Obituary of Laura Ann Dressel (nee Farmer)
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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Laura Ann Dressel (nee Farmer) on Saturday May 13, 2023, in Calgary, AB, at the age of 78 years.
Laura Ann Dressel was born in Akron, Ohio to Valburga Chudomelka and Frank Farmer who met while working in a World War II plant making bomber planes. When Frank passed away Val, Laura and brother Mike returned to North Bend, Nebraska where Val’s family lived. There Val married Victor Pabian and they all lived on the family farm where the family expanded giving Laura 3 sisters Pat, Vicki, and Roz and 2 more brothers Don and Tom to grow up with.
Laura started her education in a one room schoolhouse down the road from the farm and graduated from North Bend High School in 1963. From there she went to St. Elizabeth’s Nursing School in Lincoln and on the 9th of June 1969 she was certified by the State of Nebraska as a Professional Registered Nurse. Nursing was Laura’s true vocation, and it would be impossible to count the number of lives she touched both by caring for people and by training endless new generations of nurses. Education was a touchstone of Laura’s life, and she was always ready to support others’ learning and never stopped learning something new every chance she had.
Laura began her new career in Florida where she enlisted in the United States Air Force and was then based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah where the new Lieutenant met Airman First Class Joseph Skierka. They were married February 17, 1968. The couple moved to Calgary, Alberta, Canada in August of 1971 with oldest daughter Linda and then to the Skierka family ranch near Lundbreck, Alberta where they grew their family with two more daughters Katherine and Jennifer. After a move to Claresholm, Alberta they took the family to Creston, BC where they lived for the rest of their married life until Joe passed away in 1980.
Laura had a long career at Creston Valley Hospital which gave her ample opportunity to work in her favorite department maternity where she established her reputation as a baby whisperer. Always one to improve anything she could, Laura began a long union career as a steward with the RNABC that ended with a position as Vice President. She loved the opportunities this gave her for travel and deeply valued all the talented nurses she met around the province of BC.
After a long courtship, Laura married Roderic Dressel at the Redeemer Lutheran Church on October 8, 1994, and added 2 more daughters Cathy and Deb and 3 more sons Doug, Darrin, and Rob to her family. Laura and Rod both loved to travel and covered many miles in Canada and the United States visiting family and friends and seeing new things. Always up for a challenge they built houses, gardens, and airplanes together. Never intimidated by a renovation they could always be counted on to paint walls, build fences and upgrade rooms for their family and friends. Sadly, Rod predeceased Laura in 2005.
Laura loved being a grandmother to her new family and never got tired of being Grandma, Nana, and Auntie to all her grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews and then great nieces and great nephews.
Outside of work Laura loved gardening, movies and going to the theater especially for musicals. She liked to say she couldn’t sing at all, but someone had to be the audience and she spent endless hours watching all her grandchildren at school plays, music concerts and dance recitals. She learned the rules for sports she had never even heard of so she could cheer at BMX races, swim meets, soccer games and horse shows. Growing up in Nebraska she probably never could have predicted she would be able to tell you league standings for the National Lacrosse League or who was first in the Formula 1 Constructors Cup, but she never missed an opportunity to have fun with her grandkids.
Laura was an incredible fiber artist whose skills at embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, crocheting and quilting were only surpassed by her generosity in giving what she made to her family and friends as gifts. She kept boundless numbers of babies warm in her sweaters and baby blankets and her capacity for giving was only matched by her love for new projects.
Laura loved spending time with her friends and family and was part of a loving and supportive social circle. She was always ready for a cup of tea hot or cold and liked nothing better than to open a bottle of wine or have a martini with friends. In addition to a tremendous crew of immediate, extended, and blended family Laura built numerous families with the nurses she worked with, church members she volunteered with, neighbors she shared drinks with and the friends of her children.
Laura will be lovingly remembered by her daughter Linda (Jeff) Kirby, their children Muriel (Jean Luc) Plamondon, Patrick, and Laura, daughter Katherine Young (Brian deceased in 2018), her children Kenya, Jordan, and Sophia, daughter Jennifer (Todd) Readman, their son Joseph, step daughters Cathy (Tom) Sanborn and Deb (Jim) Marcil, stepsons Doug (Lynn) Dressel, Darrin (Kathy) Dressel, and Rob (Valarie) Dressel, as well as many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday May 23, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. at the Redeemer Lutheran Church with Pastor Harry Haberstock officiating. Interment to take place at a later date in Pincher Creek, AB.
Friends wishing to make a memorial contribution may do so the ALS Society of Alberta, 7874 10 Street NE, Calgary, AB, T2E 8W1, or to the Veterans Association Food Bank, 820 28 Street NE, Calgary, AB, T2A 6K1.
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