Betty Ann Hanson
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I put together an announcement regarding the passing of my mom, Betty Ann Hanson (nee Fritz) as there are just not enough and no appropriate words to describe the grief being felt over her absence or how much she was loved by so many.
Mom, the warrior and ever my hero, answered the call on Wednesday, December 15 at 4:24am not to battle but to return home to the place so lovingly prepared for her in heaven. She is watching over those who remain here to continue our journey on Earth including her loving and devoted husband, Duane, his sons Kevin (Heather) and Kelly (Paulette) and their beautiful children; her only daughter Rhonda (Jaret), and the ones for whom her eyes sparkled so—her grandchildren Cody and McLaryn; as well as eight remaining siblings and their families, …and her beloved Patches. She was pre-deceased by her loving parents Phillip and Regina Fritz, brother-in-law Ernie, and youngest brother, her sweet Randy.
Mom was born in Kerrobert, SK on February 28, 1950 to parents who instilled the values of love, integrity, and hard work into their 10 children. Mom came third. She shared that fondest memories of growing up included looking after her younger siblings and learning to share (along with those of pranks with her closest friend in the world, her sister Annette and, subsequently getting into a wee bit of trouble with Grandpa). Her sense of responsibility and love for her siblings carried on to her last days as she expressed concern for those whom she regularly cared for and extended her time and heart. My mom’s love for family is enduring.
The values instilled in her as a girl fortified the determination and courage that supported her throughout all aspects of her life. Becoming a single parent in a time that was made more difficult by judgement, she looked up and within and with the unwavering support of her parents (until they each passed) persevered to create a life she deserved and the one she was so determined to provide for me. Mom managed the Esso restaurant in Kerrobert for 3 years having it become the place for the best food in town in the cleanest establishment with the friendliest service bar none. Her desires to explore more opportunities and provide them for me lead her to the city. In 1977 we moved to Saskatoon. The first years included many moves including one apartment for several years for which mom served as a caretaker. Her ability to learn and execute skills as an independent woman was astounding. Mom’s main and longstanding career began and evolved over 38 ½ years with the Saskatoon hospitals in Food Services. During her unfolding legacy I am sure standards of cleanliness were elevated—as were the sounds of laughter. I knew mom was respected, adored, and loved by so many co-workers and those who became dear friends over the years, but her impact was so far-reaching. She was a gem who shone her tender loving heart well beyond her family, even to have “adopted” another daughter, Angie, along the way.
If anyone deserved happiness and pure joy, it was my mom. Mom endured difficult chapters and heartache but she was resilient, and I now know she always had my well-being at the centre of her choices. In 2007 she married Duane (seventh day, seventh month, seventh year—for luck). They didn’t need much luck as they had love and together they enjoyed so much happiness over the years that I know filled her heart with joy: travelling (their favourite destinations included annual trips to BC to visit her sister Annette, and to Mexico to enjoy the sun and relaxation); camping (so many summers treating grandkids to time in the RV park with probably more sugary treats than we as parents knew about); fishing (Duane jokes that mom lost more hooks than she caught fish—she would argue), and visiting friends and relatives (so, so, so many friends and relatives). Mom and Pops would drop in with regularity with no call-ahead—because they were just at Costco (my mom loved Costco), they just had a meal or coffee with friends, or both. Visiting with friends was always important to mom as far back as I can remember. My mom was blessed with amazing friends. Duane has a very large extended family and mom was welcomed and fit right in with the fun, laughter, and love. She loved the life they built, their brand of humour and banter (she definitely kept Pops on his toes and in line); the many adventures they went on; as well as the beauty and comfort of their every day. She truly loved her husband so. It made her so happy to do things for him, for her family, and for everyone who held the honour of a special place in her heart. Mom was a doer and so selfless.
She loved to cook—especially for those she loved and cared about. She passed this love onto Cody. Her famous treats and meals were pure comfort and always made with love. Making her family’s favourites made her so happy. I always got my favourites until her son-in-law came into the picture and then it was all about Jaret’s favourites.
How she loved him, and how she loved her grandkids! Cody and McLaryn were her world and she had special bonds, activities, and space reserved only for them. However, there was room in her big and tender heart for more family: adult sons and their wives, and more grandchildren. It warmed her heart to know she was Grandma to Amy, Dillon, Mataya, and Josh, as well as Aunt to so very many nieces and nephews in her family and Duane’s extended family. I know she was grateful for what each one brought to her life.
What else did mom love? I will never understand it fully, but mom loved to clean—she was compelled to clean. Her standard is likely unattainable for most mortals. She also loved to shop! Mom loved home décor, clothes and bling, but she especially loved to shop for gifts. She was bashful to receive love, compliments and gifts, but oh the joy she felt in giving as it was her love language—the way she extended her generous loving heart, and it brought the biggest smile to her face.
While she needed to be coaxed to show that smile for a picture (something she did not enjoy), she put it on as part of her armour with so much strength and courage despite being no stranger to adversity that showed up in different forms to challenge her throughout her life. In particular, Mom was a warrior against the dragon and endured surgeries and treatments beyond what anyone should have to in her last two years—and for so many years prior, as this was her third battle against cancer. Clear just months ago, the cancer returned and metastasised. As much as her passing came so very fast, her last days were full of gifts, and indeed mercy. She laid down her sword with grace and courage and on her terms—the same way she lived her full and beautiful life. Please remember her that way. Remember her strength; her light and her laugh. She was a warrior who lived her life and transitioned to her place in heaven with grace, dignity and courage and was welcomed home in perfect love.
Mom’s ashes will be laid to rest, so fittingly so, with her mom and youngest brother in the Kerrobert cemetery in the spring. A memorial service to honour and celebrate her life and share memories, smiles and laughs will be planned to take place on her birthday, Monday, February 28, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at Martens Warman Funeral Home Chapel, 402 Central Street West, Warman, SK. Details will be shared as the date approaches based on what is permissible due to Covid protocol.
If you would like to view the service online, it will be available via Livestream link https://youtu.be/iNXdnkTPu-8sen
We are so very grateful for the loving care and respect Mom was shown while in St. Paul’s Hospital. Thank you to her past co-workers who did their best to add and bring food options. Endless gratitude to the nurses and care aides, the angels who treated mom with kindness and dignity will never be forgotten. While I am likely missing some who cared for her in my absence, I especially honour the hearts of Nicole, Emmy, Lola, Cassidy, and Martin. We thank Kevin from Martens Family Funeral Home in Warman for his kindness in guiding us through mom’s memorial arrangements. And, there are no words to fully express appreciation for the prayers, support, condolences, and love we have been wrapped in through messages, calls, texts, visits, flowers and gifts from so many. It is indescribable what you have done and continue to do for our broken hearts.