On Friday December 4, 2015 we lost an incredible woman, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, friend and the matriarch of our family. Mom passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family. She was predeceased in 2012 by her husband of fifty-five years, William (Bill) Chalus. She is survived by her four daughters, Susan (Gino) Tarditi, Karen (Stephen) Neal, Carol (Ron) Kinley and Cathy (Paul) de Guise. Also left to cherish Catherine’s memory are eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, Gina (Robert), Dani, Cole, Luke, Kristian, Kelsey, Kaitlyn, Dylan, Eva and Christine.
Catherine was born and raised in Bellis, Alberta. She was the youngest of seven children of Anastasia and John Chemerys. At 18 years of age she left the family farm to pursue her education as a teacher at the University of Alberta. Here her passion for reading, writing and learning continued to grow. Upon graduating she took her first teaching job in Luscar, Alberta, a small coal mining town in the coal branch. She spent a year, where she lived in the hospital, taught in a one room school house and met her future husband Bill Chalus, the love of her life.
In 1956 Cathy married Bill Chalus and they settled in Calgary, Alberta. They bought their first home in the neighbourhood of Haysboro. It was here they started their family and raised four daughters. For thirty years Catherine worked for the Calgary Board of Education as a teacher. She retired in 1988 as a well respected educator, mentor and friend to many.
Catherine and her family spent many summers vacationing in Fairmont Hot Springs, B.C. where they purchased property and built the ‘cabin on the hill’. This was paradise for Mom. As the years went by Catherine and Bill purchased additional land and built their dream retirement home – a log house.
In 1988 after retirement Fairmont became home. During the next 25 plus years of retirement Mom was able to do everything she dreamed of – she loved gardening, cooking, walking in the forest, getting firewood, exploring, raising chickens, canning and preserving the fruits of her own labour, camping, volunteering for the East Kootney Environmental Society, still traveling, spending time with family and friends, crafting, cooking for groups, fishing and picnicking, exploring every dirt road in the Valley, continuing to write, making journals for all the grandchildren, going to the casino, anticipating spending all holidays with her family and grandchildren, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to all of the staff of Columbia Gardens, Ivy House and the Invermere and District Hospital for their caring attention over the last few years. A special heartfelt thank-you to Dr. Mannheimer for his compassionate care.
In keeping with Catherine’s wishes a graveside service was held at Fairmont’s Evergreen Cemetery on Monday, December 7, 2015.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Catherine’s name to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Messages of remembrance for the family may be left at www.mcphersonfh.com.