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Verna Alma Hansen


verna copy

June 26, 1914 - July 11, 2019

Verna passed away peacefully, while napping in her wheelchair, on the evening of July 11, 2019 at the Good Samaritan Dr. Gerald Zetter Care Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Verna had been a resident of the Rutherford Heights Retirement Residence since September of 2014 but had recently been transferred to the Dr. Gerald Zetter Care Centre in late June due to consequences from a fall. Verna celebrated her 105th birthday on June 26, 2019. She is survived by her son Warren (Irene) of Port Coquitlam, B.C., sister June Polhill of Edmonton, nieces Wendy Polhill, Mae Hyland, Shirley Abegg, Margaret Wilson, Karen Gislason and friend Kathy Latimer. Predeceased by her husband Dick (2006), parents Lauretta and Alex Cameron, sister Fern Wilson and brother Laughlin Cameron. Verna was born in Sunnyside on June 26, 1914 and lived the early years of her life with her family in the Sunnyside district just north of Edmonton in Sturgeon County. She started taking piano lessons at the age of 12 and by 1936 she was playing at the Sunnyside Church and teaching music to students around the district. The students would walk to the Cameron residence with a quarter and a nickel for a music lesson. On January 27, 1940 Verna married Eijler Richard (Dick) Hansen, a Danish immigrant who had moved to the area in the mid Thirties. In 1941 Dick and Verna moved to the Namao area (about six miles from the Cameron home) and lived on the same property for the balance of their lives together. When Dick passed away in 2006 the two had been married for 66 years. Verna continued to live on the property until 2014 when the onset of dementia made it necessary for her to move to the Rutherford Residence. In 1946 Verna started to play the piano at the United Church of Sturgeon (Namao United Church) and in 1960, when the church purchased an organ – she had to learn how to play it and that she did. She played the organ most Sundays until her 100th birthday in 2014 a total of 68 years. In addition to playing at the United Church she played for pretty much every wedding and funeral that happened in the district during that time. Teaching students started from her childhood home in Sunnyside and continued at the Namao residence. Over a period of nearly 50 years she taught dozens and dozens of young people how to play the piano. Dick played the violin and with Verna and three other locals, they played in a small band called the Sunnyside Orchestra that toured the area playing for dances for a number of years. When Verna turned 95, in 2009, the community provided her with a huge birthday and thank-you party. A similar function took place in 2014 when she turned 100. The family would like to thank the people of Namao United Church and district for the special recognitions provided for Verna and all the support during the years when Verna’s mental acuity was failing. Our family would like to express great gratitude to Rutherford Heights Retirement Residence and the Dr. David Zetter Center staff for their thoughtful and loving care. A special thank you as well to June and Wendy Polhill for all of their thoughtful care and assistance over the past 10 years. A memorial service will be held at the Namao United Church (24400 Hwy 37 Sturgeon County, Alberta T8T 0E9) on Saturday, September 21st at 2:00 pm. If desired, a donation to the Namao United Church, in memory of Verna, would be appreciated.
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