Wilhelmina (Minnie) Boehler passed away on Oct. 30 at the age of 102 years.
Minnie's parents, Hulda and Gotleib Mantei, immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1892. On Nov. 8, 1897 Minnie was born in Emerson, Man. Being the oldest, her time was spent in the fields with her father, working hard pitching bundles. She also helped in the house helping her mother with household chores.
When Minnie was older she met Otto Boehler but, before they were wed on April 23, 1919 her mother passed away, on Dec. 29, 1918. Following the wedding they moved three miles from Ridgeville, Man.
In 1922 they moved farther west to Palmer, Sask., and then again the Boehler family moved to a homestead near Choiceland, Sask. The nearest town or doctor was in Nipiwin 30 miles away. To reach Nipiwin, the North Saskatchewan River had to be crossed in a cable car type basket. The rest of the way needed to be walked as the horses were too large to get across the river. If weather and the river permitted, it was sometimes possible to get the horses across on the ferry.
The year 1937 prompted yet another move into the town of Choiceland, where Minnie and Otto set up a new business, a sash and door shop. In 1940 the Boehlers built the town's first theatre.
In November of 1949 the West called to the Boehler family once more. This time, they found themselves in High Prairie. Here they built a home and life together.
In 1969 Otto and Minnie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and soon after, Otto passed away suddenly. Minnie continued to live in her own home until she was 95 years old.
Even in her later years Minnie continued to maintain her own residence. On the days she felt especially spry she would do things like put up storm windows. When being on her own became difficult she moved into the lodge and a few years later into the nursing home here in High Prairie, where she peacefully entered into eternal slumber.
Everyone here will have their own private and personal memories of Minnie. A common thread seems to emerge from almost everyone I have had a chance to talk with.
One, the coffee pot was always on and cake or cookies or some other delectable goodie was in the company of the coffee pot. If it was time for a meal she made one. It was always delicious and I'm sorry but, nobody could made food taste the way Minnie could. At Christmas the family would meet at Minnie's house. The men would sit in the dining room or living room, the women in the kitchen helping Minnie with her turkey dinner. The grandchildren would run and play through the house and when it came time to eat dinner the children would go and sit on the wooden steps leading to the upstairs with their plates full of Jello, pickles, turkey and all the other great stuff that our mothers put on them. When we were done we would slide and bump our way down the stairs to take our plates back to the kitchen.
Second, Minnie loved to sing. Mostly hymns like Jesus Loves Me, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, or Bringing in the Sheaves. Her singing voice filled her home and filled our hearts. Even in her later years she loved to sing God's praises and she knew most songs by heart. Singing in the chapel or a hymn sings were favourite pastimes that filled her final years.
Third, Minnie had a wonderful sense of humour and a special way of making wise one line quips. She usually wasn't one to tell funny stories, or even make silly mistakes you would laugh at. But, she certainly loved to laugh and have a jovial time with friends and family.
During her 100th birthday celebration she was being paraded about by two RCMP officers. Minnie's reply, "It took 100 years before the police came to get me."
Eight children were born to Otto and Minnie: Lil and Lloyd Grams; Gladys McKilligan; Fran and Norm Shire; Donna Spence (Bernie); Marlene and Ken Sandquist; and three deceased sons, Willard, Stanley and Leslie. Through the years grandchildren and great-grandchildren joined the Boehler clan.
At times throughout her life, things were not always easy, and yet she coped. She made it through her days with thoughts like, "It can never be so bad that it can't be good again." She was a philosopher in her own right. A story was recently related to me, and it goes something like this: "A few people had gathered in Minnie's room and the discussion had become philosophical, and this is what Minnie had to say, `Don't ever change who you are. God made you who you are. We're all good enough for God the way we are, don't ever forget it.'"
The funeral for Minnie was held at the High Prairie United Church on Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. with Rev. Sharon McRann and Vicar Quinn Adams officiating. The pallbearers were Lloyd Grams, Roger Theissen, Darcy Spence, Rick Sandquist, Brad Sandquist and Ken Sandquist. The eulogist was Charlene Smith, the pianist Lillian Meneice.
Interment followed in St. Mark's Anglican cemetery in High Prairie.
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