Here today, gone today but it was a good day...
Dad (Leverne, Vern, Lav) went out on his terms this past Saturday while at the lake - ironically it was mom and dad’s first visit back to Cochin/Jackfish Lake (Hunt’s Cove) since they moved in September.
Left to keep his memories around are his wife Annette (nee Popochenko), son Cam and family (Joan, Logan, Brynn) son Trent and family (Faith, Grady & Courtney, Karlee) and daughter Michelle Skjerven and family (Shane, Kelly, Carter).
Dad was born In Rosetown to Ira and Ella where the early years were spent growing up on the farm in Valley Centre until the family moved to Biggar. Numerous stories have been told about his time growing up in Biggar - let’s just say they were eventful if nothing else. Dad married his high school sweetheart Annette in 1961 at which time they were both living in Saskatoon.
Biggar always held a special place in their hearts as we made many trips there on weekends as kids growing up.
The early days in Saskatoon started with dad working at Canada Dry then Purity Dairy but his career spent underground as a hard rock miner is what defined him. With a limited education but a degree in work ethic he started at what was then called Potash Company of America as a labourer and retired 30 plus years later as a production foreman or a “white hat” as some of us called him. In addition to loving his job at the mine dad was very proud to be a member of the mine rescue team.
Time spent on surface back then was spent helping to raise the family, build something needed at a new house, coach the kids, being a part of the community association and enjoying the company of the neighbourhood. Mom and dad built their first home in Westview in the late 60’s. It was a great community to grow up in and to raise a family, a place that helped forge many friendships that continue to exist to this day for all of us.
After his early retirement from the mine and a few side jobs, mom and dad decided to move full time to the lake and build a house on the cabin site. Once settled dad needed something to do so he worked at the Cochin Bigway, got into local politics and toured the countryside.
Lake life amounted to 45 plus years. It was here where we as kids thoroughly enjoyed time spent in and on the water, playing on the beach and taking yet another sunset photo. The last 24 years were full time for mom and dad and needless to say it was a bittersweet move when they left. It goes without saying that they were very happy there with countless memories made with family including their lake “family”.
Lake life was dad’s sweet spot. There were numerous projects around the cabin in the early days (thanks boys for your help...), camp fires, water fights, horseshoes, creating lifelong friendships, watching grandkids grow and enjoying the constant coming and goings of all of those who passed through.
A cabin at the lake is different than living at the lake so to change it up mom and dad got the RV bug. He started out with a motor home then a fifth wheel and finally a pull trailer. They didn’t go far but thoroughly enjoyed wherever they went, especially the local music festivals.
One does not have to look too far for a “Lav-ism”. Among the many, the “jump in the truck” was a classic. Unless the rules of engagement were established before wheels up then that passenger or passengers would spend the next hour or so driving seemingly aimlessly around the countryside.
Dad never met a story he didn’t like to tell over and over. He never let an opportunity to chat with someone go by either, whether he knew that person or not. To that end he was thoroughly enjoying the company of his new-found friends and acquaintances within Arbor Green. Mom doesn’t have quite the gift of gab like dad did but she can hold her own.
Dad was old school but it was time spent with his grandkids where he really softened up. They taught him many things over the years, which was good because he wasn’t listening to us…
Dad was extremely proud of all of his grandkids and couldn’t wait to hear from them and find out where they might be and what was going on in their lives. We were very fortunate that all of our kids got to know their grandpa as they grew into young adults and beyond.
Now back to Saturday. Saturday started with dad catching up with old friends, time by the fire, roasting hot dogs with family and friends and telling familiar stories. Despite the tremendous efforts of Trent and Joan, the day ended with dad slipping away peacefully.
Our family would like to thank the first responders (J and J, you know who you are), the second team of paramedics, the RCMP officers (representing Nova Scotia and Quebec) and the team from Eternal Memories Funeral Service. Your professional and compassionate approach to the way you conducted yourself was amazing and much appreciated.
We would also like to thank the many healthcare providers who have spent time with dad over the years. You do amazing work day in and day out, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
As decided by dad, there will be no service but to no surprise dad wants a celebration of life. Stay tuned.
But it was a good day, even his Habs won that day…
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Trevor Watts of Eternal Memories Funeral Service & Crematorium.
To send flowers to Leverne's family, please visit our floral store.