August 25, 1928 – April 16, 2021
Kathleen Rose (Kay) VandenBrink passed away peacefully at the age of 92 with her family by her side.
Kathleen (Kay) was born on the farm in Poplar Ridge, Alberta, the first daughter and second child of Roy David Archibald and Kermet Hazel (nee Robinette). Kermet and her friend Bertha Doeg were out picking blueberries when Kermet went into labour. Perhaps that is why blueberries were Kay’s favorite fruit. Her parents, unable to agree on a name, called her Babe until the time she started school. She was named Kathleen after Kathleen Mosely, a friend of Roy’s rather than after Kermet’s friend Bertha. This may have been the first of many fortuitous life events.
Kay was born a farm girl and never lost the humility, warmth and steadfastness that came with this lot in life. It was on the farm her love of animals flourished. This showed up in hiding kittens till their eyes were open, so her father wouldn’t drown them to raising a piglet, Rusty, the runt of the litter, until moved into an outdoor pen.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Kay attended Poplar Ridge school through to grade 10. Since education was important to her parents, Kay went to Red Deer High Boarding School to finish her grade 12. Afterwards, Kay registered for the Provincial Training School’s (PTS) 3-year course in Mental Nursing rather than Nursing in Calgary, so she would be closer to home and make three times the salary.
Six months before finishing her program, Kay’s mother passed away. Rather than quitting the course she went on night duty so she could support her father with house keeping and raising her younger siblings; Joyce, Jim and Robin.
At 21, when Kay went to vote, she found out she had not been registered at birth. Fortunately, a birth announcement in the local Red Deer paper provided sufficient proof to register her birth and for her to become a Canadian Citizen in 1949, a second positive event.
Kay noticed Tony at PTS when he opened the door for her, she took a second look and was smitten. She always felt fortunate that Tony chose her for his future wife and so their long love story began. Married in July of 1953, three children in two and a half years and many trailer parks later, the family followed Tony through his successful climb in the oil patch.
Kay’s independence and tenacity was instrumental to success, especially in early family life. In April of 1959 the family moved into their first house in Sherwood Park. Kay with hammer in hand built the last of many sandboxes for the kids. A garden was planted in the backyard and the house was painted to make it a home. Kay was a mother first, a wife and homemaker second.
Kay was never idle. Learning to knit and sew at 14, she made her children’s clothes as her mother had for her. She knit Tony several sweaters, the third one he finally kept.
Quilting came a little later when she convinced her sister Joyce they could “make a quilt in a day”. They both became avid lifetime quilters with Joyce now tasked with finishing many started projects. For her 25th wedding anniversary she collected recipes instead of gifts to make her first of many family cookbooks. She taught her creative skills to her daughter, to her granddaughter and to anyone that showed an interest.
Kay was an ardent card player with cribbage, a family staple, and bridge, a game with the ladies’ club. She learned gin rummy and solitaire from her father and played them both continuously right up to the week before she passed, this especially surprising given her late stage dementia. Kay also enjoyed a round of golf with the Ladies or her husband until the late 1980’s. She gave up golf to save her hands for her more creative adventures.
Once the children were in school, Kay volunteered her time with; the Teddy Bear Program at Foothills Hospital that prepared young children for surgery, the United Way of Calgary as the Captain of door to door canvassing and the Children’s Hospital Aid Society in varying roles.
Her compassion shone through as did her willingness to help. Along with helping others she was quick to assist her family. She was the deciding vote of Rajak Mines when the two brothers she had raised needed counsel in their gold mining venture.
Kay with the support of her husband provided assistance to any family member that needed it, whether financial or physical, even including driving her eldest son to university daily until he secured his drivers license.
Kay managed the house and the finances while Tony was off working on the drilling rigs. As Tony moved up in the ranks she cooked many a meal in her own home for business associates, clients and competitors alike, often at a moment’s notice. With a sense of humour firmly in place, Kay often used satirical poetry to get her message across.
Honesty was a imparted family virtue and one in which Kay led by example. She was Tony’s partner in all that they did, his partner for life. Tony often told Kay he could not have done it without her and though Kay did not believe it we all know it to be true. Their undying love could not keep them apart and so they are now together again to finish their love story in eternity.
Kay was predeceased, just 7 months ago, by Tony her husband of 67 years. Also she was predeceased by her parents; Roy and Kermet, son in law; Kevin Haynes and two brothers; Hal and Gary.
Kay is survived by her children Paul (Leah), Stephen (Eleanor) and Sandi and her grandchildren Conrad and Jade. Kay is also survived by her siblings; Joyce McKenzie, Jim and Robin.
Survived by many in-laws from the large VandenBrink family and having many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews on both sides of the family, Kay took the time to sew pencil cases, draw string bags and for the lucky ones, quilts. Family was very important to Kay as it was to her late husband Tony. This shared interest created strong bonds to immediate and extended family alike.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The United Way of Calgary or the Children’s Hospital Aid Society (CHAS).
A Private Funeral Service will be held on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 10 am. Family and friends are invited to join Kathleen’s service streamed live at https://mhfh.com/tribute/details/32974/Kathleen-VANDEN-BRINK-nee-Archibald/obituary.html#tribute-start on the day of the service. For those who are unable to view live, a recording of the service will be posted. Condolences, memories and photos can also be shared and viewed here.
In living memory of Kathleen Vanden Brink, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.
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