1929 – 2021
Francis Irene Thacker was born August 17, 1929 to Louisa (Seabrook) and Benjamin Ambrose Thacker on the family farm near Bulwark, Alberta. She was the youngest child of five, her older siblings were: Lovenda, Vera, Evelyn, and Horton. She used to ride horseback over to Whittaker School which was located on the Wayne Thacker farm. Irene loved to ride horses and always enjoyed the outdoors. She was always full of fun and loved to joke around. When Irene was 14, her father had been haying up in the meadow when a bolt of lightning scared the horses, injuring Ben. He was hospitalized for many months with a broken back and later succumbed to his injuries. As Horton and Irene were the two youngest left at home, they helped their mother carry on with the farming operation until Horton was married and began his own farming operation. On December 16, 1957 Irene married Harry Calvin Wadstein at the Fairfield Church near Brownfield, Alberta. Their families had known each other throughout the years. Harry moved down to the Bulwark farm and farmed both this land and his land up at the river. Irene’s mother lived with them for many years until she had a stroke and had to live the remainder of her days in a health care facility. Eventually, Harry rented out the river land and worked in the maintenance department at the Coronation Hospital for many years while still farming the Bulwark farm on the side. Harry and Irene had two children; Edith and Calvin. Irene was a wonderful caring mother. Irene helped farm by driving the grain trucks and doing chores while maintaining home and a large garden. She enjoyed entertaining and often would have company for meals. Her home cooked meals and baking was delicious and enjoyed by so many over the years. Irene had a personal relationship with God and represented the hands and feet of Jesus over her lifetime. She was a Sunday school teacher for many years and often picked up neighbourhood kids to bring to clubs, youth, or church, she continued her serving into her early eighties when served on the church board. She was also a dedicated prayer warrior, praying earnestly for the needs of family, friends, and the community and would often meet with her friend, Arla, to pray. Irene loved music, especially southern gospel music. She would often be found holding Tiffany, Edith’s little dog, dancing around the living room. Over the years, holiday celebrations were shared with Tom and Esther Evans family and Reg and Doris Black families with each family taking turns hosting. In 1997, Harry and Irene moved off of the farm and into town. Her grandchildren, Cody and Kyleen were born during this period of their life and both Harry and Irene enjoyed time spent with them. They also enjoyed the neighbor kids always popping in. Their house was always welcoming and was the meeting center for morning coffee. There were often wiener roasts in the back yard with everyone enjoying the fire pit. When new people moved into the neighbourhood, Irene was on the doorstep welcoming them to town with a fresh plate of baked blueberry muffins. Irene loved to go for drives and her car was one of her most prized possessions. She would pick up a car load and head off in any direction to end up at another town for coffee or they would take lawn chairs and a thermos of coffee and stop at a picnic grounds or approach along the way. As she advanced in age she had to take a driver’s license exam each year, twice in the town of Consort. She would go to Consort to practice driving around in preparation and at the age of 88 passed her driving exam and still had her driver’s license upon entry into assisted living. Next to the Bible, the Coronation Review was always eagerly awaited for and read every Wednesday. She was very politically minded and enjoyed the articles written by Herman Scwenck. Unfortunately, Irene had to spend her last few years in Long Term Care. Even during this difficult time, glimmers of her sense of humour was evident as well as her determination and strong will. The lives she touched on this earth will be someday evident in heaven. As Harry would often say, “She is a remarkable person”. We are honoured to have had Rene as our Mom, spiritual mentor, and friend.
Irene is survived by her daughter, Edith (Nolan) Thulien, and son, Calvin (Kristy) Wadstein; her grandchildren, Cody Wadstein, Kyleen Wadstein; her brother-in-law, Bud (Lorraine) Wadstein; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Irene was predeceased by her loving husband, Harry; her grand-fur-baby, Tiffany Thulien; parents, Ben and Louisa Thacker; sisters, Lovenda (Reg) Paul, Vera (Mel) Lamb, Evelyn (Claude) Gillard; her nephew, Jim Lamb; her great-niece, Michelle Guse; her parents-in-law, William and Edith Wadstein; and numerous brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law on Harry’s side as he was from a family of twelve.
A Graveside Service conducted by Pastor Clayton Grice was held Saturday, May 8, 2021, 2:00 p.m. at the Coronation Cemetery. If desired, Memorial Donations may be made to the Michelle Guse Scholarship Fund, c/o Mailbag 500, Coronation, AB T0C 1C0 or Coronation Evangelical Free Church, Box 160, Coronation, AB T0C 1C0.
And a personal note from the Wadstein family…a special thank you to the following individuals who were involved in various ways, especially in the last years of Irene’s life: To very special friends who are more like family: Esther, Colleen, Margaret, Angie, and Barbie Evans, as Esther is one year older than mom, she gave me (Edith) insight and direction as to what mom would most likely want done in various scenarios. Esther is now taking over for mom as our mom now. You were so good for giving mom cans of coke, her most favourite drink: iced-caps, encouraging her to eat and drink and coming to have Sunday School with her so many Sunday mornings. You also gave her the gift of friendship, love, and made her laugh. Thank you to my cousin, Gayle Fisher, who was my faithful “go to” person for advice, the nursing community lost an insightful and caring LPN when you retired. I have received many encouraging phone calls from my cousins, Heather Boileau, Dianna Mitchell, and Chrystal Boscoe over the last four years. My cousin, Cheryl Guse, would bring mom treats and share her little grandchildren with mom; the manicures given to mom by your little three-year old granddaughter were priceless! Thank you to Rondi Rovensky who often brought delicious home cooked meals to us. My aunts have raised beautiful women whom they would be proud of. Pastor Clayton Grice and Suzanne have always been wonderful and caring people in mom’s life. Our family has been the recipients of many powerful prayers from mom’s friends, Arla Schaitel, Marg Matkea, Karen Kotanko, and the Evangelical Free Church family which we have, mom included, appreciated beyond words. Thank you to Chery Southoff of Coronation Funeral Home for the exceptional and caring job she did for our family.
Calvin, Kristy, Cody, and Kyleen Wadstein
Nolan and Edith Thulien
Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.coronationfuneralhome.ca. Arrangements in care of Coronation Funeral Home, Coronation, Alberta. Phone: 403.578.2928.