BERTRAM – Penny Lynne Bertram was born January 24, 1954 in Maple Creek and passed away at Swift Current Hospital, Saturday September 10, 2016 at the age of 62 years.
Penny was the third child born to David and Jean Bertram, and grew up in Piapot, along with her Siblings, Janet, Gary, Jim and Kelly.
As you might guess, Penny was a small little girl, but she did make herself heard in a busy household. Days were spent tagging behind her brothers Jim and Kelly, playing with friends and of course doing chores. Penny was an expert duster and cleaner, as these were her jobs. Because of her small size, she did get out of the bigger jobs, which was her clever ability to use her small size to her advantage. She especially loved Christmas and birthdays and was given a doll that was almost the same size as her, and she spent many an hour playing with that doll. She knew what most presents were, prior to them being opened, as she usually had peeked at them, and then expertly re-wrapped them, and they weren’t always her presents.
Penny loved to ride Kelly’s blue mini bike, tearing down “the big hill,” and turning dangerously sharply at the corner, huge grin on her face and terror in anyone’s eyes that witnessed it .
Penny grew up with wonderful childhood friends, spending countless hours over at the Bayne’s in town, or perhaps overnight stays with Linda Braniff and Debbie Frey at their farms.
Sundays in the summer were usually spent out at Bertram’s enjoying a baseball game (of which Penny could really crack a ball!) and splashing and swimming in the creek.
In the winter months Penny enjoyed curling and of course watching hockey!
After completion of her high school in Maple Creek, Penny moved to the big city of Medicine Hat to the first home of her own, a one bedroom basement suite. She started her working career at McKenzie.Drugs, and her city life began. Her home was always open to everyone, and I sometimes wonder how much time she actually spent by herself. Her couch always had someone on it. Jim spent a great deal of time staying with Penny, while playing hockey, baseball and working. Her home was always welcoming, and we all enjoyed going there. I personally remember her wonderful shoe collection, and in particular her white “go go boots” that I would wear around the block.
When Penny moved into an apartment on College Ave., her nieces and nephews thought we hit the jackpot. Visiting Auntie Penny meant countless hours running up and down the halls, getting lost on different floors, and generally being in awe of such a big building. And as always, she welcomed her family anytime, and the spare bed and couch were used regularly.
Penny loved to play cards, and was an absolute whiz at math. Nobody was allowed to cheat on her watch, you had to count very carefully, because she could catch any mistake. I do think the great nieces and nephews got off easy, as she had softened up by the time they were old enough to play cards. Her life in Medicine Hat was busy; she attended hockey games, ball games, and had many great friends. Bingo was big back then, and she loved to go when finances allowed, and her and I, along with Marilyn McFall, would gather our Bingo dabbers and off to Top Hat Bingo we would go! We always split our winnings, which let me tell you, didn’t happen much, but we did win one blackout and split about $75. Man we were excited! Penny even flew to Maple Creek with my dad (Henry) and I one weekend; he came and picked us up in Medicine Hat on a Friday and returned us on the Sunday.
In the early ’90s Penny decided to move to Maple Creek, to be closer to Grandma and Grandpa and get away from the busy life of a city. She started a new job at the Jasper Center and it was here that she met her partner in life Michael Monk. I still chuckle when I think of Penny taking off on the back of Michael’s motorbike, now she had someone else to share the love of riding fast on a bike!
Thus began their adventures, which lasted over 20 years and brought her much happiness and another family to cherish. Michael’s children, Stephanie and Ryan, along with their families were welcomed into Penny’s heart as her own, and she talked fondly of them and their children.
Penny and Micheal moved to Piapot, and this new home became a welcome spot to a whole new group of friends. Penny’s love for animals was always great, but now she was able to have her own: dogs, cats and birds. Their love for the outdoors led them on many enjoyable camping trips to Pine Cree and the West Block. Penny also welcomed to her family the Portz Girls, Cathleen, Jesse and Sage, whom she started babysitting, and became a very important part of her life.
Life in Piapot was good, with card games, curling to watch, showers to attend and of course all her grass she loved to mow! After Grandpa passed away, Grandma Jean would spend the occasional weekend in Piapot with Penny and Michael, and this was very much enjoyed by all of them. Rummy games were played, big meals cooked, curling shots made and called from the couch, Kelly stopping in for a wonderful meal, happy times, and good times.
Penny’s infectious laugh and her love of the color purple, are things we will never forget. Her nieces and nephews were showered with much love and each one of us looked forward to a birthday card from Auntie Penny, and she never missed a birthday! As we expanded our own families, our children were added to her birthday card regime, usually with money inside and if you were lucky a scratch ticket!!! She had an incredibly memory and never forgot an anniversary. Her love of chocolate and all things sugar made her the absolute BEST AUNTIE in every kids’ eyes. Orange pop for breakfast when you slept at her house! Smarties on the side with your cereal? Absolutely! Halloween of course was a favorite time for all kids, but Penny was very excited to see all the kids at her door, and she was ready with a huge mound of treats. She enjoyed attending all her nieces and nephews activities, from Christmas Concerts, dance recitals, to hockey games, and all in between. Her love of sports was apparent by her knowledge of the games she watched.
Penny will always remain a special light in our hearts, as she so much cherished the light in each one of us.
Penny was predeceased by her parents Dave and Jean Bertram and is survived by her partner Micheal Monk, and his children Stephanie and Ryan and their families, as well by her siblings: sister Janet (Henry) Drinkwater, brothers, Gary (Lorraine) Bertram, Jim (Cindy) Bertram, and Kelly Bertram. Nieces & Nephews, Anita (Keith) Winzer, Derek (Andrea Fischer) Drinkwater, Renee (Darren Muhlbeier) Bertram, Michelle (Shawn) Kramer; Dan Bertram and Allie Bertram. As well as great nieces and nephews: Trent & Dayna Winzer; Ashley & Allison Kramer, Victoria Muhlbeier.
I have found a poem that I would like to share with you. “My Aunt” by Megan Stokes:
I thought I saw her face today in the sparkle of the morning sun. And then I heard the angel say, “Her work on earth is done.”
I thought I heard her voice today then laugh her hearty laugh. And then I heard the angel say, “There’s peace little one at last.”
I thought I felt her touch today in the breeze that rustled by. And then I heard the angel say, “The spirit never dies.”
I thought that she had left me for the stars so far above. And then I heard the angel say, “She left you with her love.”
I thought that I would miss her and never find my way. And then I heard the angel say, “She’s with you every day.”
A Funeral Service was held on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at the Maple Creek United Church with Eleanor Bowie officiating. Binkley’s Funeral Service Maple Creek & Leader in charge of arrangements, 306-662-2292. http://www.binkleysfuneralservice.com