By Susan Weisenburger
Lois and Brian Kornichuk were living a marvelous life in Yellowknife, NWT raising their children to marrying age and easing their working lives into retirement. Brian got to the end of the labor road before Lois did by quite a few years. He retired in 1989 and was finding himself at loose ends by 1995. He decided to take a road trip with his youngest son Glenn. The boys arrived in the Edmonton area tracking down some old friends living in the Carvel area. On their way through Spruce Grove they saw signs for show homes, stopped to look, called Lois during her coffee break and announced that they had bought a new house. Lois’ response was,
“Can YOU live in it?”
“Then so can I.”
It would not be easy leaving a wonderful career in Yellowknife working as an Administration Officer for the Crown Attorneys in the Federal Department of Justice. Lois loved her job and she loved the people. She spent lots of time flying around the north between Hay River, Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Inuvik chasing down crimes anywhere between murder and a stolen Rice Krispie square (“as once happened!”). She was not looking to retire for another six years so moving to Spruce Grove with Brian would mean finding a new job. In 1995 she went to work for the Revenue Agency in Canada Place downtown Edmonton to finish her government career.
Lois had been a very busy community member in the north and found just as much to involve herself with in Spruce Grove. She quickly found a carpool friend at church (they solved the world’s problems while daily travelling together over six years) and has volunteered for the St. Andrew’s Thrift Shop for over 14 years. She believes the Thrift Shop is “such a worthwhile effort” because of the amount of money that goes out to local charities from its doors. Monies from this shop, adding up in the hundreds of thousands, support the Food Bank, Camp HeHoHa, Auggie’s Cafe, young mothers….and the list goes on! Lois is a social and spiritual creature who has found her “congregation” with the other volunteers and the staff at the Thrift Shop. She describes them as a caring group who know how to have fun. They have been a tremendous support to one another through thick and thin.
The gals from Revenue Canada have stayed in touch since retirement in 2001. Most of the ladies demonstrated a creative hand and so they began a “Stitch and Bitch Club” that meets regularly to work together and learn from each other. Husbands gather for their own version of bonding. Lois meets with “The Lois Club” as well. Because the name Lois was pretty popular during a small and particular part of the 20th century Lois’ from across the country get together in their local area for regular lunch dates. Again, lots of fun and connection!
When chatting with Lois it is easy to notice the detail she absorbs around other people’s lives. Most of the people she has met she would describe as “genuinely good people”. She has a heart for others struggling with health issues for her family has certainly faced their share. Lois has lost two adult children and her husband Brian facing health concerns that became insurmountable. Her two living children struggle significantly with MS. But Lois says, “you put one foot in front of the other and you learn to appreciate the family that lives all around you in your neighbourhood”. Deer Park has been a tremendous blessing throughout the years as neighbours brought meals, shoveled the driveway, invited her over, or dropped in to chat. The “most absolute positive defining factor in Spruce Grove has been the neighbours”!
We continue with Part 2 of Lois’ story next week…..
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