Mary Elder

Obituary of Mary Helen Elder

December 4, 1925 – Hillcrest, Alberta

April 21, 2024 – Calgary, Alberta


Mary Helen Elder (nee Lazarenko), beloved wife of Alfred Elder, originally from Simpson, SK, passed away on Sunday, April 21, 2024, at the age of 98 years. 


Mary was born in Hillcrest, AB, on December 4, 1925. She met her husband Alfred (Al) when he was working on the pipeline in the Crowsnest Pass. They married in 1951 and moved to Calgary the following year. Other than the two years when the family moved to Lethbridge, Mary lived the rest of her life in Calgary.   


Mary had a lifelong dream of becoming a Registered Nurse and initially began a nursing program at Blairmore Hospital. She regretted that she did not finish it then but later in life returned to complete her RN at Mount Royal College. Her first job out of college was at the Bethany Care Centre and she stayed there until she retired seventeen years later. She loved nursing and loved working at the Bethany. Later, when the time came for her to go to a higher level of care, she chose the Bethany because of her own fond memories.  


Mary accomplished much throughout her life and was always looking for the next adventure. She will be remembered for her laughter and fun-loving nature. She tried everything from belly dancing to art lessons and tai chi. Mary read extensively and was constantly learning about innovative treatments to make herself and her family healthier. She would frequently practice reflexology on her grandchildren, and they would eagerly jump at a chance for a treatment.  


Mary loved travelling and often included her family during these adventures. She enjoyed opera so much that she went on an opera tour of Europe. However, her most memorable trip came when she was in her mid-70s and she went to Machu Picchu; this trip was not for the faint of heart. Mary rode horseback up the mountain and camped along the way. She was several decades older than the next oldest members of the group. They understandably admired her stamina and courage. 


Mary is survived by her two children, her daughter Kathleen Page of Bellingham WA, and her son Keith and his wife Debbie of Richmond, TX; three grandchildren, Cody Page and his wife Brittney of Danville, CA, Natasha Reyes and her husband Taylor of Fredericksburg, TX, and Melissa Greene and her husband Jimmy of Glendale, AZ; and her six great-grandchildren. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.   


Mary was predeceased by her loving husband Alfred, her parents Anna and Alex Lazarenko; and her sister Nettie Hehn.  


Many thanks to her long-term companion, Rita Iannaccone, the staff at the Bethany Care Centre, and the many other companions over the years who have taken such loving care of our mother and grandmother.  


A Celebration of Mary’s Life will be held at Queen’s Park Cemetery (3219 – 4th Street NW, Calgary, AB) on Thursday, June 13, 2024, at 11:30 a.m. Reception to follow at 4th Spot Kitchen & Bar (2620 – 4th Street NW, Calgary, AB). The family asks that the ladies in attendance wear bright floral designs.


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


In living memory of Mary Elder, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Calgary Crematorium, 3219 – 4th Street NW, Calgary, AB, T2M 3A6, Telephone: 403-299-0111. 


Celebration of Life

11:30 am
Thursday, June 13, 2024
Queen's Park Cemetery
3219-4th street NW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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