Obituary – Verda Kozie

Verda Kozie

Verda Kozie was born as Verda Wolfe at home at the farm north of High Prairie on Nov. 16, 1929.

At home on the farm that night was Verda’s grandmother and grandfather Wolfe. After Grandma Wolfe delivered and was caring for the baby, she was about to close the door on Verda’s mother, Hazel. Grandpa Wolfe told his wife to just leave the door open and he was going to keep an eye on Hazel. Thankfully he did, as he had to deliver the next baby girl who surprised everyone by being born moments later.

Verda never knew if she or her sister Vera was older. From then on they were known as Sis and Twinnie. They joined the family which already included sisters Alberta, Lola and Dora. They later welcomed sister Mildred and brother Chester.

Verda shared good memories about growing up on the farm. The pride of the farm was a hip roof barn that cost the astronomical amount of $500 to build, and it is still standing. Verda talked about rather being outside and helping her father with the chores than being inside.

Verda attended school in High Prairie, attending Prairie River to Grade 12, and then she took a dress making course in Edmonton. She met Stan Kozie in High Prairie and they married on Oct. 4, 1950. It is said that Grandpa Kozie made a double batch of moonshine for their wedding and ran it through his still three times. Some people didn’t make it home the night of the wedding.

The young couple lived on the Kozie farm south of High Prairie. Daughter Colleen joined the family in May 1951. Ed was born in August 1952 at Prpich’s corner on the way into town.

The Kozie family moved to McLennan when Stan got a job on the railroad. While in McLennan, Brenda was born in 1954 and Tim in 1957.

The family moved back to High Prairie, and into the home south of the tracks on O’Brien Drive that was being built by Stan’s dad. Sandra joined the family 10 years later in 1967.

Verda started Kozie Catering in the 1960s when the Anglican Church stopped doing catering. She operated this business for over 30 years, and served food at the weddings of most of the people in High Prairie. Verda expanded the business and Stan built her a commercial kitchen in the back of the shop at their home. She was well-known for having the best roast beef dinner in the Peace Country, and for her signature rhubarb relish.

Verda also helped husband Stan operate Kozie Auctions for over 30 years, and served as cashier, bookkeeper, and overall manager.

Verda was a devoted volunteer to her community. She was active in the Royal Purple and received her 65 years service pin. Verda could be found working hard in the food booth at the rodeo every year, and she even worked a couple hours this year, too.

She started and operated Second Wind resale store at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, and while she handed over management of the store a few years ago, she still did a monthly shift along with daughter, Colleen.

Verda was an active member of the St. Mark’s Anglican Church for over 50 years. She and Stan were married in the church, and most of their children and many grandchildren were baptized there, too. At times Verda sat on the vestry, the altar guild, and was present for whatever was happening in the church.

Verda was also active in the Pleasantview Lodge Auxiliary for over 40 years. Verda and Stan were on the board for the Midnight Twilight Tourist Association, and Verda sat on the Heart River Housing Board for many years. Later in life, she sat on the museum Board.

Verda was involved in many other causes that are too numerous to mention. In 1992, in recognition of her volunteer work, Verda received a Commemorative medal from The Governor General for significant contribution to the community. More locally, Verda was honoured as Citizen of the Year by the Town of High Prairie, and her name is on the Citizens Monument outside of the museum.

Verda lived her life to the fullest. While she worked hard, she was always up for an adventure. She and Stan enjoyed camping on the rare weekends she didn’t have a banquet. They travelled all over British Columbia and Alberta, and took bigger trips to Hawaii and England. They also enjoyed fishing on Lesser Slave Lake. For a few years they very much enjoyed their lot that they rented for the season out at the lake.

Verda enjoyed sewing, gardening, preserving, entertaining, reading, and there was always family around the house on O’Brien Drive.

When Stan died in 1998, Verda stayed in the home for a couple years and then downsized to an apartment. Verda always said she planned to move to PleasantView Lodge, the place she had been volunteering at since the 1960s, while she was still young enough to enjoy all the activities. Verda had more than five years in the lodge, and she did enjoy all the activities, and made new friends and renewed old friendships.

Verda still sewed aprons for the Christmas Bazaar and she crocheted dishcloths faster than her family could wear them out. She enjoyed crib every week at the Senior’s Centre.

It was noticed that Verda was slowing down in the recent past. Verda died peacefully on Aug. 23 and she leaves her children: Colleen Greer [Larry], Ed Kozie [Helen], Brenda Conroy, Tim Kozie [Robyn] and Sandra Marquardt [Ron].

She also leaves grandchildren Melissa Greer, Lisa Greer, Shelley Romanyshyn, Nicole Boyko, Lee Conroy, Trisha Laughlin, Kyla Conroy, Chris Kozie, Mandy Kozie, Steven Kozie, Kelsey Mar- quardt, Molly Eaton, and Matt Marquardt.

Great-grandchildren include Brooke Greer, Ocean MacEvoy, Roman MacEvoy, Zachary Chomyn, Dakota Conroy, Nolan Conroy, Grady Conroy, Brendan Laughlin, Shanna Laughlin, Jillian Laughlin, Ayden Conroy- Flynn, Ewan Conroy-Kovach, Macey Verda Conroy-Kovach, Kale Romanyshyn, Quinn Romanyshyn, Cohen Boyko, Alison Boyko, Tycho Kozie, Nova Kozie, and Elliotte Marquardt.

Verda is predeceased by her husband Stan, sisters Vera Cox, Alberta Turner, Lola Elliott, brother Chester Wolfe, grandson Scott Greer, and daughter-in-law Cathy Laviolette.

What set Verda apart from most of us, is her devotion to her family and her causes: her community, her church and the world in general. Even though Verda received accolades for her exemplary work, she never saw herself as unique. She thought everyone did or should work as hard as she did to make their world a better place. So if you want to have a life that had the depth and meaning that Verda’s did, jump in. Love your people, love your community, and show it by rolling up your sleeves and helping out.

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