Mom was born October 14, 1921 at home near Big Stick Lake, Sask., the third of five children born to Adolph and Julia Jaster. She took her first eight years of school at Rosenfeld School and by permission of the school board, completed grades 9, 10 and 11 there by correspondence. She took the train by herself to Regina to attend Luther College where she earned her Grade 12. She was accepted into training at Yorkton’s Queen Victoria Hospital School of Nursing and after three years she graduated as a registered nurse in 1944. She came to know Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior and was baptized at Lee Lake in the summer of 1933. She was fluent in the old German language with its unique alphabet and later in life translated many old documents both handwritten and otherwise found in archives.
When mom was nine, her older brother Bernard died of meningitis and from that time she naturally felt led into becoming a caregiver – she missed him dearly over the years. In 1941, she met her husband-to-be, Harold Fritzke who was admitted as a patient at the Yorkton Hospital following a sawmill accident. After completing her training, she worked as a nurse at Winnipeg, Prelate, Sask, the old “army” hospital in Maple Creek and Chiliwack, B.C.
Harold and Leota were married at Golden Prairie First Baptist Church on October 3rd, 1946. They lived for a brief time near Yorkton and then moved back to Golden Prairie where Dad bought and operated a private power plant that provided electricity to this village. In 1958 Mom and Dad bought her father Adolph Jaster’s farm. She went back to her nursing career in 1961 and continued until 1987 when she retired. Then in 1988 she cared for Brent’s first wife June whose wish was granted to die at home. Mom enjoyed being part of the farming operation with Dad and his sons by cooking, painting, cutting grass and doing whatever she could. Mom’s mother Julia taught her to play piano and organ and mom shared this gift of music at church and whenever she was asked and also passed this love of music on to her children and grandchildren.
For the last eight years of Dad’s life, she devoted her time to taking care of him. She was an awesome cook and loved baking all sorts of wonderful German dishes. After Dad died, she ended up with a pacemaker that kept her going. She had two serious surgeries in 2012. She broke her right hip in May and then fell again in July needing rods and pins to repair her left upper leg. It slowed her down and finally she had to accept that she would require a walker to walk again. In the last three weeks, she developed shingles. The severe pain and complications associated with this exhausted her. She kept her chin up and fought a hard fight.
Contributions in her memory can be made to Voice of Hope Mission operating out of Vancouver, B.C. They are a mission group serving in Russia and surrounding territories and she has supported their work for many years.
Funeral services were held in Golden Prairie First Baptist Church on February 21, 2014 with Rev. John Enns officiating. Interment followed at Rosenfeld cemetery.
Leota left a poem to share with us all.
I would not have you grieve for me today,
Nor weep beside my vacant chair.
Could you but know my daily portion here,
You would not, could not wish me there.
I know now why He said, “Ear hath not heard”;
I have no words,
Or even if I had I DARE not tell,
Because you could not bear it yet.
So, only this – I am the same, though changed,
Like Him! A joy more rich and strong
Than I had dreamed that any heart could hold,
And all my life is one
Sometimes when you are talking to our Lord,
He turns and speaks to me. Dear heart,
In that rare moment you and I are just
The distance of a word apart!
And so, my loved ones, do not grieve for me
Around the family board today;
Instead, rejoice, for we are one in Him.
And I am not so far away.
~ Martha Snell Nicholson