Obituary of Bernice Evelyn WARDEN (nee Haines)
April 16, 1930 - Toronto, Ontario
April 17, 2020 – Calgary, Alberta
It is with profound sadness that we announce that Bernice Evelyn Warden (nee Haines), beloved mother and wife, passed away on Friday, April 17, 2020. The heavens gained an angel on this day and Bernie left this world the way that this angel deserved to; resting peacefully and in her sleep. True to form, she hung on long enough to make it through her 90th birthday party the day before, and passed 30 minutes after the day was done, because she was never one to want to miss a good party or gathering of loved ones.
Bernie is lovingly remembered by her wonderful husband Alan Warden; her seven daughters; Carol (Mark), Susan (Paul), Arlie (Scott), Brenda (Paul), Karen (Wayne), Margie (Paul), Sarah (Raja); her three sons Glenn (Kym), Scott (Karen) and Doug. She is also lovingly remembered by thirteen granddaughters, nine grandsons, five great-grandsons, one great-granddaughter, eight nieces and nephews, her half-brother Bruce Haines and half-sister Barbara Konst. Bernie was predeceased by her brother Wendell Haines (Barbara), and by her sister Ruth Nablo (Sam), and by her half-brother Paul Haines. She touched every one of these family members in a special way during her life and generously shared her ample love and energy far and wide.
Born to Edson and Keitha (Towriss) Haines in Toronto, Bernie was raised in Stoney Creek, Ontario. She graduated from St. Joseph’s School of Nursing in Hamilton, Ontario in 1951 with an RN designation. Bernie practiced her skills in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta and continued with this passion until she was 60. She married her first husband Grant Fawcett in 1952 and headed west. She lived her life with zest and energy and every day in her mind was a new adventure. Our home was always open to friends, she was never pretentious, and greeted visitors warmly. Always creative, she tackled a wide variety of projects from renovating to quilting to woodworking with gusto, including the sewing of hundreds of costumes for the Youth Singers of Calgary for trips to Australia and the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. Many of the gifts she gave to others were handmade by her.
In 1970 she married her second husband, Alan Warden, with four of his own children. We became “The Brady Bunch of University Heights”. Many would be completely drained of energy having so many children, working as a nurse, and running a home but in spite of this, or perhaps because of it, she attacked life with great enthusiasm. Taking on another adventure, a true union of the family occurred with the birth of Sarah, the “ours” in our blended family. Juggling the diverse personalities of this blended family was an extreme exercise in patience, tolerance and understanding, and she and Alan managed to bring us all together to function as a loving family. Many happy hours were spent at the cottage at Sylvan Lake and then at Lake Windermere. She encouraged each of us and helped guide us through our youth, with wisdom, humour and a healthy dose of fun. Bernie’s energy was almost boundless.
Bernie often cooked with wild abandon and she and Alan shared this passion with many friends. In 1970, they created an early “Gourmet Group” with other couples, long before dinner clubs were popular, which still exists today. They loved to share in their love of food and wine from around the world and she was pleased to be featured in an article about how to accomplish this in the Calgary Herald. They also attended and supported theatre in Calgary with friends for many years. Bernie and Alan enjoyed traveling as a couple and with friends in their retirement. Bernie will be dearly missed but we will continue to embrace her energy and love.
Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Bernie’s obituary at www.McInnisandHolloway.com.
The family of Bernice Warden made a video tribute which be can viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFOw_yJGPAo
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made, if friends so desire, to Youth Singers of Calgary in Bernice's name online at youthsingers.org/donate, or by calling their office at 403-234-9549.
In living memory of Bernice Warden, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Crowfoot, 82 Crowfoot Circle NW, CALGARY, AB T3G 2T3, Telephone: 403-241-0044.
Scott Fawcett Memories
Mom was “all heart” in the caring of me and my siblings. She was also an incredibly patient mother, especially when answering my continuous barrage of questions when I was young. One of my earliest memories was travelling by train from Edmonton to Regina before we officially moved there for a year. I was 4 years old. She knew the power of incentive and brought several bags of Captain’s Crunch cereal for me. This cereal was my favorite and was for special occasions only since Corn Flakes was the standard cereal at home. I remember walking along the frozen river in Regina with mom. We could see that about 100 meters in front of us was open water. I asked her if we should stop. She said, “when do you think we should stop”? We took a few steps more and I asked the same. We repeated this a couple more times and then I said “we should stop and not go any further”. Mom said, “that’s a good decision, lets go back”. Teaching us to make our own decisions around our actions was important to Mom.
