St. Catharines Branch News
Welcome to the St Catharines Branch of RWTO!
We are a branch of about 400 members and we feel we have much to offer to the retired women teachers of St Catharines. We run five luncheons every year, each with an engaging program and lots of opportunity to chat with old friends. Our members participate in a variety of interest groups that include physical activity, card-playing, dining, reading, travelling, and computer use. For more information about luncheons and interest groups, please see the links below.
Caring and sharing are an important part of our Branch. Our Goodwill Convenors send cards to members who are ill or have experienced bereavement. They also send cards regularly to our over-80 and over-90 members, and arrange flowers and visits to the over-90’s. In terms of community outreach, St Catharines Branch participates in four primary activities each year, including the Arthritis Society Christmas Wrapping Campaign, the Christmas drive for Community Care, the Rankin Cancer Run in May, and an on-going Volunteer Link that informs members regarding volunteer opportunities in the community.
Come join in the fun at St Catharines Branch! Our yearly membership fee is $45; fully paid members of other branches may join us in St Catharines as social members for a fee of $15.
If you would like to join us or wish for more information, please contact:
St.Catharines Branch Executive 2019-2020
St.Catharines Branch Executive 2018-2019
|Past President||Susan McLaughlin|
|1st Vice President||Jan Harlos|
|2nd Vice President||Susan Lewis|
|Convention 2019||Marilyn Emmett|
|Interest Groups||Nadine Martin|
|Issues & Concerns||Marg Newby|
Rankin Cancer Run 2019
Christmas 2018 Luncheon
The St. Catharines branch enjoyed a lovely lunch at the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club. A cheque for $8,000 was presented to Community Care for St. Catharines and Thorold. This total represented the generous donations from our members and a top-up from our Branch. A fun Christmas carol sing was led by John and Chris and some festive visitors also came to help celebrate the season. A good time was had by all.
October 2018 Luncheon
RWTO St. Catharines branch enjoyed a fabulous lunch of Greek food at the Greek Community Centre. This was the first time we have used this venue and everyone felt it was a terrific spot.
We enjoyed Gyros, chicken souvlaki, pita bread, salad and other Greek specialities.
Patti M. updated us on the initiatives this year which include the Comfort Kits for people in need and helping with Community Care Toy Bureau during the holiday season.
Chris G. reviewed how to complete the application form for the Teacher Insurance Plan.
Marilyn E. gave us an update on the upcoming 2019 Convention in Niagara Falls. There already has been lots of support from the teachers with regards to donating wine corks and bottles for the tables and give aways. It appears we are in good shape for those items now.
Lastly, Al Unwin spoke to the group about the Commercial Cannabis Production Program at Niagara College. This two semester graduate certificate program has 24 students enrolled. There are strict admission requirements which helps identify students that can enter the labour force immediately after completing the program.
Following lunch there were draws for the 50/50 and door prizes. Everyone left having had an enjoyable time with friends and learning about the Cannabis Program at Niagara College.
Thank-you to all of the people that helped to make it a fantastic day.
September Luncheon – 2018
We held our September meeting at St. John’s Ukrainian Church Activity Center. 180+ members attended. We enjoyed a delicious family style Ukrainian meal in a lovely fall themed hall.
We have 11 new members. Three were able to attend and were welcomed by Branch President, Patti and Provincial President, Sharron Colter.
Two of our “Forever Young” members were able to attend. We had the privilege of welcoming a 101-year-old member to her very first RWTO/OERO meeting!
Our Outreach initiative collected many comfort kits for Start Me Up Niagara who will then distribute them to those in need.
Member picked up their books for our 10 Revolving Book Clubs, signed up for Special interest Groups and volunteered for Convention 2019
We had an interesting and informative talk on the History of the Jordan Historical Museum and Gilt shop. Models wore clothing that can be purchased at the gift shop. We all received delicious samples of the gift shop fudge.
Our day ended with Provincial President, Sharron Colter, bringing greetings from Provincial and a delicious dessert of pumpkin pie and ice cream.
What a great day!
Susan McLaughlin(far left) joins the other Branches to receive an award to recognize increased membership this year.
Feather in Your Cap was awarded to Patti Malkiewich and the St. Catharines Branch for their campaign called Free the Girls. Bras were donated to support sex trafficking survivors with a path to true freedom.
