Sunday, January 21, 2018

A life well-lived

Joyce Sasse

Joyce Sasse -The picture of a 60-year-old woman expressing exuberant joy, which accompanied Jessie Snow’s obituary, says more than words can about how this 97-year-old celebrated life. She was my oldest and one of my dearest friends – and I feel so grateful she was part of my life all these years.

Before I was in my teens, Jessie volunteered in our tiny church to lead CGIT. From that time on, along with her family responsibilities (aging parents, 3 kids and managing a ranch with husband Jay), our group came under her wing. We learned from her and along with her as she became one of south Alberta’s outstanding youth leaders. Along the way “we” had another three children.

“She cared for and shepherded her family” through the passing of her parents, the loss of a son and son-in-law, and her husband. Then she lost first one leg to circulatory disease, and then the other. When the medical folk were refusing to give her a prosthesis in place of the first lost-leg (because she was 90) she told them “hell could feel like a rest stop compared to where they were headed”! She won the argument and taught herself to walk again.

Her wonderful sense of curiosity was contagious. She fulfilled her dream of attending university (at the same time as her oldest son), and was elected Student Union President. In 1968 she served as a founding member of the University of Lethbridge Senate, then became a member of their Board of Governors. She helped found Lethbridge CMHA, was named YWCA Woman of Distinction (1978), and became special education needs consultant for the Lethbridge Catholic School District (for 20 years).

What better mentor could one ask for? She challenged us, led by example, stood strong for the things she believed in … and always welcomed us into her home and her heart. She was a spiritual pillar.

During a quick visit back to Milk River during my time overseas, she arrived with two young daughters. They brought a small collection of their favorite comic books “to share with the kids in Korea”. Such practical generosity.

I am so glad she made that trip back to the ranch for Christmas. We’ll be at the ranch again in the spring, with family and friends, to give thanks for her life as we spread her cremains and commend her into the care and keeping of the Almighty.

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