Kenneth David Pattison Shirley Mae Pattison
September 28, 1944 - October 23, 2021 April 2, 1944 - October 13, 2021
Shirley Mae Enslen, Mom, was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta on April 2, 1944. She was the firstborn to her German parents, Bill and Emma Enslen. She grew up on the family farm just inside the Saskatchewan border with her siblings Lester, Juliann, Kenneth, and Miriam. Mom’s early years were spent contributing to family farm life where she enjoyed all their activities, except plucking and butchering chickens! She began Grade 1 in Schuler where she first learned to speak English. As a young lady Mom was the pianist for her church, Hilda Baptist. After high school she moved to Calgary to further her education by enrolling in a three-year course at Berean Bible College. She took one year off between the first and second year at Berean to attend a year at business college, returning in the fall of 1964 to finish her Bible training. One of her greatest joys at Berean was to sing and travel with the advanced choir. Her beautiful alto voice contributed much to the choir presentations. It was at Berean where she met her lifelong partner, Ken Pattison.
Kenneth David Pattison, Dad, was born in Eckville, Alberta on September 28, 1944. He was the youngest of five siblings born to his parents, Stan and Ruth Pattison. He grew up on the family farm in the Withrow area with his siblings Marilylle, Fred, Will, and Anne. A typical farm kid, he carried out day to day chores and responsibilities including hauling wood, gathering snow to melt for bath water, milking dairy cows, and shipping the milk to Alpha Dairy Pool in Red Deer. He started grade one at Wolfe School and subsequently attended Withrow and Leslieville for the elementary years. As a young teen he was also a member of the Medicine Valley 4-H Dairy Club. He graduated from David Thompson High School in 1963. After high school he attended Berean Bible College for three years where he met the love of his life, Shirley Enslen. They quickly developed a deep love and devotion for each other and were married following graduation on October 15, 1966. After they married, he continued his studies at SAIT in Agricultural Mechanics for two years. Dad and Mom began building their permanent residence on the farm near Withrow in 1967. In 1968 their family doubled in size with the arrival of twins, Sharmon and Sharlene. Their family increased again with the arrival of Kimberly in 1971 and was completed with Bonita in 1973.
Mom devoted her life to successfully making a home for her family. She sewed dresses for all of us and did our hair in ringlets Saturday nights, in preparation for Sunday morning church. Many afternoons after school we were met by the welcoming smell of fresh bread. Spring and summer, Mom industriously planted and weeded, creating an outstanding outdoor space. Her flower beds were always spectacular. Fall meant that the shelves were laden with jars of jam and fruit and the freezer was full of bags of homegrown vegetables. “Gram” was well known by the grandkids for having cookies in the cookie jar and was always handing them out whether it was close to meal time or not! Mom always brought or sent baked goods to events. Mini cheesecakes were her signature contribution. Music was one of the loves of Mom’s life. She was pleased to teach piano lessons to many young people in the community for many years. She took pride in keeping a clean and tidy home. Right up to the last week of her life, Mom took pleasure in doing laundry, particularly favoring ironing.
Dad had many skills and talents which he used to provide for his family. He was always able to see what needed to be done and took initiative to do it. In the early 70’s he built barns for his hog operation and transitioned to beef cattle in the mid-80’s. At different times over the years, Dad worked hard supplementing the farming income by driving school bus, spraying for Benalto Ag. Services, weed inspecting for Clearwater County, and various other endeavors. He also served his community on several boards, some of them being Camp Little Red, Eckville Co-op, Diamond Valley Gas Co-op, and the Ag. Service Board. The west country was a real draw for Dad. Family vacations were usually a wilderness camping adventure. The fall always held the excitement of an annual hunting trip and his living room displays trophies of many successful outings.