May Luncheon 2018
Rankin Run for Cancer
April Luncheon 2018
Christmas Luncheon 2017
St Catharines RWTO celebrated the Christmas Season today with a wonderful lunch at the St Catharines Golf Club. We shared a fabulous buffet, wonderful entertainment and supported our local Community Care with monetary donations.We also had a visit from Mrs. Santa and her elf. Many bras were collected for our newest outreach program, Free the Girls.
Here are a few pictures from The St. Catharines Branch Christmas luncheon! Lots of laughs and great sounding Christmas carols and songs. A good time was had by all !
October Luncheon 2017
Holiday Inn, St. Catharines
- Updates from some interest groups (Bowling, Creative Cooks)
- Thanks to Clarice for organizing the “Wills and Estates” workshop
- Reminders to sign up for Christmas gift wrapping at the Fairview Mall to assist the Arthritis Society and for “The Toy Bureau” at Community Care.
- New Outreach project “Free the Girls” (Save those bras)
- “Follow the Dream” submission from 2017 Convention presented to Genevieve Habib by Provincial President, Lois Lockhart.
- New members introduced
- Cora Bailey Award pins presented to past recipients (2003-2016)
- Lots of Food, Friendship and Fellowship
- Entertainment: WomEnchant
September Luncheon 2017
Our year got off to a great start with our September luncheon. It was wonderful to look out at 165 smiling faces! It is always good to meet and greet our friends and make new ones. We recognized our Branch Past Presidents, welcomed our new members with a yellow rose and congratulated Nancy Iannizzi for receiving the Provincial Honorary Membership Award at last June’s Convention. It was also wonderful to acknowledge our “Forever Young, Over Ninety” members and to have two of them at the luncheon. The Ukrainian food, as always, was delicious.This year in the Revolving Book Club, there is a novel entitled, Package from the Past. This novel was written by Jacqueline Opresnik, who is a member of our St. Catharines Branch. It is a fast -paced mystery that is set in Port Dalhousie and St. Catharines. The plot has a lot of twists and turns and I am really enjoying it. Well done, Jacqueline!
April and May Luncheons 2017
- We celebrated Canada’s 150th Birthday with a special presentation of “If Teapots Could Talk”. Pauline Grondin, actress/storyteller
- We learned to play teapots. The “Tea-Baggers” debuted with their renditions of, “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Happy Birthday” to Canada.
- Outgoing President, Kathleen Bradley, received her Branch Past Presidents pin.
- Juliet Dunn – A multi-talented singer and actress who is currently Executive Director for the Niagara Jazz Festival.
- 50-50 Draw Ladies
- A Visit from our Provincial President, Peggy Stock.
- Teapot Flower Arrangements
- Friends Chatting
Christmas Luncheon at St.Catharines Golf and Country Club
December 4, 2019
A review told through pictures.
I’m told pictures are worth a thousand words!
- Susan L(our vice president) gave a blanket to someone in need, as part of our Out Reach Program. It happened to be the mother of one of our members, Susan. She was touched by the kindness.
- A Christmas donation was made to Community Care! The members gave approximately $6,800.00 and the branch was able to make another donation to make a total amount of $8,000.00. The chairperson of Community Care, Betty Lou Souter was there to accept the donation from our president, Janis Harlos. She was so grateful for this donation and we all felt proud to be able to help such a worthy cause.
- We welcomed a new member to the St. Catharines branch with a rose.
Of course we had a wonderful Christmas dinner with all the fixings!!
The fall luncheon was held at Lookout Point Golf Club. The well attended group enjoyed fellowship, good food, a stimulating speaker about genealogy and a beautiful view of fall colours at the golf club.Our Vice President for St. Catharines, Kathie D. was installed by Judith B from the provincial RWTO.
We also welcomed three new members to our branch!
Click on the link below for more information.
Subject: Tax Receipts for Hospital & Home Care Plan for 2017
Many of you are wondering if the e-mail that you received from Manulife is a legitimate email.
As a convenience to insured members and their spouses, Manulife will be making tax receipts available online this year. They will be sending an email to insured members and/or spouses to the email address on file. The email will provide a link and instructions to follow to enable members to download their tax receipts. Tax receipts will be mailed to members and/or spouses where there is no email address on file. If a member and/or spouse wishes to have a tax receipt mailed to them rather than download one, they can request this by calling the Customer Service toll-free telephone number 1- 800-268-3763 and speaking with a Customer Service Representative.
