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On January 24, 2024, Judith (Judy) Rae Elaschuk, loving mother, wife, sister, aunt, and Nana, got her wings and went to walk with the angels. She was 72 years old.
She will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 54 years, Winston; daughter Shelley (Rick) Ford; grandchildren, Brandon Ford, Madison Ford, Jaden Elaschuk, Ariana Elaschuk, and Brinley Elaschuk; sister Sharon (Dave) Farn, brother Clifford (Shirley) Kolstad, sister Karon (Gerald) Parker, sister Deborah (Marcel) Nussbaum, and brother Kenneth (Darlene) Kolstad; sister-in-law Stephanie (David) Flett; former daughter-in-law, Ruth Elaschuk; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
She was predeceased by her mother-in-law, Dorothy Elaschuk (nee Donaldson); father-in-law, William (Bill) Elaschuk; parents Clifford Kolstad and Edith Larsen (nee Brausse); brother-in-law Tom Elaschuk; brother-in-law Robert Ritchie; sister-in-law Grace Ritchie (nee Elaschuk); sister-in-law Barbara Granger (nee Elaschuk); brother-in-law Ken Elaschuk and son Garrett Elaschuk.
Judy was born in Winner, South Dakota on September 13, 1951. In 1954, the Kolstad family moved to Roblin, Manitoba where mom lived until she graduated in 1969 from Roblin Collegiate Institute with a focus on Business Education.
While growing up in Roblin, her sisters, Sharon, and Karon, both recalled how she did not like to do laundry and cooking and always opted to work outside in the garden. When not doing chores, Judy liked to read and spend time with her friends. She was especially close to Gwen Laidlaw (nee Donaldson) and her cousin Greg Hunter. She had spent many a summer with Greg out at the Hunter farm playing and swimming. Her sister Debbie recalled how mom was an “animal magnet”, where she was routinely in the company of a dog or cats. Her beloved pet was Spotty, a stray that won mom’s heart.
Judy met the love of her life, Winston, at Janice and Garland Bookers’ wedding on December 7, 1968. She was dancing with Winston’s father, William, when he suddenly told his son to dance with her. Winston asked her out on a date that Saturday (which he was not going to keep until his mom made him) and the rest was history.
They were married on December 27, 1969, in Yorkton, Saskatchewan where they began their life together, first living in Yorkton itself and then moving to the Elaschuk farm. From there, the young couple moved to The Pas, Manitoba in February 1972.
On December 4, 1972, Winston and Judy welcome their daughter, Shelley Dawn, to their little family and then their beautiful boy, Garrett Wade, July 1, 1976.
In September 1976, the family moved to Esterhazy, Saskatchewan where they lived until October 1977 when they moved back to The Pas, Manitoba.
In 1978, Winston and Judy decided it was time to have a home after living in a trailer. They began the construction of their house on 40 acres located on Rall’s Island and moved into their new home in October 1979.
Mom worked tirelessly with dad in making their new house a home, planting trees for windbreaks, growing vegetables, flowers, and fruit bushes which would then preserve and store the bounty from their garden in the fall. Over the years they had chickens and ducks on their little farm as they raised their children. She loved to bake at Christmas making dinner and cinnamon buns, treats, and the Norwegian flatbread called Lefse.
In 1981, mom decided it was time to transition from job as stay at home mom to something outside the family home. She was hired on as Secretary at The Pas Friendship Centre. In 1983 she was promoted to Assistant Director and in 1985, Executive Director until 1995 when she decided a change of scenery was due.
Judy worked in a term position as Business Research Specialist for the Town of The Pas in 1996, followed by The Pas RCMP Detachment as a Steno/Clerk/Dispatcher for a six-month term.
In 1997, she was hired at Keewatin Community College (now University College of the North or UCN) as Administrative Assistant to the Board of Governors. Her role expanded to Privacy Officer and Records Management until 2004 when Keewatin Community College became UCN. Her role changed to Administrative Assistant for the UCN Tri-Councils.