Mom was also very smart. I remember we were driving down a neighborhood road when I was maybe 8 and asking if the rubber hose placed across the road was there to catch speeding cars? She said they were there to count cars. I responded that with measuring the time between each tire hitting it would catch a speeder. She then got into the simple physics around how that would not work because of the different wheelbase sizes of vehicles. Mom always had time to answer my questions with remarkably simple and clear explanations.
I was the family culinary guinea pig since I was willing to try anything once. Mom was an amazing gourmet cook and she allowed all 10 kids to select their favorite meal for their birthday. Mine was “Indonesian Meal”. When I was a baby mom would blend up table leftovers with milk for my bottle. At an early age, my palate was well exposed! Mom would test new recipes on me. Almost all of them were winners but there were a few that generated interesting facial expressions from me. A few of these were: Shepherd’s Pie using ground up heart meat, Peking Duck, and Blu Cheese laced hamburgers. All the rest of her recipes were amazing.
Mom was an incredible inspiration with her numerous hobbies, work ethic & endless optimism. She showed how trying a new hobby or skill expands your capabilities and it can become a nice outlet from the routine. She sewed tapestries and blankets, she took up decoupage, she made window and art pieces in stained glass, did genealogy (generating masterful family tree charts and photo collections), participated in book clubs, was an avid gardener, and had many more hobbies. Her passion for hobbies was contagious and the generations that follow her all have hobbies of their own. Mom was an incredible person who truly loved her husband (Al), all 10 of her kids, in-laws, and her many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her selfless love for people and her passion for the richness of life invigorated all that were lucky enough to be with her during her 90 year life journey.
Karen Fawcett Memories
Bernie was so good to me and welcoming to Cassandra. When I first met Bernie, she was so excited that I was a single mother. She made a special effort to help me decorate Cassandra’s room even hand painting howling dogs on her bed and walls.
Margie Howard Memories
Cottage time at Sylvan Lake was special. No TV, a shared phone line and tight quarters made for interesting times. As a blended family, we first came together here, a cottage that Dad had purchased from his Uncle Ed with wife Yvonne. First thing we needed to do was add an addition to accommodate all those extra bodies from our new family members. Lots of “getting to know you” time here. Meals down by the water (lots of extension cords), tents set up for bedrooms and charted duties: cooks, dishes, washers, dryers, table setters, clearers, etc. Bernie never tired from hard work, always had a plan for us. She would mix families up for duties to help us get to know each other.
After marriage and grandchildren arrived, we were so blessed to have parents that would help out if we needed them. They were clear that they didn’t want full-time child-care responsibilities Monday through Friday but would be happy to help when the need arose. Well, with 10 kids, the need arose often. My children were so fortunate to have Grandpa and Grandma available if they were sick, or if something happened while we were at work. As Claire commented, “I love Grandpa, he has such a nice voice,” and “Grandma isn’t one of those boring grandma’s, she’s a FUN grandma!”
A favourite memory from our entire family is New Years at Windermere. We would be sent off to the hot pools at Radium while Mom and Dad prepared a special meal. When we returned, there would be amazing appetizers with wine, then a meal worthy of a 5-star Michelin restaurant for all. Everyone would haul wood to the lake for a fire before midnight. Mom would prepare the rink with candles all around the perimeter for skating, and at midnight she had sparklers for all. Quite a sight to behold!
Mom was a master organizer. The chore list posted monthly rotated through dishes, lunches, laundry, bathrooms, vacuuming etc. My friends were in awe (and glad they weren’t in the military) when they saw this. Many of us followed suit with our families to help them learn responsibilities at home.
Mom’s sewing talents were amazing. When I was in Grade 3, she helped my friend, Patti, and I sew overalls. Matching and all – what a skill. I’m so glad I learned how to do this from her. I can hem pants, mend items, and make things thanks to her. She sewed and quilted baby blankets for each of my children which they cherish today.
