Gwenne Degenstein

Obituary
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    - Eileen Peeke
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Gwenne Degenstein May 2, 1946 - December 30, 2015 It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Gwenne Degenstein on Wednesday December 30, 2015 at Royal University Hospital with her family by her side.

Gwenne was born May 2, 1946, the first of five children born to Joe and Violet Fillo who farmed south of Kandahar, Saskatchewan.

Gwenne took her elementary education at Big Quill rural school and completed her education at Wynyard Composite High School.

She married Ted Degenstein, a teacher from south of Kandahar. They were blessed with two children, Barbara and Douglas, born less than a year apart and Gwenne had the unenviable task of tending to two children in diapers, in a house without modern plumbing or central heat. Gwenne was a natural mother and did a wonderful job of raising her children. Later she became the perfect grandmother to Shaun, Evan and Ben.

After Barb and Doug were in school, Gwenne began taking university classes whenever she could, during evenings and summers, or by correspondence. She completed her Education Degree with Great Distinction.

Gwenne spent most of her teaching career at Tisdale Elementary School. Often people would come up to her and say "You were my favourite teacher!" One evening while walking, a woman grabbed Gwenne by the arm and said, "You are awesome. That's what my grandson says."

Gwenne was a natural athlete, taking part in many sports and activities. She would entertain her students by standing on her head on her desk in the classroom, a skill she possessed until the day she became ill. In retirement she enjoyed golfing with friends, as well as the gym and yoga.

Gwenne loved to travel whether it was backpacking in Europe with a Eurorail pass, canoeing on a tributary of the Amazon River, or spending a month travelling in Mexico with an RV, visiting places as remote as the Copper Canyon. She loved hiking whether it be in the mountains of Colorado where the air was thin or the remote parts of Hawaii. Sitting in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland with the sleet pelting down, or camping beside a tranquil stream on a quiet Vermont fall evening drinking tea and blackberry brandy are treasured images.

Gwenne loved life. She loved to laugh at almost anything. She had boundless energy and seldom sat still. Many baby quilts were made while watching television.

Eight years ago Gwenne and Ted moved to Saskatoon to be near their kids and grandkids.

Gwenne's passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts, but she will always be part of us, and her courage will forever be an inspiration.

Many thanks to the staff at Royal University Hospital who cared for Gwenne with compassion and kindness.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 9, 2016 at St. Paul's United Church (454 Egbert Ave.) Saskatoon, SK. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society. Arrangements have been entrusted to Hillcrest Memorial Gardens.


Published in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix on Jan. 5, 2016
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