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DREGER-McKEEVER – Jean (nee Sitar)

January 11, 1929 – October 8, 2010

Jean passed away quietly and peacefully surrounded by love. Born on a farm in Elma, Manitoba she moved to Calgary in 1953. As a young adult, she was an accomplished marksman. In 1964 she won the Canadian Fullbore Rifle Championships Governor General’s Prize becoming the first woman to lead the Canadian team to the Commonwealth competitions in Bisley, England and was named Calgary’s Sportswoman of the Year in 1965.

Jean was a life-long volunteer that understood Calgary’s complex social issues and did everything she could to have a positive impact on the city she proudly called home. In the early 1950s, Jean found herself raising four children with little community support. At a time when community advocacy was low, she rallied the Provincial Government to amend the Mothers’ Allowance Act. Over the years, Jean used her tenacity to accomplish many things. She selflessly gave her time to numerous groups; The Calgary Foundation, Seniors Police Advisory Board, Calgary Health Region, Seniors Advisory Council for Alberta, Mayor’s Seniors Advisory Council, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, the Alliance to End Violence, and numerous others.

Many will recognize Jean as the “Voice for Seniors” in the Calgary Herald – Neighbours.

When faced with closing the doors of her church (Christ Lutheran) she worked tirelessly on a vision for a seniors housing complex on its site (Glenway Gate – Richmond Rd and 39 St SW). Her health failing, she saw the dream take flight and spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony on August 4th. She left those that will carry the dream forward with a message

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low, and the debts are high
And you want to smile but you have to sigh
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Jean was awarded the Alberta Centennial Metal in 2005 for her accomplishments and the Community Vision Award for her visionary spirit in 2010.

She was energetic, tenacious, funny, expressive, outgoing, and full of life. Jean never met a stranger. She took life for a ride. Her passing is felt in the hearts of her children: Dayle (Ken) Sauers, Debbie McKeever, Cherie McKeever, Lorne (Sherry) Dreger; her grandchildren: Scott, Stacey and Kelli; Michael and Steven; Julie, Janice, and Martin; Deanna, Angela and Lana; her fourteen great-grandchildren; her brothers Anton (Mary) and Edward Sitar, her sister Clara Racine, and many dear friends and community leaders.

Jean joins in heaven her son Don, husband Carl, parents Pauline and John Sitar, sister Minnie, and her loving puppies Snoopy and Mandy.

The family would like to offer their heartfelt gratitude to Camelia Lee, Drs Hao, McFadden and Johns, Homecare, Agape Hospice and the many friends who provided comfort and caring through her last few months.

A Celebration of Jean’s life will be held at the Lutheran Church of the Cross (10620 Elbow Drive S.W.) on Monday, October 18, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be directed to the Jean Dreger Fund for Gerontology by cheque or on-line at The Calgary Foundation, Suite 700, 999 – 8th Street SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J5,

In living memory of Jean Dreger-McKeever, a tree will be planted at Big Hill Springs Park, Cochrane by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Chapel of the Bells, 2720 CENTRE STREET NORTH Telephone: (403) 276-2296.


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Condolence Messages

  1. Marty McKeever :

    Goodbye Grandma – you will be forever remembered … say hi to Dad for me.

    Love always,

    Your grandson Marty

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  2. Timothy Sitar :

    My heartfelt condolences to the family; what a wonderful lady she was – –

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  3. Kelli & Family,

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time. Draw strength from each other and know she will always be in your hearts.

    Dustin & Lina

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  4. Doreen Sidorchuk :

    Jean was my Aunt, my mom’s (Minnie) sister. I didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time with Jean, but the times I did spend with her were always full of laughter and I will always remember the conversations we had as I was recovering from an illness myself. Although I am not able to come to Calgary to attend her memorial, I will definately be there in spirit. I send my love and sympathy to her family and can tell them from my own personal experience of losing a mom, a sister and a granddaughter, that tears help wash away pain so that we can always remember the happy times, the fun times, her generous spirit and her brave heart.
    Your mom is resting now in a place of Peace where she will have her Lord’s comfort and warmth surrounding her for all time and she will live forever in the hearts of all those who loved her.
    God Bless You All.

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  5. As Chairperson of the Older Adult Fall Prevention Committee I want to send our condolences to Jean’s Family from our membership.
    Jean was an active participant. She was part of focus groups to test “Maintain Your Independence” brochures. She managed the Fall Prevention display materials at seniors functions. We will miss her support of our community fall prevention work. We Thank Her for a Job Well DONE,
    Older Adult Fall Prevention Committee

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  6. Susan Simpson :

    To Dayle, Ken, Scott, Stacey, Kelli and family,

    Jean was truly a remarkable woman and the sweetest Grandma that her grandchildren could ever wish for. She will be incredibly missed by her lovely family and anyone who had the privilege of knowing her.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all and I send my deepest sympathy.

    Jean….you were so kind and thoughtful to me and you always made me feel such a part of your wonderful family. Thank you for embracing me. I will always remember you.

    Love Susan

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  7. Please accept these condolences from the Calgary Police Service where Jean was a long serving member of the Senior Police Advisory Committee.
    I have had the good fortune of working with Jean for several years on several projects advocating for Older Adults. Jean was a constant force in making sure the right thing was done and done so in a respectful, dignified manner. I was always charmed by her good nature, strength, and sincerity when speaking her mind for what she believed in.


    Constable Kevin Zeh

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  8. Anton {Tony} Sitar – Jean was a sister of love, that had only good things to say about anyone she knew.
    It always was a pleasure to be with Dear sister as in the coversations we would cover Politics, sports, and loving family gatherings.
    Your mom, my sister is now resting in Peace in Heaven. Jean you will live forever in the hearts of all that knew you.
    God Bless you sister and to all the loving family.

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  9. Jean was one of the most remarkable people I have ever met. I first met her 10 years ago through the Calgary Health Region Seniors Advisory Council and it was clear from the first that she was something special. She was such a tireless advocate for seniors yet her personality was such that no one ever took umbrage with anything she did. Her passing leaves a large hole and she will be very much missed.

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  10. Laurie Lyckman :

    When I joined the Seniors Advisory Council, Jean was the most happy, welcoming member of our council. She welcomed you with a hug and had that little laugh that just warmed your heart. Even when she was done on council, I was priviledged enough to be someone she stayed in contact with and I treasured it. She always sent such wonderful messages, and of course some great jokes. She told me if you can’t laugh at yourself you’ll have a really sad life. I will miss her e-mails terribly, but the memory of her smile will stay with me forever.

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  11. Barbara Delurey :

    “What a wonderful, brave, smart & beautiful Lady” You can all be so proud of Jean & all her accomplishments.
    My deepest sympathy to all! When the sun rises & sets, the winds blow, the rain or snow falls, when you see birds take flight, the rivers run, the grass & trees change color, she will always be there watching over you.. As Always.
    Cherish your fond memories of Jean & I am sure you all have many. God will give you strength to help you through your sad loss & He will help ease the pain for each & everyone of you. God Bless you all & may She Rest In Peace.

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  12. Shirley Dreger Gould :

    To the large family of Jean Dreger- my sister, my friend. We became”sisters” when she married my husband’s brother. She became a favorite “aunt” to my children and a substitue mother to my Calgary daughter. Yes, she was much loved by my family and we will treasure memories and her love, generous Christian spirit, tanacity and loyalty.

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  13. Shirley Dreger Gould :

    To Jean’s family we extend our sicere sympathy in your loss. May the depth of her understanding of her Christian Faith be yours to sustain and uphold you as it did her.

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  14. Lynne (Shearer) van Husen :

    Dayle and Debbie: I was so sorry to learn of your loss. Jean was a very, very special person. I loved her and thought of her often over the years.
    We’re in Lethbridge now but will try and make it to the service. My thoughts are with you.

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  15. To the Family of Jean,
    I would like to extend my deepest sorrow that Jean has passed. I worked with Jean on many occassions, professionally, on committees and at trade shows etc. I just loved Jean. She was such a knowledgable person and so motivated to help others each and every day. I just wanted to take a moment to say – I was so blessed to know Jean and send my very best to her family. She lived a life that people can only dream of – ethically, with care for others and she made a real difference to many, many people.

    Cathy Hume
    Director, Sales, Marketing and Communication
    AgeCare Communities of Care and Wellness

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  16. Hello to Jean’s family,
    I very much share your loss of Jean. Over the past decade, my work path intersected many times with Jean’s. I found her to be a tireless advocate on behalf of seniors and I know that she committed many hours of each day to that work. Jean was a person of integrity and a great role model. I will miss seeing her friendly face and connecting with her. As her family you can be justly proud of all that Jean stood for and all that she contributed to making Calgary a better place for seniors.
    Debbie Lee
    Alberta Health Services

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  17. I would like to extend my most sincere condolences to you, the family of Jean. I had been given the honour and priviledge to work with Jean over the past 10 or more years in a number of aspects in life, both personally and professionally. Her ideas, humour, contributions and willingness to help others will not be forgotten… As a strong advocate of seniors in our great community of Calgary, Jean will be greatly missed by many. May the memories you hold of Jean and the many thoughts and prayers being passed on to you, help you all, through this very difficult time of life. Many hugs!
    Jaryll Dunne
    Alberta Association on Gerontology

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