On her 79th Birthday, in her own way and on her own time, Geri Wegelin passed away. Geri was the youngest of 5 daughters born to Steve and Esther Stefano. As the youngest, Geri was just a little bit spoiled and often got into just pure, simple fun kinds of trouble. Geri’s Dad was a railway man and her early years were spent living with her family in the Dunster train station, just feet from the train tracks. Geri’s family moved to Prince George and that is where Geri thought of as her home.
After graduation, Geri made the bold and brave move to go to school in Vancouver. Returning home, Geri got to use her skills at the local movie theaters and landed a very important job working for the Prince George RCMP station. It was here that Geri met the “new, single, handsome and shy” RCMP member and she decided to reconsider her decision to not date anyone from work. Paul began escorting Geri from the movie theater to do the nightly bank deposit and very quickly, Paul became her one true love.
Geri and Paul married in 1962 and after 5 years of marriage, just about the time Geri learned to boil water, make rock hard hockey puck muffins and the occasional extravagant baked Alaska, Paul asked if it was maybe time to start a family. Geri always said that it seemed like she blinked and Steven and then Danielle were born.
Geri and Paul moved several times with transfers and each time, Geri made new friends, a new home and focused on her family first. In addition to this, Geri also built a 20 plus year career as a court clerk. Geri enjoyed her job and taught her children the importance of hard work, professionalism and most importantly, to make sure you have fun, lots and lots and lots of fun.
Geri created a home where 2 hour family dinners were the norm and where anyone was welcome. Geri and Paul would decide how much dinner to cook based on how many pairs of shoes were at the back door. Her home was one where it was not a good dinner unless one of the kids fell out of their chairs laughing or guests would lay on the floor groaning that they just ate too much, while they eagerly anticipated the dessert round. Over the years, Geri became an amazing cook and with her sous-chef Paul, they fed everyone with great food, laughs and love.
After Paul’s death, Geri filled her life with great talks with her amazing friends, making fantastic take-home dinners for her poor starving sin-in-law, taking over White Spot with Danielle for long “business” lunches, going for long Tim’s coffee breaks and Wednesday Sleepy Hollow lunches with the ladies, weekly Sunday visits to the farm (when she would bring lunch and dessert) and even more, longer talks with her sisters and her boy, Steven. Geri was very excited when Steven’s Stephanie came into their lives bringing with her, her son Tristan. Geri wanted to learn how to be friends with a 5 year old boy. She never pushed but the thought of a grand child to go with her collection of grand dogs, grand cats and grand horses made her very happy.
Geri also decided to try new things like hanging out at the creek with her family, taking a hike among 20 baby horses and their mommas – looking for her next grand horse, navigating the Vancouver bus system on her own, riding shotgun on an ATV, and memorably, driving the big truck hauling a 20 foot long hay wagon for a haying crew. As much as Geri laughed and filled her time, she was never quite able to settle into a new normal and missed her Paul, her forever love, every moment of every day.
In her last years, Geri fought hard against serious health issues. During this time, she still drew people to her with her strength, tenacity, sense of humor and love. She leaves behind many broken and bruised hearts, holding onto memories of Geri as a way to ease the hurt.
Geri is survived by her son Steven (Stephanie Samson and Tristan Eaton), her daughter Danielle (Troy Bronken), her sisters Rosemary, Vivian and Gloria, her Wegelin in-laws, Ida, Dave and Carolyn, Gus and Marie, many loved nieces and nephews and her Bronken in-laws, Mel and Wilda. Geri is also survived by so many good close friends who she loved like family.
Steven and Danielle would like to give deep thanks to the staff at Ridgeview Lodge and Canadian Hearing Care. Your professionalism, care, compassion and support for our Mom will never be forgotten. We could see you fighting for her, making things easier for us and just loving our Mom. We are humbled by you.
We will be holding a celebration of Geri’s life in the spring 2016 on Danielle and Troy’s farm. We will drink lots of strong coffee, eat sweet treats (licorice Allsorts and Purdy’s chocolates especially), tell stories, sit with the sun on our face, laugh a lot, cry a bit and watch the dogs play – just like Mom loved to do.
THE GREATER THE LOVE, THE GREATER THE LOSS