Obituary of Kathryn Frances Walmsley
Please share a memory of Kathryn to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.
WALMSLEY, Kathryn May 17, 1976 ~ August 11, 2021 Kathryn Frances Walmsley arrived at the Camsell hospital in Edmonton on May 17th, 1976, a sister for older twins, Jocelyn and Tanis. She grew up in Spruce Grove, part of a very tight neighbourhood group, on Belleville Avenue, surrounded by surrogate aunts, uncles and cousins who were part of the local babysitting coop. Kath was a busy child and teen, in French Immersion at school, and outside… piano, gymnastics, swimming, dance, brownies, children’s choir, guides, summer swim club, Pioneer camps, air cadets, and jobs ranging from dishwashing at Boston Pizza, through Wendy’s, to relief care for foster parents, to swim instructing and lifeguarding to being the train driver (yes) and guide at the Valley Zoo! At nine, she flew off to England for three months of school with her British cousins, returning with an English accent to the wonder of all… At 18, it was off to Japan for a year’s exchange program. Once teaching, another opportunity with the ATA—in Belize, and in between—jaunts to Dominican Republic, China, England, Shetland, Holland, the US, France, Rwanda and many parts of Canada. When Kathryn eventually had her B.Ed in hand, she began teaching in Atikameg where she began honing her teaching skills, and whatever she lacked in experience, she made up in caring! From Atikameg, she moved to Cold Lake (and her first house) to teach at Fishing Lake, and then eventually at Elizabeth Settlement where she was nominated for the Canadian “Excellence in Teaching” award. She became a specialist in literacy; she became a kayaker; she organized social events “sans pareil” whether a long week end outdoor movie night, a St. Patrick’s Day celebration or a Christmas sleigh ride. She married Mark Burke in April of 2006, joining Emily and Liam, Mark’s two children, creating a new Burke Walmsley family. For a bit, they lived in Marwayne, from where they both commuted to Fishing Lake for teaching. And then, the big decision—an acreage just outside Cold Lake, the outdoors now in their own back yard, with endless opportunities for gardening, socializing, (often around the warmth of a fire), reading with a book club, even swimming in an above-ground pool, kayaking and outdoor games. Washu tournaments were a highlight every year. Kathryn’s caring had full time opportunity to thrive in parenthood. Their family enjoyed new traditions, some trips, lots and lots of board games and cards, an abundance of love for each other, which included Molly, the family’s sheep dog, who also joined Kath at school to listen to children reading. In October, 2020, Kathryn and Mark learned that cancer had taken over much of Kathryn, and that time here would be limited. The fight was on! However, in spite of all that was tried, and the care that was given, this was not going to end well. Kathryn passed away peacefully in Cold Lake Health Centre early August 11th, with Mark beside her, and her family nearby. She is survived by her husband Mark, by Emily with partner Rob and children Cooper, Sawyer, Becket, Rhymington and Arlo; Liam; her sisters and their families, Tanis and Jonathan and sons, Misha, Sam and Theo; Jocelyn and Richard and children, Danieke, Marijke, Matthijs and Johannes; her parents, Mike and Fran Walmsley and so many other family and friends. A huge thanks goes to Natalie and the palliative team in Cold Lake and to the oncology unit in Bonnyville, as well as to the palliative care staff in Cold Lake Health Centre. A celebration of Kathryn’s life will be held at 2:00; Saturday, August 14th at Grand Centre Alliance Church, 5403 – 56 Street, Cold Lake AB. For those who cannot join in person, you can use the following live link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OGpqEDucI60&feature=youtu.be As many of you know, Kathryn’s love of cut flowers runs deep, but on this occasion, Mark and Kathryn have suggested that she be remembered with a donation to “Haying in the 30’s”, an easily accessible, financially supportive society for newly diagnosed cancer patients in Cold Lake and surrounding area! The address: Box 35, Mallaig, Alberta T0A 2K0. Support can be given through Facebook and Twitter as well.
Celebration of Life
Saturday, August 14, 2021
Grand Centre Alliance Church
5403 56 St.
Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada