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SMILEY – Wilma Mary

May 29, 1960 – April 21, 2011

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Wilma, beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter and friend, on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at the age of 50 years.

Wilma was born in Bow Island, AB and raised in the farming community of Hays, AB. She moved to Lethbridge when she was 18 to pursue her diploma in Rehabilitation Services at Lethbridge College. Upon graduation she worked at Children’s House where she found her true calling of working with children. She also later worked with the brain injured at Lethbridge Family Services. Wilma supported her husband as he pursued his career with stops in Victoria, B.C., Kelowna, B.C. and Saskatoon, SK. Wilma, Gord and the kids moved to Calgary eleven years ago. She immediately found work with the Catholic school division at St. Stephen and Father James Whelihan as a Special Needs Assistant. She later moved to Renfrew Educational Services to work with developmentally challenged children.

Wilma was a warm and caring person who made friends wherever she went. She was a devoted hockey mom and managed two of Brett’s teams in the Shaw Meadows Hockey Association. Wilma spent hours at various Calgary pools watching Kathleen pursue a competitive swimming career. She was a fundraiser, volunteer and was passionate about children, her real gift. She later developed a flair for painting. Wilma loved spending time with her family particularly her nieces and nephews. She was also a loyal friend and trusted confidante. She faced cancer with gritted determination. She endured numerous treatments, never complained, never asked why. Her battle was truly heroic and an inspiration to everyone. She was a great mom and wonderful wife. We miss her dearly.

Wilma slipped away from us at the Foothills Country Hospice surrounded by her two children, Kathleen and Brett; her beloved husband Gord of twenty-eight years; and dear family friend Teresa Henderson. Wilma fought a two-and-a-half year battle against cancer with grace and dignity. She is also survived by her mother Corry Brenner; sisters, Audrey Van Son-Turner (Doug), Betty Rondeau and Joanne Bowerin (Greg); brothers, Tony Van Son (Linda); Kerry Van Son (Pierrette), Andrew Van Son (Tracy); as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her father John Van Son in January of 2008.

A celebration of Wilma’s life will be held at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY (14441 Bannister Road S.E.) on Thursday, April 28, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. If friends so desire, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Foothills Country Hospice Society, P.O. Box 274, Okotoks, AB, Telephone: (403) 995-4673, www.countryhospice.org.

In living memory of Wilma Smiley, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 BANNISTER ROAD S.E. Telephone: (403) 256-9575.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Thoughts and prayers are with you all. I know that your mom was very proud of all you did Brett and Kathleen. I see the same determination and courage in both of you that your mother had as well. Please know that everyone at OLP will be praying for you.

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  2. Sherri Gallant :

    From all of us at the Lethbridge Herald who knew Wilma and Gord for many years. Your loss is unimaginable, and our thoughts are with your family during this terrible time.
    God bless.

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  3. Alan Kaluta & Darlene & Cameille Addinall & Family :

    We would like to pass on our condolences to all the members of the Smiley family. We will keep Wilma in our prayers and pray for all of you.

    Darlene

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  4. Sharon Sellars :

    Gord and children; I don’t know if you remember me or not; Kathleen spent a few years in my day home (along with Andrew Jaffrey). I was absolutely shocked to hear of Wilma’s passing; I’d been thinking of you all off and on the past month or so.

    I remember Wilma as being so happy all the time; and how thrilled she was to be a wife and mom. The three of you were her world.

    I know that shortly after Brett was born,( 6 – 8 months perhaps) Kathy Jaffrey told me that you all had moved to B.C. to further your career, Gord.

    We were really blessed to have known you all; while all this has happened, take as much time as you need to heal. It is always different for each person, I hope you will always be there for each other; keep Wilma’s legacy of love going on.

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  5. Rick,Trish, Eric & Kevin Strybosch :

    Gord and family, you are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Wilma was a wonderful person, and she will be greatly missed.

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  6. Irene Caruso Doucette :

    Dear Gord, Kathleen, Brett and family,
    I was so shocked & saddened to see your beautiful smiling Wife & Mom’s picture & notice of passing in the Lethbridge paper. I knew her back in her college & Children’s House days. I am so very very sorry, my thoughts & prayers are with you. I will always remember her as a beautiful, smiling, wonderful person.

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  7. Judy (Kopervas) Wiest :

    Dear Gord, Kathleen, Brett and family,

    My deepest sympathy on the loss of your wife and mother. I was so lucky when Wilma was one of the first people I met when I moved to Hays. We went to High School together and then we both moved to Lethbridge to attend college. We played many games of slowpitch together and I was so happy to have her as a bridesmaid when I married. I will always remember Wilma’s heart warming smile and her kindness to everyone she knew. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  8. Michelle Pilon :

    Dear Gord, Kathleen, Brett and family,

    I worked with Wilma at Father James Whelihan for many years. She was a great friend and an amazing teacher assistant. We would walk everyday at lunch and she would give us all pointers on what to eat and our exercise routines. I still think of her every day when I have my “small handful of almonds.” We also tried out for a Dove commercial together and that will always be one of my favourite memories of her. We had lots of laughs and I will always remember her beauty, kindness and strength.

    May God surround you with peace and comfort during this challenging time.

    Michelle Pilon

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  9. Louise Doherty :

    Dear Gord, Kathleen and Brett,

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the passing of such a beatuiful wife and wonderful mother. She brought so much sunshine and happiness into others’ lives. I feel privileged to have known and worked with her at Father Whelihan. She will be sadly missed but we will all cherish our memories of her forever.

