January 2, 1922 – November 7, 2022

With great sadness, but thanksgiving for a life well-lived, we mourn the passing of our much-loved mother, grand-mother great-grandmother, and great-great-grandmother, Betty Kathleen Clarke, after contracting COVID.
We’ve chosen to share her eldest great grandson’s (Matthew Diakiw) tribute to share our news.
If it were to be said that Betty (Geeg) had made a lasting impact on anyone she met, it would quite literally be the understatement of the past century. Having lived, thrived, travelled and nurtured her way through 100 years of life is a gift given to a select few, yet Geeg was able to do this and then some.
Born in Huddersfield to Elsie Blanche and Charles Howard Slade, the year his football team won the FA cup, much of her early life was spent in various cities where he played. After school, where she was a bright and precocious student, she worked for a short while as a bookkeeper, before entering the RAF in 1941, as a radar operator and mechanic. Following the war, she met a handsome RAF pilot, who was then studying to become an architect, and they soon married. Not yet finished with adventures, they travelled to Canada to start their new life, briefly in Toronto, and then Edmonton, where they settled.
Soon after arriving in Edmonton, the first of their four children was born. Being a master seamstress, she dressed her children in the newest fashions as they came and went. As the four children entered school, Geeg became the consummate community volunteer, supporting all of them in all their endeavors through thick and thin. As a springboard diving parent volunteer, she was chosen to be an official at the 1976 Olympics. She was truly an incredible woman.
Following the death of her husband, and once her children had grown and began to create their own lives, she was freed of day-to-day parental duties, and again took up her adventurous ways. In between travelling to Europe, white-water rafting, air gliding, belly dancing down the Nile and riding on motorbikes; she served as Walterdale’s costume mistress for 12 years. She also became an enthusiastic member of the U of Agers gymnastics club at 70, and swam twice a week until she was 85.
A proud veteran, she organized many Remembrance Day services at her assisted living residence, where she was known as a going concern. Even at her most recent home, the General Hospital Long Term Care unit, she could be heard calling Bingo on Friday mornings.
Her many accomplishments were inspiring. She was quite a forward individual and there was very little that could dissuade her when her mind was set on something, which is admirable in any person. She spoke her mind often, took very little nonsense, and was a devoted matriarch of her family. At one point or another, every single family member would seek her advice, her assistance, or just her warmth as a person. She always reminded us that family is forever.
I must say that above all else, she instilled in me a sense of duty. A duty to getting things done, getting things done well, and a duty to family. She will leave this impact on me, and on many others as well. She was always one to be involved in things, talk to people, stay in touch, communicate with the community and her family. I can only hope the life I lead will mirror a fraction of the legacy she has created. I am lucky to have spent as much time with my Great Grandmother as I have. Her impact on my life will always remain with me, which I will share with my own son.
Many will miss her, but none so much as her children and their spouses; Jennifer (Gary), Penelope (Murray), Peter (Catherine) and Amanda (Gary); her grandchildren Miranda, Kathleen (Peter), Zachary (Alexandra), Bronwynne (Reggie) and Chelsea (Patrick); her great grandchildren, Matthew, Slade, Keira, Austin, Carter, Abigail and Emily; and, great-great grandson Clarke. Until her very end, she continued to provide us with sage advice and wisdom. Betty Kathleen Clarke was an amazing woman, and if you knew her, you are aware as much as I that your life is better for it. May she rest in peace, and may her legacy continue through her family and friends.
Betty was predeceased by her husband Ronald (1979), and sisters Rita and Gwen. A celebration of life will be held in Edmonton on December 3rd at St. Luke’s Anglican Church.

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