Bertha Margery Denbow
1915 — 2015
On Monday, June 22, 2015, Bertha Margery (Duncan) Denbow passed away peacefully in her sleep at the Souris Personal Care Home, having lived a full and happy life for just short of a century. A pioneer of the Deleau/Bethel Church district she was born on July 30, 1915 on the Duncan family homestead. She was the fourth born of a family of ten. She was predeceased by her husband Reuben in 1967, daughter Dawn Howard in 2002, parents Andrew and Lillian Duncan, brothers Cecil, Melvin, Norris and Allan, sisters Winnifred MacDonald, Ruby Doyle, Alma McCarvill and Ivy Morris.
She will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by her daughter Gail Watson (Lyle), granddaughters Lori Watson; Jody Watson (Jonathan) and great grandson Austin; by son-in-law Charles Howard (JoAnne), grandchildren Courtney Howard Scott (Darcy), great granddaughters Elody and Viviana; Trevor Howard (Mari), great granddaughter Charlie; granddaughter Kelsey; sister Joan Phillips and many nieces, nephews and their families.
Bertha completed grade 11 at Deleau Consolidated School and enjoyed playing tennis and basketball. She wanted to become a nurse but the financial means were not available to her. At the age of 19 she went to work at the Denbow family farm, one mile away from her own home to manage the household responsibilities. On March 19, 1936 she married the love of her life Reuben Denbow, and the Denbow farm became her home for the next 79 years. Reuben and Bertha took over responsibilities for the farm and together they milked cows, raised purebred Aberdeen Angus cattle, chickens, turkeys and grew cereal crops.
Until the early 1950’s Bertha ran a household and worked as an equal partner outside on the farm without the benefits of electricity or running water. She had a wood stove, an ice-house and an outdoor toilet. In addition to helping with the cattle and poultry, she planted, cared for and harvested two large gardens to supply the food needs of the family and hired help. During threshing times she would feed between 15 to 20 people meals and lunches each day. Gardening was a pleasure and even in her later years she planted more than enough to share with her family, neighbours and Souris friends. Having plenty of flowers was valued and she took considerable pleasure in a good looking yard.
When the Deleau Curling rink opened she became an avid curler and enjoyed competing in local bonspiels. Later she curled with the Souris Ladies until her 92 nd year sometimes representing the club and region in competitions. Reuben and Bertha loved to dance and were known for winning all the Old Time Waltz competitions at the community dances through-out the area, plus were often part of the best square dance set as well. After Reuben’s passing she took up golf and could be seen weekly on the Souris golf course with the Tuesday ladies league, playing into her 94th year.
Bertha was an active volunteer in the community and held leadership and executive roles. She belonged to the Bethel United Church Women, delivered Meals on Wheels and was a life member of both the Souris Legion Auxiliary and the Crescent Rebekah Lodge.
She travelled with Reuben to Flin Flon to fish and to Yellowknife to visit with Dawn. Later Vancouver, Hawaii, Barbados and Palm Springs were also experienced. Bertha enjoyed a fun time, loved to laugh, was independent, determined, youthful in spirit, resourceful, practical, a hard worker, and an advisor to her family and friends. Bertha was a living Sifton municipality encyclopedia with knowledge of names and dates going back beyond her 99 years and was called upon often to share her wisdom.
Her family and neighbours were important to her and she often showed up at their door with a pan of biscuits, home-made buns or a pie when she knew it was busy on their farm. We are grateful to her neighbours who supported her being able to remain on the farm. She lived by herself for forty eight years, but was never really alone. Special thanks to Dr. Stone and the members of the Souris Medical Associates, the staff of both the Souris Hospital and the Personal Care Home for their excellent care.
Funeral services were held in St Paul’s United Church on Friday, June 26, 2015 and interment in the Souris & Glenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers donations in memory of Bertha may be made to the Souris Personal Care Home c/o Prairie Mountain Health, Box 10, Souris, MB R0K 2C0, or to a charity of your choice.
10 thoughts on “Denbow, Bertha Margery”
A truly amazing woman! The Denbow family has lost another great lady. Our thoughts and prayers and love and support are with you at this time. Aunt Bertha was a sweet and gentle person and will never be forgotten.
Uncle Ross, Audrey and Tony, Garth and Colleen
Sorry to read of Berths’s passing. She was a remarkable lady!
Dear Gail & Lyle and family, Chuck and family;
It is with much sadness with Auntie Bert’s passing, that we have lost yet another of the fine “Duncan” ladies of Deleau. Her strong spirit and witty sense of humor will surely be missed by all who knew her. Please accept our condolences and regrets that we cannot be there with you on Friday.
Our hearts and hugs go out to all of you.
Dear Gail and family,
I was shocked to read of the passing of Bertha. She was indeed a very special lady. She always shared a laugh and a hug with me when I visited. She was a very special Rebekah and friend to me. She really enjoyed the times that Melba and I picked her up to take her to lodge when she was still on the farm. I will think of her every time I go past the farm. She will be missed but always loved. Sorry I am not able to attend the service on Friday. Her Rebekah friend Joan.
Our condolences to you Bertha was a good friend to Mum & Dad.
Dear Gail & family,
I don’t think we have met but I want to extend my condolences to you and your family at this difficult time. I was sad to read of your mom;s passing in the Souris Plaindealer. I curled with her in the Souris Curling Club a number of years ago and that’s when I met your mom and got to know her “spunky” nature. She was probably in her 80’s then and still liked to curl !! I enjoyed her sense of humor and her independence. Cherish those memories of your mom/grandma………….
It was indeed a PRIVILEGE to attend your mom’s funeral service Gail…Those grand-daughters Jody & Lori did a FABULOUS tribute to their grandmother Bertha…it brought back so many wonderful memories of deleau school with you & Dawn !!!! And your Mom was always around with her energetic & happy personality!!!! You are soooo blessed to have had her this long……I remember my mom Alice & her sharing many LAUGHS!!!!!! Again my sincere condolences Gail !!!!
Just heard about this from Ruth Berry. So sorry to hear that your Mom will no longer be around for you to visit with, share stories and chuckle. I always loved the sound of your laughter and I can imagine that your Mom’s was just as joyful. All good wishes and big hug is coming your way. DGB
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Your Mom was a very nice lady. We only met her once but she welcomed us into her home like we were family.
Our Sympathy to All your Family
Bill and Dot Jonasson.
Our condolences to the family. Many memories of growing up with Aunt Bertha, she was like a second Mother. No one would make better fudge. Love you always. Rest in Peace.
Love Lynn (Ed).