Nora Werenko, 89, of Rainycrest Home for the Aged, Fort Frances, Ont., passed away peacefully in her son’s arms on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2004.
Nora was born in Emo, Ont. to Sarah (McAlpine) and William Lalonde on July 18, 1914. She grew up on a farm just south of Emo on the river road.
Nora graduated from Fort Frances High School in 1932 and continued on to North Bay Normal School, graduating in 1933 to become a teacher.
Her first teaching positions were in Finland and North Branch, earning $500 a year and paying for her own firewood for the one-room school, kindergarten to Grade 8.
At North Branch, she lived with her husband-to-be’s sister until he found her and married her on April 14, 1941. Their home expanded to include two of John’s brothers from Sundown, Man., and eventually they all moved, along with the sawmill, to Stratton until 1949.
Their sons, Morris and Alan, now were on the scene and the family moved to Fort Frances. They opened the West End Service Station and got their first logging contract at McDonald’s Inlet.
Nora slowed down her teaching and took over the bookkeeping for husband, John.
The first cut-over area at Hopkin’s Bay, now on the Dryden highway, always will be known as the Werenko clearing and it would be impossible to think about McDonald’s Inlet without thinking about Nora and John’s main bush camp there.
Nora was a devoted member of Redwing Rebekah Lodge, whose watch-words of Friendship, Love, and Truth bind us all together. Nora had joined in January 1954.
Her concern for family, friends, and church were predominant through her life. She had been Noble Grand and went on to be District Deputy President.
She also was a charter member of the United Church Women and practised Christian leadership throughout her life. In October, 2000, she received a lifetime membership award at a special ceremony held at her Rainycrest home.
Nora was twice president of the Fort Frances Horticultural Society and often could be found tending to her beautiful garden. She loved gardening and flower arranging.
She was an active member of the R.T.O. (Retired Teachers of Ontario) and the Arthritis Bluebird Club. She also was a past Toastmaster’s Club member, and loved Norman Vincent Pealle books; her glass was always half-full, never half-empty.
After her retirement from teaching and bookkeeping, Nora loved playing bridge with her friends, paper tolling, and especially gardening. She loved the tranquility of Rainy Lake, its seasons, the bush, and its animals and birds.
Nora was deeply grieved by the loss of her husband in February, 1989 to cancer and later that year of her son, Morris, in a tragic plane accident. But she found the strength to go on, continuing to spread her love and message of faith and courage to her family and friends.
She is survived by her son, Alan and his wife, Bonnie; and grandmother to Jennifer and Ernie Legault, Nichole and Steve Wagner, Cathy and Rod Hoard, and Christa, Tara-Lee, and Jon-Alan Werenko.
Nora was predeceased by her husband, John; son, Morris; sister, Rose Hyatt; and brothers, Charlie and John Lalonde.
Nora was a faithful wife, wonderful mother, caring grandmother, devoted Christian, and a trustworthy friend. She will be deeply missed by all of us.
A visitation was held Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2004 from 7 until 8:30 p.m. at Green Funeral Home, with a reception for all family and friends following at the La Place Rendez-Vous.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004 at 1 p.m. at the Knox United Church in Fort Frances.
Rev. Marietta Marshall officiated, with interment in the Riverview Cemetery in Fort Frances.
The pallbearers were Bob Wepruk, Norman Hyatt, Garry Lalonde, Jon-Alan Werenko, Paul Eliuk, and Nick Eliuk.
The honourary pallbearers were her Redwing Rebekah Lodge sisters, her family, and many, many cherished friends.
As Nora was a great Christian, in memoriam donations may be made to the Knox United Church Building Fund would be greatly appreciated.