Mary Laakso

Obituary of Mary N. Laakso

April 23, 1926 - November 26, 2023 

"A truly amazing teacher is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget”

Mary Nancy Laakso (nee Bodnarek) passed peacefully on Sunday, November 26, at the age of 97 years and 7 months.

She was born in Rhein, SK to Nicholas and Barbara Bodnarek, the youngest of ten children and one of only two girls. She was the last surviving sibling.

Mary grew up in the Rhein and Kamsack areas of Saskatchewan, and parts of her childhood, most notably the Great Depression which she remembered distinctly, left an indelible mark. It motivated her to work hard and be frugal throughout her life.

Mary graduated teacher’s college and embarked on her teaching career at the tender age of 18 and her first teaching assignment took her to Tantallon, SK. 

It was while attending a dance in 1946 at the local Oddfellows Hall in Tantallon that she met Charles (Charlie) Laakso who had recently been discharged from the service. They were married December 20, 1946 and had three daughters.

Charlie and Mary worked and lived on the family farm south of Tantallon for nearly 40 years. Charlie farmed and drove the local school bus for 30 years, and Mary raised the girls until the drought of 1961 caused widespread hardship and she returned to teaching to supplement the family income. It was a job she loved. She resumed her teaching career at Normi Oja, a one-room schoolhouse measuring 20ft x 24ft and in which she taught Grades 1 to 7 inclusive. She taught there until the school was closed and she transferred to Tantallon school. She especially loved teaching the little ones as “They haven’t learned how to be bad yet”. She taught for 26 years, often teaching two or more generations of the same family. Charlie and Mary retired to Yorkton, SK in 1985.

After 60 years of marriage, Charlie passed away in January 2006. Mary moved to Calgary in August 2019 where she could be closer to her daughters.

Mary is survived by Sharon Cupples (Brian), Darlene Laakso and Twyla Laakso (Stuart Nelson).

At her request, there will be no visitation or funeral services. Interment and a memorial will take place at a later date in Yorkton, SK. Mom was a lifelong lover of animals, so if you wish, feel free to make a donation to your local animal shelter or humane society in her name.

Condolences, memories, and photos may be shared and viewed with Mary’s family here.

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