CUFF, Victoria (Tory)
Passed away on Friday, November 29, 2019 at the St. Catharines General Hospital at the age of 89 years. Beloved wife of Peter for 63 years. Loving mother of Jennifer (late Rick) Norquay and Barb (Dale) Hymanyk. Dear Grandma of Michael Norquay, Jessica (Jason) McDonald, Mat (Sam) and Christine Hymanyk, and Nana GG to her great-grandchildren Evaleigh, Sophie, Aiden and Bryson. Sister-in-law of David and Helen Cuff, Fred Mason and Don Hiron. Predeceased by siblings Mary, Barbara, Doreen and Albert and parents Robert and Jean Whyte. Tory was a career teacher and librarian primarily with the Lincoln County Board of Education. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. As expressions of sympathy, donations may be made to a charity of your choice. Online condolences available at www.butlerniagara.ca
Buchler, Mary Lou
Helen went home to Heaven on Sunday May 19, 2019 at Tabor Manor. She was predeceased by her husband Eric in 2005 after 59 years of marriage. She was also predeceased by her parents Nicholas and Helena Hildebrand, and her brothers Nick and Jake. She is survived by her sister Betty (Hamm) Bright and brother Peter Hildebrand, her children Rod, Eleanore Joy Duerrstein (Henry), Miriam Bauer (David). She was beloved Grandma/Oma to Karen Fast, Chris Fast (Gwendolyn), Lisa Frey (Ian), Katy Cressman (Mark) and Michelle Bauer (Daniel Jaworski). Great Grandmother to Jacob, Kayla, Alexis, Eric, Ellis and Declan. Helen was born April 2, 1922 in Schoenau, Ukraine. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1925, living with relatives in Rosenort, Manitoba. In 1941, she graduated from Teacher’s College in Winnipeg. On June 26, 1946, she married Eric Fast at Southend Church in Winnipeg. Helen and Eric moved to St. Catharines in 1950. In 1961, Helen resumed her teaching career, teaching at Gracefield, Maplewood, Connaught and Carleton Public Schools. Eric and Helen were members at Bethel Baptist Church and Fairview Mennonite Brethren Church. Helen treasured all of teacher and church friendships. In 1995, Helen and Eric moved into the new apartments at Tabor Manor. In 2009, Helen moved into Tabor Manor as she was no longer able to live alone. A special thank you to all of the Tabor staff, including the nursing, dietary, housekeeping and laundry staff.
Visitation will be at Tallman Funeral Homes, 3277 King St., Vineland on Tuesday May 28, 2019 from 10-11am, followed by her funeral service at 11am in the Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either M.C.C. or Camp Crossroads.
HULME, Bernice Ruth
Ruth passed away at the GNGH on November 13, 2018, with her loving family by her side. Devoted mother to Don (Sharon) and Brenda. Loving grandmother to Tammy (Mike), Mandy (Dave). Great-grandmother to Amanda (Clay), Riley, Noah, and Hailey. Great-great-grandmother to Claire and Oliver. As per Ruth’s wishes, cremation has taken place with a family grave side service.
PHILIPSON, Lola Heaton, 1929-2018
Passed away peacefully on Sunday July 22nd, at the Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital in St. Catharines. Lola was the widow of the late Ken Philipson (2006) and mother to David (Liz) Philipson, Lesley (Larry) Danks, Maureen (Rick) Sawicki, and Christine Philipson (BobSteadman). Grandma to 10 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Respecting Lola’s wishes, there will be no visitation, cremation has taken place and a small family memorial gathering will take place. If Desired, memorial donations to a charity of choice would be appreciated by the family. Arrangements entrusted to the Hulse & English Funeral Home & Chapel, 75 Church Street, St. Catharines (905-684-6346). Online tributes may be made at www.hulseandenglish.com
KROEKER, Myrna Blanche (née Buhler)
KROEKER, Myrna Blanche (née Buhler) 74. Went to be with her Lord Saturday, May 5, 2018 at Hospice Niagara. Predeceased by her loving husband Charlie Battel and her parents Millie and Walter Buhler. She is survived by her sons Don and Brian and her daughter Sandra, her grandchildren Emma, Dean, Abbygail, Laura, Dalton, and Quintin (Bingley); her stepdaughter Megan and her stepgrandchildren Lily and Summer; and her long-time friend Larry Kroeker. She will also be missed by her sister Janet. Myrna was a member of the Friendship Force Niagara, the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), the Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO), and the Retired Women Teachers of Ontario (RWTO). Cremation has taken place. There will be a Visitation on Sunday, May 27th from 3-5 with a service at 5:00 p.m. followed by refreshments, at Bethany Community Church, 1388 Third St., St. Catharines. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice Niagara or Bethany Church Benevolent Fund.
