WEISS – Vera Elizabeth Weiss of Maple Creek, Sk. passed away on April 1, 2016 at the age of 81. She leaves to cherish her memory three children, Brent (Jackie), Peggy, Kevin(Rhonda) and their children Chad Weiss(Nikki), Nikki Weiss(Cody Wakelam), Jeremy Jans(Tasha Curry), Jerid Jans(Kelsey Laberge), Amy Weiss(Rylan Schneider), John Weiss and great granddaughter, Kiera Weiss.
Vera was pre-deceased by husband, Johnny, parents, Adam and Freda Koenig, Father and Mother-in-law, John C. and Bertha Weiss, three brothers, two sisters, one brother-in-law, and one sister-in-law.
Vera’s father, Adam Koenig was born in 1908 in Saratov, Russia. When he was 10 years old, his parents moved the family to Chinook, Montana where they farmed and broke horses. In 1923, they moved to Canada and purchased a homestead north of Ravenscrag, Sk. Imagine buying a homestead for $50 in today’s time.
Vera’s mother, Freda Schweigert was born in 1916, in Maple Creek, Sk. Her family homestead was Murraydale.
Freda married Adam in 1933 and resided on the family farm until retirement when they moved to Eastend. In 1993, they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Vera was born Sept. 26, 1934 in Ravenscrag, Sk. and was the eldest of eleven children. She attended North Bench School until grade ten. To get to school she either drove the team or rode her horse. She left home at age sixteen and worked for Lawrence Good as a housekeeper until getting a job as a nurse’s aid in the Maple Creek Hospital. She later rented a small house in Piapot and worked at the general grocery store.
During Vera’s younger years, she loved music, especially the old time country music. She came from a very musical background, so she learned to play the guitar by ear and soon joined a band. She eventually met Johnny, while playing for a dance in Piapot. According to a letter I found, Dad was 16 when he met mom and in the letter, told her she was a cute chick. I teased mom that she was a cradle robber, since she was two years older than him.
After a long courtship, Johnny & Vera married on September 28, 1956. They moved onto the ranch with Johnny’s parents, east of Maple Creek. In 1962, Johnny’s parents retired to Medicine Hat and Johnny & Vera took over the ranch. They had three children, Brent, Peggy, and Kevin.
Vera wasn’t a rancher’s wife; she was a rancher. She thought nothing of changing a section or guard on a swather, milking a cow or two, bottle-feeding a lamb, raising blue heeler pups, or pulling a calf, she was Johnny’s right hand; helping wherever it was needed. When she was finished outside, she had a list of things to do inside.
Vera loved to cook and bake. Baking buns was her specialty along with bread, spudnuts, streudals, and saskatoon pies. If you look at the back of your memorial card, we have shared Vera’s bun recipe. She would be thrilled to know that we leaked her secret recipe to you all. She was always delighted to teach someone how to cook or bake. Vera always kept a huge garden, canned many vegetables and all kinds of fruit. Homemade sausage was always in the deep freeze. When you visited, you could always be sure to find yourself eating fresh bread, sausage, homemade pie and dill pickles. I think everyone came for the food, and the more you ate, the more Vera liked it. I remember as a kid, we always had a lot of company. People just showed up and my parents loved it. One Sunday, 32 people showed up and 32 people stayed for supper. I got to be a pretty good dishwasher back in those days.
Vera wasn’t a traveller, she was happy to go to Medicine Hat a couple times a year. Her love was the ranch, plain and simple. Her idea of a good time was going for a drive around the ranch, checking the cows or driving out to the dam sizing up the choke cherries to make jam or attending Brent’s cattle sales.
Vera didn’t have a lot of what you call “hobbies” as her animals and love for the outside consumed much of her time. Not only did people love her, but animals did too. If it wasn’t a cow following her around, it was a horse or 5 cats and a couple dogs. I’m sure if the chickens weren’t fenced in they would have followed her too. I’m certain Vera could nurture any animal, as she had that gentle and trusting way about her that animals loved.
Everyone loves traditions and Vera had hers. I’m certain everyone far and wide, knew about her “onion calendar”. For 52 years, she kept this tradition on New Years Eve. For years Johnny & Vera attended the New Years dance in Piapot. And yes, she took her onion to the party. At the stroke of midnight, everyone gathered around Vera and her onion, eagerly awaiting the upcoming prediction for moisture for each month of the upcoming year.
Christmas Eve was another tradition for Vera. It was a celebration of food, treats, presents and laughter. She always had a huge meal on Christmas Eve. Besides the meal, the treat table was one we looked forward to all year long. We especially loved the homemade fudge, butter tarts, peanut butter confetti cake, halva, haystack cookies, homemade Christmas fruit-cake and ginger-ale. Once the grandkids came around, Johnny and Vera had a “fishing game” which consisted of a bed sheet across a doorway, a fishing rod and mom and dad hiding and giggling behind the sheet. As the kids fished, they would attach a little gift or treat… Seriously….. I don’t know who squealed louder or laughed harder? The kids or Vera & Johnny!
Vera was fortunate in her health and able to remain on the ranch until a couple of years ago. She spent time in Eastend integrated health care unity, and enjoyed being close to her brother Herbert and sister-in-laws, Gail and Moreen and niece, Jennifer. She was then moved to Leader for a few months until she made such a ruckus, she finally got moved back to Maple Creek and her family.
She lived in the old nursing lodge in Maple Creek until the new hospital opened, where she moved to the Prairie Oasis pod. She loved the staff and she told us kids how well everyone treated her there. They were her extended family.
The past couple years, Vera was delighted to help the 4-H Club, by my marking their record books. She enjoyed playing cards and a few years ago started croqueting toques, scarves, and blankets; often receiving orders from family and friends.
Vera was the most resourceful person I knew. Even after moving into the Nursing home, it was important to her to keep one of her Christmas traditions for us – our favorite treats. Much to our surprise, she had one of the girls from the Nursing home bake her Christmas fruit-cake recipe for Brent and her famous chocolate fudge for Kevin and I.
Above all else, Vera loved her family and truly enjoyed being a wife, mother and grandmother. Last November, Chad and Nikki blessed her with her first great granddaughter, Kiera. I’m pretty sure she had a blanket croqueted before the baby hit the ground. She enjoyed spending time with the new baby and proudly handed out pictures.
Vera had a sometimes “no filter” approach and a razor sharp tongue. Toss these ingredients into a German and Russian background…and, you get … well, you get Vera. Her quick- witted sense of humor will not be forgotten.
Vera had a heart that loved a lot of people aside from her own family. Everyone that came into her life, was affected by her. She gave them a sense of comfort and joy. Vera had a deep love for Johnny, and kept him near to her heart. It’s been 18 years since he left us, and has waited a long time for Vera.
One of Vera’s favorite flowers is the shooting star. So, whenever you see a shooting star, whether on the ground or in the sky… think of Vera, think of Johnny, together again.
A Funeral Service was held on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at the Maple Creek United Church with Eleanor Bowie officiating. Donations may be made to the Southwest Integrated Healthcare Facility for senior activities c/o Cypress Credit Union. Binkley’s Funeral Service Maple Creek & Leader in charge of arrangements, 306-662-2292. http://www.binkleysfuneralservice.com