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1934 – 2023

Elaine was born on April 6, 1934, to Estelle and Bud McLean is Innisfail, Alberta. She spent her childhood years and took her schooling in Olds, Alberta. Mom was a very private and reserved, prim, and proper lady and an absolute pillar of strength and wisdom. She was a very kind and caring person who always put her family first before herself or anything else.

We found an old “private” photo album of Mom’s covering the late 40’s to early 50’s. It was heart warming to follow along in this passage of time which covered her teenage years up to becoming a young woman. It was evident through the phots and an “autograph” book that teenagers were pretty much the same back then as now. She had a close group of friends, some of which have been life long. The girls were usually wearing dresses or nice skirt outfits. They had a meeting place “club house” and we would assume that the social activity of the times was attending dances, as Mom has so many different little pieces of ribbons that were fixed into the album with notations of these various dance outings. During the early fifties there were many pictures of the handsome young man appearing on horseback or in a long dark car and one with a farm truck. This handsome young man was Gordon Fagan. Gordon and Elaine were married in November 1953. Mom had a job at the Olds Hospital and worked there prior to marriage and possibly a few months after but in her new role of being a young newly wed farm wife; I doubt time allowed for any off-farm career ambitions. Mom was a very hard-working woman. We will recall the times when Mom’s days were over full of the endless tasks of being, to name a few…. homemaker, garden and grounds keeper, cook, baker, clothes maker and mender, outside farm hand, wife and always, Marvelous Mother!

Mom and Dad took a trip to Hawaii, Mexico, a couple of times to the States, many trips into BC but ultimately, Mom enjoyed her farm home and wanted to winter at home inside to enjoy visits from family, friends, and neighbors.

We came across the following witty passage which we think personifies Mom’s life as a Farm Wife:

  1. Thou shall cook meals that can be served 30 minutes early or 2 hours late.
  2. Thou shall be able to organise thy time to keep a clean, attractive home and yard, make 50 lbs of jam, freeze 100 cobs of corn, prepare interesting meals for the field, and then drive to town on moments notice to pick up machinery parts, fertilizer, and groceries and then back home before your missed.
  3. Thou shall learn how to open and guard gates.
  4. Thou shall not sort cattle with hands in your pockets (husband and cattle do not like it)
  5. Thou shall wear a farmer’s cap; have dust on your face and in your ears, yet still be desirable.
  6. Thou shall learn how to keep farm records (When did he let the bull out last year)
  7. Thou shall thrill at the birth of your children, new calf, and the sight of a piece of new machinery.
  8. Thou shall be present when the monthly bank statement arrives so that upon review it could be made clear that it was actually the farmer that spent too much money again that month.
  9. Thou shall love the smell of fresh cut hay, freshly plowed earth and the stinging sensation of the ammonia while cleaning out the chicken house and pig barns.
  10. Thou shall spend quality time with the children, be inspired to see the sun rise and relieved to see it set yet be exalted at the end of a long day to feel a hand on your shoulder, a tender kiss on your forehead and these three precious words: “Thanks for Helping”.  

If you ask Mom what her biggest joys and accomplishments of life were; she would say her children, the blessing of her precious grandson Keifer and then her final joy of meeting her new great grandchild, baby Blair Elaine.

Mom had a long and difficult struggle with progressive Alzheimer’s over the past 3 years. She stayed in her own farm home with assistance of her daughters right up until 11 days prior to her passing. With her amazing strength within, she was able to maintain her dignity and tenacity, right up to the end. On Sunday November 26th at about 3 in the afternoon; mom lost her struggle. The mountains were standing high in the West, a little deer was looking in her hospital window and she was listening to the music of her favorite hymns. The following afternoon, a magnificent sunset with every color of the rainbow came over the farm lasting for only a short time. We believe that was Mom’ s sign that she is safe in Heaven and at eternal peace.

Elaine will be lovingly remembered by her two daughters, Valerie & Pam, grandson Keifer; great granddaughter Blair Elaine; siblings Jim, Phyllis, Betty, and Diane plus generations of family and friends, all whom Mom held very near and dear. She was predeceased by her husband Gordon; parents Estelle and Bud; sisters Donna and Yvonne; brothers Larry and baby brother Gary.

We would like to extend our heartfelt thank you to the health team of the Olds Hospital Acute Care Unit for the dedicated and compassionate care of Mom in her final days. We thank Pastor Harold Hunter for his special visit to Mom, prior to her passing. To all those who have visited, called, sent cards and gifts of remembrance; your kindness has touched us deeply in our time of heartache.

Keeping with Mom’s wishes; there will be no formal service. A private family gathering will be held at a later date. Mom will be inurned beside Dad in their niche at the Olds Cemetery on a warm and sunny day, next spring. In lieu of flowers, memorial tributes may be made directly to Olds Hospital Acute or Long-Term Care.

“Rest in Peace, Mamma – Until We Meet Again”

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