Marjorie Ovenden 1946-2018
Obituary of Marjorie Ovenden
After a tough battle with Kidney Cancer, Marjorie of Fonthill passed away on Saturday, January 20, 2018 at the age of 71. Special wife and best friend of Jim for 49 years. Loving and caring mother of Andrew, Phil (Andi), and Amy (Rob) Granacki. Devoted grandmother of Naomi, Hudson, Raistlin and Alistair. Sadly missed by siblings Anne (John) Bebbington and David (Linda) Neff. Predeceased by parents Ron and Gladys Neff, and brother Jim Neff. Also remembered by her niece, nephews, extended family and many friends. Marjorie loved family gatherings, geneology and working with children She was a teacher at the District School Board of Niagara for many years. Thank you to Dr. Levesque; and the doctors, nurses and many volunteers at McNally House Hospice for your extra special care. Friends will be received for visitation at Wainfleet Brethren In Christ Church (corner of Perry Rd. and Hwy 3) on Thursday, January 25 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A funeral service will take place in the church on Friday, January 26, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. Burial to follow at Zion Cemetery, Wainfleet.
April 10, 1919-Feb. 25, 2018
Cathy Collins November 8,1944-October 17,2017
Cathy loved the community that she was a key part of, and shared her energy with many community groups including Queen St Baptist Church. In retirement Cathy found her work at the Child Advocacy Center Niagara particularity rewarding. She was committed to supporting their work with children and youth who are the victims of physical and/or sexual abuse. In Cathy’s memory, the Center has created a fund that will support a new children’s program that utilizes art therapy as part of the healing process. Anyone who wishes to learn more about the center can find information at www.kristenfrenchcacn.org. Donations to “Cathy’s Kids” will be accepted by calling or mailing donations directly with the center. This fund will be set up later this week to accept donations through the Center’s website.
Claire Cameron 1925-2017
Mekbeb, Barbara ~ Passed away suddenly on Friday,September 22, 2017 at the age of seventy- seven.
Barbara Cynthia Mekbeb (nee Willshire), dear mother of Krystyn, and Andrew (Christine), of St. Catharines, Ontario, loving grandma of Carmela and Lia Mekbeb, dear friend of Belay Mekbeb. Predeceased by her mother Maxine Franklin and a sister Elaine. Barbara’s family wish to thank the staff of Niagara Gardens for their care. She was employed by the DSBN as a teacher for thirty-five years. Barbara was involved the Niagara Folk Arts, and a member of St. George’s Anglican Church where she also volunteered. Visitation will be held at Patrick J. Darte Funeral Chapel, 39 Court Street, St. Catharines (905-685-6584) on Thursday, September 28, 20178 from 5pm to 8pm. A Funeral Service will be held at St. George’s Anglican Church, 83 Church Street, St. Catharines (905-682-9232) on Friday, September 29, 2017 at 2pm. Memorial donations to either the Ontario Diabetes Society or the Alzheimer’s Society would be appreciated by the family.
Kathleen Fritz- February 24, 1916-July 19, 2017
Following graduation from Listowel High School, Kathleen tried a couple of occupations, but neither appealed as a lifetime endeavour and so following her mother’s suggestion she enrolled in Stratford Normal school. For her first teaching assignment, Kathleen taught mostly Amish children in a rural school near Milverton. She was paid $600.00 for the year and for the second year, $700.00. Here is one vivid memory from those early days. “One of the girls came to my school with what was whooping cough. I had to tell her that she could not attend class. When her baby sister dies of it, the couple with whom I boarded took me to the home to pay our respects. As we drove in the lane, we saw the grandfather making the coffin. It was so difficult to meet the parents and see their beautiful little lying on a table.” As her career progress, Kathleen acquired additional qualifications in Kindergarten- Primary, Speech, and university level courses. She even qualified as a radio broadcaster at Queen’s University, which she found to be so useful in English classes and speaking. And then too, she studied Bible courses at McMaster, useful also for the then prescribed course of study in Grade Eight. Her career has taken her to many different places and situation. In the Stratford area, Kathleen was hired to teach children with learning difficulties, where she also did IQ testing in the elementary schools. After the class class was disbanded she went to Ann Hathaway School for 3 years. After this she taught in Leaside for 8 years. Then Kathleen was married and she and her husband moved to St, Catharines, where she taught for 21 years in different schools before retiring in 1972. While summing up her teaching