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Our mother, Irene Josephine Acton, was born in Macklin on August 10, 1934 to parents, Peter and Lucy Sieben. She was the oldest child in a family of 5. Her sister, Cecelia, was born a year later, followed by Norbert, Adeline and Freddy. Mom grew up in the Cactus Lake area and attended St. Anthony’s Church in Grosswerder. She worked hard on the farm and told us a story about her and Norbert travelling by wagon with their dad to a slew bottom by Primate (about a 2 hour wagon ride from their home) and filling the wagon with hay using forks, and then traveling back to the farm by supper. It was a long day and they did this for several days in a row until the job was done. This is probably why mom was such a hard worker for her entire life, a trait developed as a young child on the farm.
When our mom finished grade 8 she moved to Denzil where she worked long hours in the Denzil hotel, cooking, cleaning and doing any other jobs needed to be done. She said she got her room and board and was paid $15/month....she used to say she worked like a darn dog for that money!! She then moved on to the grocery store in Luseland and then the grocery store in Unity. While living in Unity she attended the wedding of Balzar and Marjorie Sperle, which is where she met the love of her life, Lorne Acton.
Lorne and Irene were married the following year, June 6, 1962. They settled on a farm in the Scotstown District. Soon after they were married their eldest son Brian was born, followed by Jim, Allan and Murray. They spent the next 50 plus years on the farm raising their family of boys before retiring into Unity. Mom loved her gardening and always had the biggest garden for miles around. There were 100s of hills of potatoes that she would hill many times all by herself. She said the year Jim was born she dug all those potatoes the day before he was born!! Mom had 100s of chickens that she butchered and they always had a week long butchering session with family and friends of a few cows, 6 pigs, sausage making etc. Cooking, cleaning, outside yard work, gardening....Mom did all of this as well as anything else needing to be done around the farm. She was always a hard worker and no task was too difficult for her to tackle. She also loved to sew
and patched jeans, replaced zippers, hemmed many pairs of pants, and in the later years took up making jean quilts with Aunt Laura. In more recent years, when the grandchildren would visit with their new jeans on with holes in them, mom would say you should take those off and I’ll patch them for you! We can’t let this day pass without mentioning mom’s buns....she probably had the most famous buns around!! She made more buns in her lifetime than Weston’s bakery! Mom’s house and kitchen were always full of friends and family and everyone was always welcome at her table!!
Over the years mom volunteered in many organizations like the Royal Purple, CWL, Rodeo Committee and any other fundraising needed in the community. Donating buns, baking, serving meals were all things mom kept herself busy with over the years while raising her family.
Eventually there were grandchildren which were the love of mom’s life. She spent hours and hours looking after grandchildren during the summer months and school holidays, attending many sporting events, music festival, graduations, weddings and other events they were involved in. She maintained constant contact with the grandchildren even as they grew into adults. Gramma always wanted to know how they were doing and was so proud of each one of them and was sure to tell people about all of their accomplishments. Gramma made sure all of the grand children had homemade buns, premade meals and baking when they moved away from home. Each of the children has their own jean blankets made with love by mom and Aunt Laura. These will be treasured always! When the first great grandchild, Lathem, was born 12 years ago mom was thrilled! Three years ago, Axel and Nora, were born and three more little ones followed, Kennedy, Cayden and Thea. Mom relished being a great gramma and was so happy to see videos and pictures of them sent on her ipad. She enjoyed every hug and smile shared with them!
15 years ago, mom suffered a major heart attack and spent a few weeks in the hospital in Stoon and we were told she probably wouldn’t survive. But survive she did and she was blessed with 15 more wonderful years with family and friends!! The past year and half, mom started to have some health issues with her heart
and went in and out of the hospital starting the beginning of August. She spent the last 7 weeks in palliative care in Unity, where she received excellent care from the wonderful hospital staff! We are grateful to them and our family and friends for all of their support over these past weeks with mom. We spent every evening praying the rosary with mom and dad, which was something she had done her entire life. On the afternoon of Monday, January 16th, mom passed away peacefully in her sleep with dad by her side.
Mom lived and loved well and was loved by many in return. We would like to thank everyone for their visits with mom in the hospital over the past couple months. Mom’s final days were surrounded with company just as she always liked! We are grateful and will treasure every special memory of times spent with our mom and grandma. Be at peace mom, we love you!
The Vigil of Prayer for Irene will be held Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 7:30PM with the Mass of Christian Burial to follow on Friday, January 20, 2023 at 11:00AM. Both services will be held at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Unity. Tributes for Irene may be made to Unity Parkview Activities or Unity Health Centre Palliative Care.
Cards may be directed to Lorne Acton: Box 326, Unity, SK, S0K 4L0