Another special memory is our Christmas Eve parties. It wasn’t enough to have 10 kids and the add-ons, but mom would invite the neighbourhood to come too. Can you imagine hosting a party for all those people then getting ready for Christmas morning for your kids? I expect there were many all-nighters to pull this off. She had a large collection of flashing-light shirts that she wore for all these occasions.
Mom always had a knack for unique gifts. From landscaping plans, to Scottish sweaters, she always was on the lookout for items for everyone. We all appreciated her sense of humour and knack for finding “just the right thing” for others. We still have a puppet theatre and wooden puppets from the 1970’s.
Not only is she remembered and respected by her children, but also by her grandchildren and in-laws.
She will be dearly missed.
Glenn Fawcett Memories
Mom had a playful side and would occasionally pull pranks and tricks with her friends or on her family to add some joy to their day. I remember as a kid how she liked to pull “donuts” on the icy roads while driving with us stuffed in the back of our wood-paneled Ford station wagon. Or how a friend of hers told us how she would convince the neighborhood ladies to “play hooky” for the afternoon and attend a game of bridge at a friend’s home. Or how she would convince the local Police to cordon off our street so that we could all have a neighborhood street party and dance.
As for my own personal upbringing, my Mom realized that I was not a gifted athlete in Junior High, and I was not fitting in that well with the cool kids at school. As many of you from that era might know; as a boy in your early teenage years your status is closely tied to how well you did at sports. She saw that my lack of skill in hockey, baseball and basketball was causing me to withdraw socially. So, she encouraged me to keep trying out different sports to discover something I might like. When I showed an interest in skiing, she supported that in any way she possibly could. When I was 12 years old (in Grade Seven) I mentioned to her that I thought it would be cool if a group of my friends could go on a ski trip to Banff for the upcoming Teachers Convention. I figured we could hop on the Big 3 Ski Bus and stay by ourselves for the weekend in the Y Mountain Chalet. To her this sounded good and she thought nothing of the idea that a handful of 12-year old boys might be staying, unchaperoned, in a Banff hotel for the long weekend.
However, when I ran this idea by my buddies, each of their parents shot the idea down immediately. Bernie, of course, would have none of that. So, she picked up the phone and individually persuaded each Mother that this would “build character” and “teach responsibility” for their sons. Thanks to her, my 3 wide-eyed buddies and myself headed off on a 4-night ski holiday that Teachers convention and had a blast. Little did I know that this would become a formative experience that would go on to shape my eventual career. Word quickly got around Branton Junior High about the trip and next year we had 8 buddies. Then the following year 12 buddies. This then led to me becoming the President of the QE High School Ski Club and then eventually the President of the University of Calgary Ski Club. Which naturally became the steppingstone leading to my creation of Bust Loose Holidays, which continued to grow exponentially in the numbers of people coming to join in on the fun each year on the trips. Who knows what I might be doing today had my mother not shown that early belief in me and encouraged me to try something new that sounded fun and adventurous?
Sadly, I can’t imagine that the world will ever see another women like my Mom again. We all just lost an incredible source of love and energy today.However, like my Mom would say, you should always look at the bright side. If you add up all the years that all of her “flesh & blood” (kids/grandkids/great grandkids) have been alive, that is over 1100 years of her next of kin living on this planet. The love and energy and “sense of goodness” that she bestowed upon her prodigy is in the DNA of each of us. I believe that all of us in the family will innately continue to share that love, energy and goodness into the world around us. With this DNA “a whole bunch of Bernie Warden” will continue to live on inside of us today and undoubtedly will continue to live on inside of our extended family for many generations to come
I am sure that you are up there organizing a great dinner or social occasion in Heaven right now, hopefully with a nice gin & tonic in your hand. We were so blessed to have you as our guiding light during your time here on earth, Mom. Thanks for instilling your joy of life on all of us. You have handed us the torch. It is now up to us to proudly carry it forward for you into the future. If we can carry fulfill this mission with even a fraction of your passion and energy, we will have succeeded in spades!
Rest in Peace, Mom.