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HARPER, Marie (Solverson)

March 12, 1923 – Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
December 31, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta

After a long, happy and fulfilling life Marie passed away peacefully in the arms of her loving family on New Years Eve at age 95.

Raised on a farm southwest of Camrose, AB, Marie was the eldest of six children born to Ruby Jean and Solvie Solverson. Following high school, Marie moved to Calgary where she embraced all that the big city had to offer. After work as a comptometrist, Marie would race home on her bike, fit in a quick game of tennis, attend to chores at her boarding house and then head off with her close circle of girlfriends to go dancing. At Penley’s Dance Hall, shortly after the end of WWII, she met “Sailor Jack” – a young man in the navy who became the love of her life. Marie and Jack’s love of dancing never waned and after 63 years of marriage they still enjoyed kicking up their heals at every opportunity. While Marie’s children were growing up, her welcoming and fun filled Britannia home drew a steady stream of neighbourhood kids. Each summer, her children eagerly looked forward to their family holiday at the Solverson farm and the rustic Harper cabin at Sylvan Lake. Marie was a full participant in her grandchildren’s lives and became their greatest cheerleader. Grandma Marie and grandkids loved nothing more than a spirited game of cards followed by an impromptu tap dance in her kitchen. Marie cherished her life-long bridge club, volunteer work in the community, her active membership role in the local United Church and becoming Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star. In their retirement years Marie and Jack, when not travelling the world, spent many hours at their hobby ranch in Priddis. While they toiled with haying, calving and tractor maintenance, the grandchildren created their own adventures fishing in the pond and frolicking in Marie’s vegetable garden.

Marie was predeceased by her husband Jack, son John, sister Mary Lynn (Harry) and brother Don (Winona).

She will be lovingly remembered by her children Stuart (Louise), Heather Giuffre (Michael), Cheryl Spelliscy (Dan) and Jill Barnes; her 13 grandchildren Tannis and Colin Harper, Martin (Carley), Christina (Louis), Adrianna, Anthony and Stephen Giuffre, Kelly, Travis (Christine), Nicole and their father Kevin Peckham, Megan (North), Ross, Claire and their father Alan Barnes; great-grandson Liam; siblings Bill (Mary), Jack (Helen) and Mike (Joan); in-laws Joyce (George), Don (Mary-Ann), Millie (Frank), Stan (Bev); numerous nieces and nephews and Dan’s children Courtney, Connor and Lawton. Our family would like to thank Jenny Senaraine and Dr. John Haggblad for their many years of dedicated support that enabled Marie to stay in her home. Special thanks also to the physicians and staff of the Rockyview General Hospital for the compassionate care she received these last two months.

A Celebration of Marie’s Life will be held at Living Spirit United Church (629 – 49th Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB) on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow at the church. Condolences may be forwarded through

In living memory of Marie Harper, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive S.W., Calgary, AB, T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Elaine Robichaud

    Jill and family
    My heart goes out to you as you celebrate your Mom’s life and pour over the memories, photos, and treasures that she has left behind. Treasure the moments with family and take time to care for yourself in the coming days and months. My prayer for peace for you and that your Mom may rest in peace.

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  2. Jill and family,
    Your Nova Scotia family are all thinking of you at this difficult time. Wish we could be with all of you to celebrate a life well lived. Marie was an amazing lady and one of a kind.
    Love Terry & Ernie, Cathy, Greg and family.❤️

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  3. Jill and family
    Our sincere condolences in the loss of your wonderful mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.

    Love Helen, Al, and family.

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  4. Oh Jill, I am so sorry for your loss, I feel like I knew your Mom because you spoke of her so lovingly and proudly so often. I am so glad that you were out west to be with her in her last days. I will talk to you when you get home, maybe we girls can go dancing in her honor. Give your kids a hug for me.

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  5. doreen fehr (collins)

    I am sad to hear of Marie’s passing. She came to dinner at my house one year while visiting Mom and Dad, and we had a wonderful time. Lots of fun. I remember visiting your family as a child and thinking how beautiful and kind she was. Forever remembered by me. My condolences to all of you.

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  6. My deepest sympathies for your loss. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  7. Sharon Owttrim-Fraser

    Jill and family, our sincere condolences for the loss of a wonderful lady, Nana Marie. We have great memories of your mother’s visits over the years to the east coast. Great chats in your sun porch, watching the soaps with Marie, and dancing the night away at Megan’s wedding to name a few. Thinking of you, your children and siblings at this difficult time. Sharon, Duncan and family

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  8. Dear Stuart, Heather, Cheryl, Jill and families,
    Our love and condolences to you all. Your mom was such a wonderful woman and will be missed by many. Even those of us who didn’t see a lot of her have some very fond “Aunt Marie memories”. She had a way of adding a sparkle to any room.
    I’m sorry that we can’t attend the service tomorrow as we’re committed to a 10 day babysitting stint with a couple of our grandkids while their parents take a much needed vacation.
    I will think of Marie this week and try to be fun and crazy so Chloe and Caleb have some good memories of this time with us as your kids would have with their grandma.
    We would have loved to see all of you.
    Love and hugs,
    Daryl and Kathy ❤️❤️

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  9. Rev. Roland & Anna Hutchinson

    Dear Jill, family and extended family.
    Anna joins me in extending these words of loving support at this time of the loss of your mother Marie. Her vibrancy and zest for life will be missed by each of you. Yet, it is obvious that you carry those ‘dance of life’ qualities with you in your living due to her nurturing of it.

    Our prayers support you in your loss and grief, and will be with you tomorrow as you celebrate her life and witness among you. It is good that you were and are there. Safe return to NB when that time comes.
    God’s blessing.
    Rev. Roland & Anna Hutchinson,
    formerly of Trinity UC, Shediac, NB

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  10. Dear Heather, Michael & family,
    Our sympathies go out to all of you. Marie was such a dear. I remember her during her years attending Riverview United (now Living Spirit). She was my definition of a real “lady”. She was always impeccably dressed, so thoughtful and so nice to everyone. In recent years Heather, you had asked our daughter (who had just graduated and was desiring to move out on her own) if she would consider moving in with your Mom. Not to be a caregiver by any stretch, but simply a companion and friend so that your Mom had “someone” to keep her company in her home which she loved so much. I remember (jokingly) saying to you “well….if she won’t, I would!” because Marie was so nice!
    Her lovely personality and legacy lives on through all of you.
    May she rest in peace.

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  11. Jill and family,

    Jill, from the stories that you warmly shared of your mother, it is evident that she was an incredible woman who lived a life that was full of joy, adventure, love and family.

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. May you find peace and comfort in the memories you have of her.

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