Thelma Scheunhage

Obituary of Thelma Margaret Rose Scheunhage

October 1, 1942 – Fort Vermilion, Alberta

June 7, 2024 – Calgary, Alberta


Thelma Scheunhage (nee Lizotte), beloved daughter, mother, and grandmother, passed away in Calgary, AB, on Friday, June 7, 2024, at the age of 81 years.


An only child, Thelma was born in Fort Vermillion, AB, to her parents, Gordon and Margaret Lizotte. Thelma lived in a one-room house with no bathroom or running water. She helped her parents with cooking, berry picking, and their trapline. As a family, they often travelled by dog sled in winter, and horse-drawn wagon in the summer. She attended the Métis community’s fiddle dances and attended school until Grade three, which was the highest level taught. As a result, Thelma moved with her parents to Peace River, AB, so that she would be able to continue with further schooling.


In grade ten she moved to Grande Prairie, AB, to attend St. Joseph’s Academy, run by the nuns of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. After completing high school, Thelma received a letter from her friend Patti in Bermuda, telling her that if she arrived there within ten days, she would have a job with the Princess Hotels Group. With a spirit for adventure (but no passport), Thelma contacted her MLA, who thankfully was a family friend, to see if she could receive help with the required paperwork. Thelma managed to pick up a completed passport in Edmonton, AB, while en route to Bermuda. She was just eighteen years old. She worked for three years in Bermuda and made many lifelong friends while working at the Princess Hotel as a Social Coordinator.


Although busy with her full-time job in Bermuda, Thelma wrote many letters. If you ever received one, you would have known it by the Princess Hotel’s pink envelopes. One particular recipient of many of these letters was Hank Scheunhage. Several years earlier, Thelma’s friend Theresa, had suggested her brother be Thelma’s date to her Grade ten Sadie Hawkins dance. Henry must have made an impression because after several more years of letters between Canada and Bermuda, he convinced Thelma to stay in Canada and not return to Bermuda. This was in February of Hank's final year of university. Luckily, Thelma was able to find work at a hotel in Edmonton. By April, they were engaged and by September they were married. On September 17, 1966, they were the first couple allowed to be married in St. Joseph’s College Catholic Chapel, on the University of Alberta campus. Three daughters soon arrived as they continued to live and work in Edmonton.


A loving and devoted wife to her husband, Hank, Thelma supported him throughout his various jobs, specifically by moving to where there was work in the early years. They eventually found their home in Grande Prairie, where they were closer to family and welcomed their fourth daughter. This would be home for the next 47 years. 


Trying to write a summary of Thelma’s life is really difficult because a summary is not the life lived. The life lived is in the little things. Thelma was known by so many people, in many different roles. So, if you knew her, then you may know that Thelma was an immensely creative, lifelong learner with a wide range of abilities and interests. These included, but were not limited to, cooking, pottery, upholstery, sewing (including making her own patterns), college credit courses, stained glass, painting, and cutting hair (but don’t ask Janna about the failed perm in Grade seven. Her nickname was “mushroom cap head” for a while).


Thelma’s Bermuda experience introduced her to the finer things in life and created a lifelong love for entertaining. Her table was always set for as many people as the large table could fit. If you were lucky enough to be at that table, you may have been blessed with experiencing one of her lemon meringue, saskatoon, or banana cream pies. (Not to mention her Christmas trifle and Easter Swedish tea ring).


Perhaps her only love, second to dad, was her love of sewing. She never met a bolt of fabric she didn’t like.


They say, “Diamonds are a girl's best friend.” Thelma LOVED her friends, but in all seriousness, she did not have any siblings and instead loved her friends as though they were her family.


Thelma was a strong woman, she had strong convictions (especially about liver and onions), strong opinions, and a strong will. She had a strength that we marveled at, as she navigated life with many health challenges. 


Like Hank, Thelma was a woman of faith. She loved her Catholic community, where she and Hank practiced their faith throughout their married life. Many wonderful friendships were made there and remain strong today. Through example, she taught us that to persevere and trust in God would always get you through the toughest of times. 


Thelma leaves behind a legacy of love, friendship, and faith that we can all use as an example in our lives ahead. There is tremendous comfort in that.


Left to treasure Thelma’s memory are her four daughters and sons-in-law, Dana (Richard) Lussier of Calgary, Tara (Peter) Przybylski of Calgary, Lia (Kent) Morley of Calgary, and Janna (David) Phillips of Toronto, ON; ten grandchildren, Gabrielle Lussier of Edmonton, Isabelle Lussier of Vancouver, BC, Racquel Lussier of Camrose, Kyra, Lukasz, and Avery Przybylski of Calgary, Carter and Emmett Morley of Calgary, and Hewson and Archie Phillips of Toronto, ON. 


Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McInnis & Holloway (Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, AB) on Tuesday, July 16, 2024, at 7:00 p.m.


Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (1414 Shawnessy Boulevard SW, Calgary, AB) on Wednesday, July 17th, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. Reception to follow at McInnis and Holloway (Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, AB).


Family and friends who are unable to attend in person are invited to join Thelma’s service streamed live on the evening of prayers and on the day of the service. For those who are unable to view live, a recording of the service will be posted.


If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Arthritis Society, #300, 1301 – 8th Street S.W., Calgary, AB, T2R 1B7, Telephone: (403) 228-2571 or 1 (800) 321-1433, or to the Lung Health Foundation, 18 Wynford Drive, Suite 401, Toronto, ON, M3C 0K8, Telephone: 1(888)344-5864,,


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


In living memory of Thelma Scheunhage, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes, Fish Creek, 14441 Bannister Road SE, Calgary, Ab t2x 3j3, Telephone: 403-256-9575.



Click to Sign the Video Guest Book & Watch Thelma's Prayer Service


Click to Sign the Video Guest Book & Watch Thelma's Funeral Mass



7:00 pm
Tuesday, July 16, 2024
McInnis and Holloway Fish Creek
14441 Bannister Road SE
Calgary , Alberta, Canada
(403) 256-9575

Funeral Mass

1:00 pm
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
St. Patrick’s Catholic Church
1414 Shawnessy BLVD SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


2:00 pm
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
McInnis and Holloway Fish Creek Chapel - Hospitality Centre
14441 Bannister Road SE
Calgary , Alberta, Canada
(403) 256-9575
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