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O'BRIEN Florence Helen (1921-2009) Florence Helen was born on the family farm near Lisieux (formerly Kantenville), Saskatchewan on August 21st, 1921. She was the 6th child of Gilbert and Helen Kanten. She died peacefully in her sleep at her home, Bethany Sylvan Lake, on April 7, 2009, with her daughter Pat at her side. The Kanten family moved from Saskatchewan to the Caroline area in 1932. Florence attended school at Crammond with her brothers and sisters, riding horseback or walking the 2.5 miles. She completed grade 10. Even with many hardships, the family prospered and their home was always filled with guests, laughter and music. Florence became an excellent cook. When she went to work at a camp west of Caroline, she met the love of her life, George Hardam O’Brien, and they were married August 31, 1939. Their first child, George Grant was born a year later. George found work on the Coal Branch south of Edson, and in 1944, Sharon Irene was born. The family moved from the Coal Branch the following spring to try farming north of Westlock. For several years the family moved between the Coal Branch in the winter and the farm in the summer. Florence cooked, looked after the family, planted a vegetable garden, canned or preserved the vegetables, raised hundreds of chickens, sold cream and eggs, canned fish they had caught, and made all the family clothes. They eventually bought a house in Westlock, and also started up a laundry. George helped out in the laundry whenever he could, but it was mostly hard, hot, steamy work for Florence. A third child was born in 1955, Patricia Helen, and not long afterwards the family moved to Edmonton where George had been hired by the Edmonton General Hospital. Florence began to devote some of her time and energy to developing skills at numerous kinds of crafts.They were able to take holidays in travel trailers of ever increasing size. Florence loved the trips to BC, the northern States, and to Saskatchewan to visit family. Pat married in 1975, and the appearance of 2 grandsons, Bryan and Mark Jacobsen, were much to Florence's delight. She made them special baby quilts and an assortment of cute clothes. The extended family were now camping and fishing together, and spent long weekends at the old Kanten farm. George retired in 1976, and he and Florence moved to Red Deer. They started to spend their winters in Arizona near Yuma. Florence's creativity blossomed, as she produced some of her most beautiful quilts and afghans, and learned an even greater variety of crafts. They made many good longstanding friends on "The Ridge". A minor stroke set her back for a short time but she continued managing at home with George's help. In January 2006, George needed emergency surgery, and Florence fell, breaking her hip. She never really recovered from the fall, and because she could then no longer be looked after at home, Florence went to live in care, moving to Bethany Sylvan Lake. George visited regularly. Florence's abilities slowly declined, but she made many friends of residents and staff because of her great sense of humour, interest and participation in the many goings on. George's death in 2007 was a big blow, but with her typical resilience, Florence carried on. She became ill only a short time before her passing, and even then lived on her terms. She will be sadly missed by many. A celebration of Florence's life will be held at the graveside, Caroline Cemetery, 6pm April 16, with dinner to follow at the Caroline Legion. Donations may be made in Florence's name to The Bethany Care Foundation to be used for resident care equipment at Bethany Sylvan Lake, the Alzheimer's Association of Canada or a charity of your choice. Condolences can be forwarded to the family by visiting www.reddeerfuneralhome.com. Funeral arrangements in care of the RED DEER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORIUM (67 STREET) LTD. 6150 – 67 Street, Red Deer Telephone (403)347-3319


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