career, Kathleen points out that her thirty-five years of teaching, provided experiences in all grades, from Kindergarten to Grade 8 in a Senior School, She states I was fortunate to have special music supervisors in all my years and most principals who were great leaders. Did she have any famous or special students who stood out? Kathleen states, “I like all children and all were special.” And what of Kathleen’s outside interests, beyond teaching? She worked as a volunteer, including with the Red Cross at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and Meals-on-Wheels. She enjoys Community Concerts, is an active member of the United Church and visited the elderly. Asked for what advice she would give to teachers just starting out in the profession today, Kathleen states “Respect-that starts with self-respect.” FRITZ, Kathleen – Kathleen Fritz (nee Beacom) of Brooklin, Ontario formerly of St. Catharines, passed away peacefully at Deer Run Retirement Home, Claremont on July 19th, 2017. Kathleen enjoyed a 35 year teaching career, the last 22 years in the St. Catharines area. Born in Mount Forest on February 24, 1916 Kay was in her 102nd year. She was the beloved wife of the late Elgin Fritz who predeceased her in 1988. She will be sadly missed by her niece Hope Fennell and husband Ron, their children Maeghan & Mike Rohwer and daughter Ava, and John & Christie Fennell and son Carter. Kathleen will be remembered by her nephews and nieces Gardiner (Joan) Beacom, Janet (Glen) Smyth, Betty (Paul) Thornton and Kirk (Delilah) Beacom. She is predeceased by her nephew Karl Beacom but will be fondly remembered by his wife Jackie and their children. Kathleen is predeceased by her parents Dr. George and Minnie Beacom as well as brothers Jack, Roy and Bill. A memorial Celebration of Life service will be held at the Court at Brooklin, 5909 Anderson Street N. Brooklin on Saturday, July 29th at 3:00 p.m. where Kathleen lived for the last 14 years. Messages of condolence and shared memories can be left for the family by visiting www.barnesmemorialfuneralhome.com What does the Lord require of you: Seek Justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 13195926
JOHNSTON, Jean Marilyn (nee Stapleton), U.E.
December 24, 1936- July 14,2017
Jean was born in Welland, Ontario, and raised in Hamilton. She is survived by her beloved husband of 57 years, Murray, as well as many much-loved nieces and nephews. Jean also leaves dear friends, Joan Martin of Smithville, Rose and Ralph Carty of Hamilton, Anja Jokela of St. Catharines, and Irene and Ken Kadonaga of Cambridge, Ontario, as well as many highly regarded colleagues in the Retired Women Teachers’ Association of St. Catharines. Jean was predeceased by her mother Marietta Stapleton (Clement), father Leslie Stapleton and four older Stapleton brothers, Douglas, John, Lloyd and Bruce. Jean attended Westdale Secondary School in Hamilton, graduating from there and then Hamilton Teachers’ College. She taught for 35 years, finishing her career in St. Catharines and, upon retiring, was awarded Honorary Life Membership in the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. While teaching, Jean ran for public office in St. Catharines and was elected as Alderman for Grantham ward for two terms. She served on a number of local boards and commissions, as well as provincially. Jean was a member of the Col. John Butler Branch of the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada and was proud of her family’s military service to Canada. Three great grandfathers, Lewis Coles Clement, Adam Crysler, and James Clement fought as Butler’s Rangers in the American War of Independence and James also served in the War of 1812. Jean’s father served in the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in the First World War, and her brother Douglas was killed during the Second World War while training to become a fighter pilot. Jean was appreciative of the care she received from Sandra’s Home Health Care and the doctors and nurses at St. Catharines General Hospital. Thanks to all the friends and neighbours who called and visited, and who sent cards, flowers, and messages of support while Jean was in hospital. Special thanks and love to Rebecca Thornborrow and Russell Johnston for their thoughtfulness and caring love. Visitation will be held at Pleasantview Funeral Home, 2000 Merrittville Hwy, Thorold, (289)650-1730 on Thursday, July 20th from 6:00-9:00 pm, and Friday July 21st from 10:00-11:00 am. A Celebration of Jean’s life will be held in the Pleasantview Chapel on Friday July 21st, 11:00 am, to be followed by interment at Pleasantview Memorial Gardens. In accordance with Jean’s wishes cremation has already taken place. In lieu of flowers, please honour Jean’s memory with donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Society of Canada, the CNIB, or The Salvation Army.