools of Ontario and her format is still in use today.
She was widowed in 1959, and in 1967 she married Matthew Fairnington and welcomed Matt’s son, Murray, into her heart.
Destiny took Astrid and Matt to live in Jamaica, where Astrid had taken a position under External Aid to set up special courses and to head the visual-aid department at the Mico Teacher’s College of Kingston. She was an active member of the Jamaican Geography Society and the student council.
They returned to Canada in 1968, when Astrid’s expertise then was needed in Galt, Ont.
She began work for the Department of Correctional Services. She set up accredited courses for the correctional schools of Ontario, and was the principal of the Grand View School until her retirement.
Upon their return to Canada, Astrid and Matt pursued their dream of raising champion show horses. They purchased a property in Puslinch to set up a horse farm, where they bred horses and produced some of the finest show horses in North America, winning many trophies and awards.
Together they served on the Pinto Horse Association of Ontario and the Ontario Paint Horse Association.
During this time Astrid also did much to further serve the community as the president of the Ontario Film Council, served on the board for the Ontario Correctional Services, and also was active at St. Luke’s United Church in Cambridge.
Throughout her life, Astrid was a member of the Swedish Vasa Lodge of America, and she was cultural leader of the Vasa Order of America for North Western Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and northern Alberta.
In 1991, Astrid and Matt returned to Fort Frances and settled into retirement. Astrid served on the executive of the Royal Purple Lodge of Fort Frances, the Ladies Auxiliary VFW Post #1698 in Franklin, N.H., and of the Fort Frances Scandinavian Club, the Bergland Senior Club, and the Bluebird Club.
Gathering with friends for a fast and furious card game was something Astrid looked forward to. She also was an accomplished seamstress, making much of her own wardrobe throughout her life and gifts for those she loved.
Astrid dedicated her life to teaching. Her students were most precious to her and she maintained relationships with many of them throughout her life. She often was visited by, and corresponded with, previous students, and she remembered all with great love and pride.
This amazing woman touched so many lives, and her legacy lives on in the programs she developed in Canada and Jamaica and that are used in many states in the U.S.
Astrid was particularly drawn to helping those with special needs and children at risk.
Astrid was predeceased by her parents; step-mother, Margreta; brothers, Bertil, Albin, Lennard, Milton, Edvin, and Elmer Persson; sisters, Olga Hahr and Eunice Persson; beloved son, Murray; dear daughter-in-law, Dionia (Gushulak) Mosbeck; grandson-in-law, Mike Brown; first husband, Chester; and in 2009, she lost her dear Matthew.
Left to cherish her memory are her sister, Joyce Durnin; sons, Ronald (Marilyn) Mosbeck and Dennis Mosbeck; daughter-in-law, Valli Fairnington; grandchildren, Cary (Sheila), Wayne (Cathi), Kate, Diana (Paul), Clinton, Amanda (Dev), Mark, and Brad.
She also leaves behind to share beautiful memories her eight great-grandchildren, Naiomie (Shawn), Nathan, Caelum, Nicki, Natasha, Brianne, Kiera, and Trista; many cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends; and thousands of eager students she inspired.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 1 p.m. at Knox United Church in Fort Frances.
In lieu of flowers, in memoriam donations may be made to Rainycrest Long-Term Care, 550 Osbourne St., Fort Frances, Ont., P9A 3T2.
“Such the life . . .” often was said by Astrid. What an inspirational life it was.
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