Valerie Dianne

Date of death:
Sunday March 18, 2018

The Winnipeg Free Press, MB

Valerie Dianne Elias (Neil, Gilbank) 1947 - 2018 It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of Valerie Dianne Elias (Neil, Gilbank) who passed away peacefully in her sleep at home in Gimli, Manitoba, on March 18, 2018, at the age of 71. The daughter of an RCMP officer hailing from England and a feisty Scot from Port Arthur, Valerie was born in Morris, Manitoba on January 1, 1947. She was lighter than air, stronger than steel and made every person who crossed her path feel good about themselves. She was everyone's mom and loved with all her heart. Val is predeceased by her beloved first husband Glenn Neil, her parents, Thomas and Agnes Gilbank, her sister Lynn Pakulak, and her stepson David Elias. She is survived by her beloved husband Arthur Elias, her daughters, Sherri Kinast (Gerald) and Kirsten Neil (Charles Ibezimako), her stepson Colin Elias (Darcie Morris, Kyla Elias), her stepdaughter-in-law Susan Elias (Chris Suchy), her brother Barry Gilbank, and her eight grandchildren, Taylor Elias, Kate Elias, Irma Eze-Charles, Ashton Elias, Mackenzie Elias, Kamsi Eze-Charles, Nicholas Elias and Ethan Elias. Growing up in St. James, Winnipeg, Val was always tagging along with her older brother and sister. She looked up to them with great awe and was there for them whenever needed. Since she was a young girl, Val had a vibrant personality and a kind heart, which made her a beacon for friendship. For 30 years, Val worked in ladies fashions at Sears and created many friendships that survived way past her retirement. In 1963, Val met the first love of her life, Glenn, at Grand Beach. After Glenn saved Val from a potential drowning, which he was partially responsible for, they quickly fell in love, courted and ultimately married in 1968. In 1970, Val and Glenn welcomed their first daughter Sherri into the world and Kirsten followed three years later. The early years of their marriage were full of love and fun times. One of their happiest moments was getting a cabin at Winnipeg Beach where they spent most of their summers with their cousins, Alan and Karen Birtwhistle, who quickly became their dearest friends. After a few good years in Winnipeg Beach, the two families decided to buy lots beside each other on the Sandy Hook golf course and proceeded to build cabins where their kids could grow up with each other. After many beautiful years together, Glenn was diagnosed with ALS in 1993 and was taken from the family way too soon in 1996. Val took such kind and loving care of Glenn throughout his illness. As all who've met Val know, taking care of people was just in her nature. It didn't matter the task at hand, if someone needed help or something needed to get done, Val would take it on. After Glenn's death, Val's family and many friends, especially the Sandy Hook crew, rallied around her and made her feel so loved. Val travelled extensively with her friends and enjoyed many a happy hour, which ended up being hours and hours. In 2008, Val met the second love of her life, Arthur (Art) at The Manitoba Club after being matched on eHarmony. This was her first date since meeting Glenn. After her disaster date (long story) with Art, they immediately fell for each other and quickly started a relationship. Two giddier people in their 60s you never did meet. They started planning their life together and went full-force at it. They built a beautiful home in Pelican Beach, Gimli in 2009 and got married at that house just weeks after they moved in. Val and Art enjoyed many great times together in Gimli and also at their other homes in Texas, Rancho Mirage and East St. Paul. Every Christmas, Art and Val and their blended family would all pack up and take off on a Forced Family Fun vacation. There was nothing so dear to them than to see their children get to know each other and grow together as one family. Val was an active golfer and walker. She walked just about anywhere and everywhere. And you pretty much had to run to keep pace with her. She loved to sew, stitch, knit and craft. Her sewing room lives and breathes the soul of who she was. It was where you would find a collection of her finished masterpieces and get a glimpse at her future projects. If you knew Val, you definitely own something she made with her hands. And if you shared a glass of wine with her you knew not to make it merlot. Our hearts are completely broken at Val's passing. She left a huge mark on this world and in all of our lives. No amount of space in a paper can sum her life up properly. She will be missed beyond words. The happiest of people do not necessarily have the best things. They simply appreciate the things they have. The funeral service will be held on Friday, March 23, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. at Breezy Bend Country Club, 7620 Roblin Blvd., Headingley, MB. In lieu of flowers, Val would have wanted you to give someone you love a big hug. If you do feel the need to give something monetary, a donation to Evergreen Basic Needs, 71 Fourth Avenue, PO Box 89, Gimli, Manitoba R0C 1B0 would be greatly appreciated. They are an organization working to eliminate hunger and food insecurity. For those who wish to sign the online please visit Chapel Lawn Funeral Home 204-885-9715 As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 21, 2018

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