    God bless,
    Louise Doherty

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  10. Lori Clipperton and Tom Buckie :

    Gord, Kathleen and Brett,

    It’s been many years since we have been in contact with your family, however we still want to share our condolences with you. Our thoughts and prayers have been with you for quite sometime and will continue to be. We know Wilma will be greatly missed by many, thank goodness for good memories that can keep one afloat in times of sorrow.

    God Bless,
    Lori Clipperton(sister-in-law to Tony) and Tom Buckie and family.

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  11. Shigemi family ( Toshino, Connie, Marcia, & Cliff) :

    We offer our condolences to the Smiley family. We will always be thankful to Wilma for being such a great friend to our sister Sharlene. Wilma’s comforting ways, conversation and sense of humor helped us get through very difficult times. She will be remembered and greatly missed.

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  12. Joanne Flynn :

    Kathleen,
    I am so sorry for you and your family’s loss. My prayers are with you.

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  13. Cathy Jaffray :

    Dear Gord, Kathleen and Brett:

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences. Gord, I have such fond memories of the time we spent as friends in Lethbridge, when Kathleen and Andy were little. It was a special time and Wilma was a very special friend. I will remember her always. My very best wishes as you grieve your profound loss.

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  14. Justin, Val and Austin Habetler :

    Please accept our deepest condolences for Wilma’s family and friends.
    Our family met Wilma through Brett’s baseball – she was always a wonderfully positive, caring person.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.

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  15. Gord and Family

    I worked with Wilma through Children’s House some 25 years ago when she was the Dayhome visitor and was shocked to see she had passed on so young. I just lost my sister to cancer this past week so I can relate to your grief and sense of loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Wilma was a very vibrant person.

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  16. Judy and Rob Bakalik :

    So very sorry for your tragic loss. We remember Wilma from Father Whelihan as the kindest and warmest person to work with and as a student there. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  17. Rick and Sheila Galley :

    Sheila and I are sorry to hear of the passing of Wilma and your loss. I did not know Wilma well but we did have some conversations at hockey and over the phone. It was clear that she was a very caring person and Brett was very important in her life.

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  18. Bill and Brenda Dudas :

    Gord, Kathleen & Brett,

    We are so sorry, and want you to know we are thinking of you all.

    Your old friends,
    Bill and Brenda Dudas

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  19. Michele, Mitch, Rachel, James & Georgia (Erbas) Taylor Family :

    Gord, Kathleen and Brett,

    I remember Kathleen and her mom Wilma coming to our house for one of the many birthday party’s… it was so long ago, when the girls shared skipping, games, bike-riding and a whole lifetime of a future together with the group from OLP.

    Wilma was a great inspiration as a mother to me and I admired her dedication and always thought her family was very successful becuause of her committment to all.

    I know she will be deeply missed by many, her family most especially.

    Our deepest and most sincere condolences to you all Gord, Kathleen, and Brett.

    God Bless,
    The Taylor & Erbas Family

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  20. RAYMOND/HELENE CROTEAU :

    GORD- KATHLEEN and BRETT

    WE ARE VERY SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR WIFE (MOM). OUR SINCERE SYMPATHY FROM THE FAMILY. WE GOT TO KNOW WILMA FROM HOCKEY AND BASEBALL WITH BRETT. SHE WAS ALWAYS HAPPY AND GO-LUCKY. SHE WILL BE GREATLY MISSED.

    RAYMOND, HELENE AND GUY CROTEAU (BOLTS HOCKEY TEAMMATE)

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  21. Marina Covey :

    Gord, Kathleen and Brett,

    I was so very sorry to hear the news of Wilma. She was a positive and true friend no matter what, and a great person all round – there are many great memories to cherish. My thoughts and wishes go out to you.

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  22. Nancy (Gill) Seiz :

    Gord, Kathleen & Brett,
    I am so very sorry and saddened to hear the news of Wilma. She was a beautiful woman with such a big heart. Her passion and love for her family were obvious. She will be greatly missed.
    My thoughts are with you all at this time. Please take care.
    Nancy

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  23. peter and pat menzies :

    Gord, Kathleen and Brett,

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
    A bright light has been extinguished,though you will hold her in your hearts and memories forever.
    With sincere asympathy
    Peter and Pat Menzies

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  24. Carol Clipperton Hood (Tony van Son's sister-in-law) :

    Gord and family,

    We wish to express our sincere condolences to you all. I met Wilma through Tony, years ago. She was always smiling, happy and positive. I enjoyed visiting with her very much. Those visits with remain in my memory of her. Wishing you much peace, always.

    Carol (Clipperton) and Richard Hood

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  25. Marian and Rick Stamp and family :

    To Gord & family, Corry, Tony, Audrey, Betty, Andy, Kerry, Joanne and families:

    Our sincerest sympathy is expressed to you all. I (Marian Huvenaars) lived in Hays at the same time as the van Son family. We were saddened to hear of your loss – Wilma has touched the hearts and lives of many. It is our prayer that God will bless you all with his loving comfort and peace in the days ahead. Our thoughts are with you.

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  26. Chyrel(Ternes)Cannady :

    I went to school with Wilma, she was a very caring, thoughtful person. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Treasure the memories she left behind as they will always be with you.

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