Grace (Birnie) Willman, age 102, of Gull Lake passed away on Monday, July 27, 2020 at the Gull Lake Special Care Home, Gull Lake, SK. Grace was born April 9, 1918 in Gull Lake during the Spanish Flu Pandemic, the youngest child of Murray "Scottie" and Ida Birnie. She shared her birthday with her sister, Bea, who was seven years older, and joined brothers, Jim and Bill, to complete their family. Grace was raised on the “Bench,” surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and a whole lot of animals. She even had a pet cow she could ride. Grace attended Twin Butte School until the end of grade eight and then finished her schooling in Gull Lake. While finishing her schooling in Gull Lake, she worked at Shillings Ice Cream Parlour and lived above the store. Following school and once she was working in town, she enjoyed attending dances, sometimes three times a week — Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
Grace and George "Slim" Willman were married on August 2, 1941 at the St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Medicine Hat, AB. Grace was always happy to stay close to where she was born and raised and her and Slim lived the majority of their married life and raised their family in Gull Lake. Her home was busy with her children, friends, and an endless number of pets — but there was always room for more. Grace worked at the Lazy Dee Motel from 1964 until the mid-1980’s.
When she wasn’t busy visiting in person, she spent hours on the phone connecting with friends and family near and far. It was a common sight to see a history book on her knee and the corded phone on her ear. Grace enjoyed time spent playing cards with friends and grandchildren, or a solitaire game when she was alone. When her eyesight started to fail she had to adjust her hobbies and lifestyle at home, but never one to complain, she adapted and made it work. Her house was always a hub of activity with friends and family of all ages stopping in for a visit, a rest, or a bite to eat. She went on countless mini road trips riding shot gun and was up for any activity — shopping, a visit, a meal, a rodeo, a movie, or a tour to check the countryside.
Grace lived in her own home until she was 98, when she moved into the Autumn House. Her colorful language often kept the residents and staff either entertained or shocked. She always appreciated the different activities and entertainment that were organized for the residents. She moved to the Special Care Home just before she turned 100, when she ended up with pneumonia and required additional care and monitoring. In true fashion, she healed and regained her strength just in time to celebrate her milestone birthday with friends and family.
“Thanks a million” for the memories, they will comfort us and keep us entertained for years to come!
Grace was predeceased by her husband, Slim Willman; her son-in-law, Norman Campbell; her parents Scottie & Ida Birnie; her brothers, Jim Birnie and Bill Birnie; her sister, Bea Birnie; her parents-in-law, Robert & Ada Willman; and by her brother and sister-in-laws, Fred (Clemence) Willman and Dorothy Willman.
Grace is survived by her six children, twelve grandchildren, twenty-five great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Her children, Bob Willman (Peggy Willman), their children and their families, Juanita (Kelvin) Kitzul (Kyla, Kirk, and Kali), Murray (Brooke) Willman (Luke and Jack), Rhonda (Darren) Johnston (Oliva and Halle), and Brent Willman (James and Jaidden); Jack (Shirley) Willman, their children and their families, Kim (Edward) Bork (Nicole and Ryan) and Pam (Dennis) Madsen (Kyle and Claire); Gayle Campbell, her children and their families, Adele (Curt) Jones (Crystal and her daughter Rebecca, Jace, Hayden (Charissa) and Gage), Blake (Danette) Campbell (Natalie and Monica), and Garret (Mandi) Campbell; George Willman; Frank Willman, his son, Jim Willman; Greg (Donna) Willman, their children and their families, Jodi (Wayne) Kobley (Evan, Alexa and Tysen) and Ryan (Heather) Willman (Wes, Sara and Reed).
There will be no formal funeral service as per Grace’s request — she always said, “people have had years to stop in for a visit, they don’t need to take a day off to gather once I’m gone.” In memory of Grace Willman, donations made to a charity of the donor’s choice would be appreciated by the family. Also in Grace’s memory, always remember the simple things — be humble, be grateful and be kind.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Grace Willman, please visit our floral store.
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