During this time, she became a Nana to Brandon Ford in 1995 and to Madison Ford in 1998. She continued to grow her gardens, but also discovered, in addition to reading, her love of cross stitching, ceramics, and crafts, with the odd crib game thrown in for fun. Many of her works of art adorned her home as well as her daughter and son-in-law’s.
Throughout the years, she enjoyed spending time with her brothers and sisters as well as friends. There are many stories to be told that usually involved alcohol and other shenanigans when that crew got together (underwear with suspenders is one that comes to mind). From mom, “my brothers and sisters and their families…you were always a great source of strength and love for me. As a family, love, and respect for each other was truly in abundance. I am truly grateful for all those times you were there for me, and I do thank you from my heart. I love you all and truly thank you with all my heart for being such a wonderful part of my life.”
She and Winston also started their own wood haul company, Delarae Transport, in 1996 where Winston did the heavy work (the hauling) and she did the mental work (the books).
Judy was heavily involved in the community during her time in The Pas. She was a Volunteer Co-Ordinator for the Northern Manitoba Hug-in Program (1983-87); Volunteer for Roadrunner Swim Club (1988-89); Director/Secretary for the Northern Manitoba Trappers’ Festival Inc. (1987-90); Trained Spotter for The Pas Civil Air Search & Rescue Association (1992-93); Chairman and Director for Board of Governors at The Pas Health Complex (1991-94); Director of Volunteers for The Pas Emergency Measures organization (1992-95); Director and Secretary for The Pas & District Assessment & Referral Service (1990-95); and Director for The Sam Waller Museum (1996-97).
In 2003, Winston and Judy decided a change of pace was in order so decided to sell their home on Rall’s Island and move to Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Mom continued to work remotely for UCN, travelling once a month back to The Pas for Board meetings until she decided to retire in 2011.
While in Yorkton she continued her love of gardening, baking, and volunteering at the Yorkton Regional Gift Shop as a salesclerk (2006-07). She also added puzzles to her list of hobbies she loved to do. She also became Nana to Jaden in 2008, Ariana in 2009, and Brinley in 2012.
Mom loved her children and her grandchildren and enjoyed spending as much time with them as she could. She cherished every moment with them. From Nana, “My beautiful grandchildren who brought to my life a renewed wonderment of life itself and true innocence. God was indeed very good to me. I truly love each of you so very much.”
In 2013, the couple decided, once again, a change of scenery was in order and pulled up stakes to move to Deer Valley, Saskatchewan where mom resided until she moved to the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, Dementia Unit, in January 2022. She remained there until her passing. Up until she could no longer do so, she continued with her love of gardening, reading, baking, and puzzles as well as spending time with her family.
After issues with her kidneys arose and could not be reversed, it was decided to let mom rest until she was ready to join her loving parents and son.
At the news of her passing many expressed condolences. Some of the words that were used to describe her were:
“She was a lovely lady”
“She was a wonderful lady, she was so kind.”
“She was such an amazing woman”
“Judy wore many hats in her life and excelled at them all. She will be dearly missed by all those that she touched.”
“Judy was the kindest person I have ever known, have always had the most respect and love for her, she is a huge loss.”
“Such wonderful memories of this wonderful lady. Good memories of Judy in our Trappers Festival years. I can hear her laughing now.”
Thank you all for your kind words….
It was mom’s wish to be cremated and to have family and friends join her at her home for her Celebration of Life. We have honored mom’s wishes and will provide a date at a later time for her Celebration.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Society or to the Regina Humane Society.
Do not cry for me
I have not gone far,
Only as far as my memory of you
And all of the love that you gave me.
For our hearts will beat together always
For death cannot part us
As life could not.
Goodbye and thank-you
For all you have given me
For all of the smiles and all of the laughter,
The holding of hands
And the silences.
We will be together, forever,
Wherever we are.
Do not cry for me,
For I have not gone far.
Arrangements for the late Judith Elaschuk have been entrusted to Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services.