Lena Hessler

11/03/1926 - 12/07/2020

Obituary for Lena Hessler

March 11, 1926 - July 12, 2020

It is with heavy hearts that we sadly announce the passing of our most beloved Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother Nathalia Lena Hessler on Sunday July 12, 2020 at The Grande Prairie Care Centre.

Lena was born the youngest of 7 children to Adolph and Adela (Feller) Sauder on March 11, 1926 in Rush Lake Saskatchewan. She moved with her parents at age 15, first to Elscott, AB and then on to Northmark AB., where she helped her parents farm during her teenage years. As the years passed, she was courted by Otto Hessler. They were married on June 25, 1948 after Otto was discharged from the Army and had filed on a homestead in the Josephine Canyon area near Fourth Creek. Their first home was a grainery where keeping mice under control was a challenge.
Together, they worked tirelessly clearing the land by hand with axes, walking home from the fields, washing off all the dirt and grime in cold water and falling into bed exhausted. In addition, there was livestock to look after, a garden to tend, wood to be cut and gathered, berries to be picked, canning to be done, plus housework to be completed – all with no modern conveniences. In spite of these challenges, Lena said that they were so fortunate to get the land that they did, because it was in a beautiful area in the countryside and the soil was very good for farming. They spent 50 years farming there before retiring to Spirit River in 1996, after turning the farm over to Son’s Marvin and Rick. They were happily married for 70 years prior to Otto’s passing in 2018 and truly blessed to have full mental faculties to the end.

In 1950 they began their family with Son Gary, 1952 Son Richard, 1954 Daughter Christine, 1956 Daughter Kathryn, 1962 Son Marvin. They purchased an acreage south of Spirit River in 1957 and moved there so the kids could attend school as there was no school in Fourth Creek at the time. In the spring and fall Otto went to the farm to seed and harvest and Lena stayed with the kids on the acreage. Once the children were old enough to stay by themselves, Lena joined Otto on the farm for seeding and harvesting. In 1970 the acreage was sold and they moved back to the farm until they retired.

Lena enjoyed cooking and baking – her homemade noodles, in chicken noodle soup, pork and moose sausage, cinnamon buns and pineapple cream pie were family favorites. She also liked to sew, do embroidery, and to play card games – there were a lot of intense card games with family and friends as the children were growing up. She and Otto were also devout Christians and supportive and involved with their church until age and health issues prevented them from attending. Lena also took great pride in her yard and flowers and said that working in her flower gardens was not work to her but that it was relaxing.

While working alongside Otto and Son Rick, she learned how to back up the grain truck to the auger for unloading grain, which in her words came in very handy when she had to try to maneuver her wheelchair into the sometimes tight spot at the dining room table at The Care Center. She said that learning that skill on the farm, served her well at The Care Centre.

In recent conversations with her, we thanked her for being the most loving Mother any child could ask for and she replied – I tried my best even though Dad & I could not buy you kids everything you may have wanted, we could and did give all of you a home full of love – we had lots of that to give you.

We know that when you went to meet Dad, he would have been smiling from ear to ear and would have had that twinkle in his eyes when took your hand. We can picture the two of you walking hand in hand through the flower gardens in Heaven and Dad picking some for you as he used to do out on the farm when he would come from the pasture with a big bunch of wild flowers. How very beautiful and fragrant the garden must be there.

Lena leaves to mourn her passing, Gary (Marlaine), Richard (Cheryl), Christine (Robert) Stalker, Kathryn, Marvin (Darlene), 9 Grandchildren, 25 Great Grandchildren.

Lena was predeceased by her parents Adolph and Adela Sauder, Husband Otto, sisters Katherine, Rose, Martha, Emma, brothers Emil and George and Grandson Michael Eagar.

Care entrusted to Bear Creek Funeral Home 780-830-7742

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I am so sorry for you and your family's loss Christine. Your Mother seems to have pass her traits along to you. I wish you the best - Dianne Fitzpatrick
- Dianne
We are very saddened to hear of Lena's passing. Such a great lady. Sending you our loving thoughts , prayers and many, many hugs to all the families. Wish we could be there to say goodbye but still residing in Edmonton. Rest in peace Lena and we know that you will take your place in Heaven with Otto for eternity.
- John/Lenore

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony for a deceased person prior to burial or cremation. A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life. A funeral is a vital first step to help the bereaved heal after the loss of someone special.

What type of service should I have?

If no pre-arrangements have been made, the type of service is entirely up to you.  Services are usually held at a funeral home, community hall, or a place of worship. There is a wealth of different services, ranging from a traditional religious or military service to something a little more non-traditional. Our funeral directors are more than happy to work with you to figure out what would be the most appropriate.

Who are Funeral Directors and what do they do?

Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.

What if a death occurs away from my home town?

We are here to help, we can arrange to have your loved one transported home from anywhere in the world. We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have them returned to the community. We use the same organization that brings our military home when needed.

What is embalming and what purpose does it serve?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body; it also slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of the body damaged by traumatic death or illness. Embalming gives time to the family of the deceased to arrange a service, and allows the family the option of having an open-casket viewing.

What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?

Funeral homes and funeral professionals in Alberta are licensed by the Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board. If you are unhappy with the way a funeral was handled or the actions of a funeral home in Alberta, you may speak with or proceed with a complaint process to seek resolution of the matter. More information is found at  or by phone at (780) 452-6130 

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of the funeral varies depending on the wishes you have. The average cost of a funeral is between $5,000-$7,000, however, it varies greatly depending on the kind of service you desire. In general, cremation tends to cost less than burial. The costs include professional services including transportation, embalming and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.

Can I personalize a funeral?

Of course you can, in fact, more and more people are opting for a more non-traditional personalized service. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life. There are many unique ways to celebrate life, let the funeral director know exactly what your desires are and they will honour your wishes.

Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?

It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that’s either placed in a local newspaper or placed online. An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and gives them information about the service. Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city, and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died. It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren. Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a little blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased. An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased.

What happens if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

We are here to help, funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

Do I need to have an embalming

No, embalming is often an unnecessary expense, even if a viewing is desired. There are times when we would recommend embalming, especially if there is an extended gap between death and burial or cremation.

Why are funerals so expensive?

Funerals are labor intensive and require a lot of work from a lot of people. The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets, it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other people involved in the death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies). Funeral directors work an average of 40 hours per funeral. The cost of operating a funeral home is factored into the cost as well. Funeral homes are a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured.

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