The family and friends of a truly great, inspirational woman, Dorothy Jessie Louise,
gathered at her "Celebration of Life" on Monday, September 27th @ 2:00 pm, at the
All Saints Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 5601 -
Donations in Dorothy's memory may be made to Haying in the 30's (Cancer Support Society) or the C.N.I.B c/o Box 1780, St. Paul, AB T0A 3A0.
She now rests in peace, free from the pain she suffered after loosing her battle with cancer on September 23rd, 2010, at the age of 80 years young, with her children at her side. Dorothy was known for her independence, strength, humor, guidance and incredible generosity.
An extraordinary mother, grandmother and great-
A SPECIAL THANKS to Mr. and Mrs. Voldemort, for taking care of her, just like they promised they would.
My aunt was always someone that I could turn to for love, advice and support -
I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end
He noted that the first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.
For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?
Eulogy for Dorothy Belzil (Smith, nee Tennant)
Written by Caroline Yewchin, a long-
We first met in about 1977 and my respect and love for Dorothy has grown year by year. About 3 weeks ago, we had our last good visit and she asked that I present her eulogy .... that’s being awfully trusting Dorothy, so listen up, this is about you.
When I met with Dorothy’s family around the kitchen table, Tami said that things or possessions were not important to her Mother; but people were...her relationship and ties to those she loved is what defined her life. As we continued to talk, so came the recurring theme of strings, threads, and cords that bound Dorothy in different ways, to all of us. As we remember Dorothy together, you will see that at times, her cords had the strength of steel as she navigated incredible challenges; at times her strings were kinky or wonky as her sense of humor saved the day; sometimes the threads stretched thin as relationships pulled away, only to be drawn back together again. In Dorothy’s book, ties and relationships could become stubbornly knotted, unraveled, or frayed but were never permanently severed. She never gave up on people and believed the best of them. To Dorothy, this is what love was all about.
Dorothy Jessie Louise Tennant was born to parents Leslie and Elsa Tennant on August
20th, 1930. Her parents were blueberry picking near their home in Owlseye, Alberta
when Dorothy’s decided it was time to arrive. They barely made it to St. Paul where
Dorothy became one of the first babies born in St. Therese Hospital. Her Daddy worked
on the railroad and one of her happiest childhood memories was running down the hill
to meet him after work. He would hold her hand tightly and share a bit of lunch from
his big lard pail, that he had saved just for her. Dorothy didn’t know how her parents
managed through the depression years, as she, her brother Hughie and sisters, Evelyn,
Joyce and Carol-
At the tender age of 18, Dorothy cut the apron strings from her Mom and Daddy and on August 23, 1948, married Russell Smith, a handsome young man, just home from the Army. Daddy wasn’t convinced that she was ready to leave home, but Dorothy’s strength and independence won him over. It was love and as far as Dorothy was concerned, she was getting married and that was all there was to it.
Russell and Dorothy had seven children, Yes, seven children! With a twinkle in her
eye, she call them her “train babies”. Russell came home from work on the train at
4:00 in the morning. It was too early to get up and too late to go to bed, so....
Dorothy’s ball of string grew bigger with the addition of her children, Louise, Ron
(Bim), Peggy, Joy, Jerry, Tami, and Cheryl. Dorothy and Russell and their young family
moved many times -
In 1963, Russell was tragically killed in a car accident, leaving Dorothy a young widow with 7 children to raise. Of necessity, her string became a cord of steel. With very little financial support, her resourcefulness, creativity and strength were revealed. Louise said Mom could make a pound of hamburger feed 10 people. It was also common to have macaroni for the main course and jello for dessert. When asked, “Mom why do we always have macaroni and jello?” She replied, “so that the jello can full up the holes in the macaroni!”
Dorothy planted a giant garden, giving each child a patch of their own to plant what
they wanted. It kept them all busy and the cellar full. Dorothy used to say that
the wolf wouldn’t dare knock on their door, because he’d likely end up in the soup
pot. Bim recalls that at the age of 13, he shot a moose -
Raising 7 children alone was no easy task... Her kids claimed that Dorothy had exceptional hearing and could hear earth worms crawl. In reality, Dorothy could hear them talking through a duct pipe system in the house, thus kyboshing their nefarious plans. She also let them believe that she really did have 17 eyes in the back of her head. Jerry said that his Mom taught him honesty and responsibility. The boys once took some tatoo gum from a confectionary and hid it under their cowboy hats. When Mom found out, she made them march back to the store and apologize, then pick bottles until the gum was all paid for.
Joy remembered her Mom’s wicked sense of humor and the fact that she could laugh
at herself. Once Dorothy was doing a crossword puzzle. She was looking at a clue
and asked Joy, “what the heck is an Or-
Dorothy believed that you didn’t have to be rich, but you had to be clean and tidy.
There would be no bugs in her house! Cheryl said that if you opened a bottle of bleach,
all the grandchildren would say it smelled like grandma. (the bouquet of flowers
on Memorial table attests to this -
As the children grew, so too did Dorothy’s ball of string, as they brought special
friends home, who all called her “Mom”. Dorothy’s life became richer and fuller with
the marriage of her children and the addition of her beloved grandchildren and great-
At the age of 52 years, Dorothy’s string got an interesting tangle -
They were together for over 10 years before Marcel convinced Dorothy to tie the knot on Christmas Eve, 1994. Sadly, Marcel passed away in February 1995. Dorothy continued to live in her house, spending time with her neighbours, Mr. and Mrs. Kitz; visiting Marcel’s sister, Carmen; and going with friends to Tuesday Borsch Day at Our Soup Kitchen.
For her 65th birthday, her girls took her on a trail ride to Banff. She absolutely
loved it! She was the first one on her horse, and in her distinctive deep voice,
was heard to declare, ala John Wayne, “Come on pilgrims, get your butts in the saddle!”
To her family, Dorothy was the original internet provider ... “The Source of Information”.
If she read an article in the paper, she did a phone-
Tami, who looked after 7 children in a day home of her own, once sent her Mom a card, thanking her for not giving them all away after their Dad died. Dorothy immediately called Tami to say, “the thought never crossed my mind”.
When I last spoke with Dorothy, she told me that, and I quote, “My greatest accomplishment
in life was raising my children to the best of my ability and watching all of my
grandchildren and great-
To Dorothy’s family: Your mother was an amazing woman who faced both life and death with grace and strength and humor. Her last gift to you was being able to gather you home, so that you could reconnect as family. You have chosen a beautiful poem for her card:
Love is a Circle
Children are born, grow up, fall in love,
Have families of their own...
But through the years
A Mother’s love is the silken thread
that binds the family together.
If you could keep the thread of your Mother’s love, strong and centered,
it would be a wonderful and lasting gift to her.
As published in the St. Paul Journal, Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
We, the family of Dorothy Belzil, want to express our deepest gratitude to all our
relatives, extended family and friends who offered their love, support and comfort
to us during this difficult time. Your visits, kind thoughts, generous gifts of food,
flowers and cards have been greatly appreciated and will provide strength and comfort
to us in the days ahead. We would also like to extend a very special thank you to
our dear friends -
“Rest in Peace … We Love You Biggest”
You Are Visitor # Since September 24th, 2010
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