A big part of Dad and Mom’s life was to love people. They took a genuine interest in others. One area this was evident was how they served the Lord through church ministry. In earlier years at Bethel Union Church, they served in Pioneer Girls, and Boys Brigade, followed by leading the youth group. Mom played piano for Sunday School, Sunday morning services and Discovery Club. They participated in choir together for special events. Dad served on the church board for many years. He was innovative and explored ways to serve the Lord more effectively. Mom and Dad took some of the family to Africa to visit a family missionary friend and also took along tools to build cabinets, fix equipment, paint houses, and bring gifts to local families who were struggling. He also used those skills later at home, investing in an Evangelical Free Church plant, INC. In their retirement they joined the church family at Withrow Gospel Mission. They truly treasured the relationships they built over their lifetime. Mom in particular, was purposeful to convey encouragement to people. Dad loved to tease and give big hugs! They were special “adopted” grandparents to several families, however, their relationships were not limited to people in our community. They went on a few trips outside our borders as well. In addition to their Africa trip, Dad joined Greg Wiens and Calvary Baptist Church in Edmonton on mission trips to Mexico and the Bahamas. They also participated in a tour of the Holy Land, a bucket-list item for them, and enjoyed various trips to Hawaii with different family members. We must also mention the epic family vacation to Disneyland with Louise, which was life-changing in ways we are still realizing! In fact, our families continue to benefit from all of these experiences that were valuable puzzle pieces which made connections and built relationships wherever they went.
Mom’s retirement years were marked by contentment. Remarkably, she endured many challenges without complaint. She carried on and enjoyed what life offered her despite pain, loss, or the inability to do things she loved to do. She took great joy in watching the goings on of the farm and delighted in visits from the grand kids, pool parties with the great grand kids, and phone calls from friends. She would recall the conversations, relating with a smile any interesting or humorous details. Online scrabble with friends was a favorite pastime and she often had multiple games on the go all at once.
Wood working was a particular retirement passion of Dad’s. He took pride in designing and turning out a quality project. As the family grew, so did the requests for his creativity and expertise. A particularly special piece is a free-standing rocking bassinet that is passed around to each great grandchild as they are born. His latest treasures were bandsaw jewelry boxes for each of the ladies in his life. Each box was thoughtfully designed and expertly crafted to reflect the personality of each of his girls. Throughout his retirement Dad’s passion for the land and farming never diminished. He continued learning about and enjoyed keeping up on the latest innovations in farming techniques.
Dad and Mom lived very happy and busy lives on the farm surrounded by their family until Mom’s passing October 13, 2021, just two days short of their 55th wedding anniversary, and Dad’s passing just 10 days later October 23, 2021. Dad was always Mom’s hero, their devotion to each other and their commitment to Christ was a strong example. Thank you Dad and Mom, we love you so much.
Ken and Shirley are survived by their four girls and their families: Sharmon Crane (Ben), grandchildren Stephanie Tycholaz (Jon), Jessica Oracheski (Benjamin), great-grandson Elliott Oracheski. Sharlene Bjorge (Les), grandchildren Nathan Bjorge (Amanda), Crystal Erickson (Lukas), Brenda Church (Lucas), great-grandchildren Daniel, Mariah, Hunter and Brooklyn Bjorge, Malia Erickson, Gwen and Casey Church. Kimberly Devereux (Bradley), grandchildren Jesse and Joelle Devereux. Bonita Bott (Roger), grandson Caleb Bott. Ken and Shirley are also survived by Shirley’s siblings Les and Linda Enslen, Ken and Debbie Enslen, Miriam and Graham Kern. Ken’s siblings Marilylle Soveran, sister-in-law Donna Pattison, Will and Marion Pattison, Anne and Ernie Gray. They are lovingly remembered by numerous uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces.
Ken and Shirley were predeceased by their parents Stan and Ruth Pattison, William and Emma Enslen, and their grandchildren Catie, Jana, and Dara Bott, Ken’s brother Fred Pattison, brother-in-law Larry Soveran, nephew Kalman Soveran, Shirley’s sister and brother-in-law Juliann and Charlie Brooks.
A graveside service for Ken and Shirley Pattison will be held at Leslieville Cemetery on Monday, November 8, 2021 at 2 pm. Family and friends are welcome to attend. Memorial donations can be made to Samaritan’s Purse or Food for the Hungry.
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