June GENSCHOREK (nee Handford)

June GENSCHOREK (nee Handford)

GENSCHOREK, June (nee Handford)

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our dearest Nana, June Genschorek (nee Handford), on August 2nd, 2009. At the age of 79, June died unexpectedly at Kelowna General Hospital with her family by her side. She will be deeply missed by her husband of 52 years, Herman Genschorek, and their 6 children: Elizabeth and husband Clint, Sylvia and husband Mike, Roberta and partner Doug, Charlotte, Roland and partner Soledad, and Pamela and fiancé Ian. June was a devoted grandmother of 8: James, Daniel, Emily, Jenny, Robyn, Keith, Teresa, and Hannah. She is survived by her loving sister, Elizabeth, who lives in England with her own husband and family. Born in London, England, June was the second of three children raised by Leonard Francis Handford (Dental Surgeon) and his wife, Ruby Olive Mildred. As a youth in Twickenham, June endured the hardships posed by World War II, moving on to become a highly successful Registered Nurse/Midwife. After completing an intense training period at Middlesex Hospital, she worked in Cardiff (Wales) and other areas, many impoverished. She bicycled about town, day and night, to assist with countless home-births, which she oversaw as the primary health-care provider.

At the age of 25, June made a life-changing decision and emigrated to Canada. Because midwifery was not recognized at the time, she worked as a General Duty Nurse in Toronto. Not long after, she traveled across the country, securing employment as a Pediatric Nurse in Vancouver, B.C.. By joining a Youth Hostel, June embraced outdoor recreational opportunities offered by the scenic West coast. It was during an Alpine Club hiking excursion to Mount Seymour where “Dudy” first met “Hermie,” the trip’s leader. Within six short weeks, they were engaged, eventually marrying in September of 1957 in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. After a brief stint in Edmonton, the couple returned to Whitehorse where they settled for 11 years. Life was not easy; they endured harsh winter weather, a tight budget, and restricted living quarters (in a tiny trailer). But, self-reliant and hardworking, this pioneering team conquered the elements, built their own log-cabin, and lived an adventurous life in the great outdoors. When they started a family, June left her job at Whitehorse General Hospital to raise her children full-time. Along the way, the growing family moved from town to town within B.C., eventually returning to Vancouver, where June resumed her nursing career at Sunny Hill Hospital (an extended care facility for children) where she worked until May of 1991. A dedicated professional, June’s compassion, expertise, and “capable hands” were admired by patients and colleagues in England and Canada, alike.

In October of 1991, June and Herman relocated to Westbank, B.C., but retirement did not slow her down. June’s passion for lifelong hobbies continued. A talented artisan, she was an accomplished seamstress and enjoyed knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. Fond of vintage items, June developed an interest in porcelain doll-making, which spanned several years resulting in a vast collection of exquisitely crafted items. She later took-up ceramic arts, another successful hobby. A huge fan of music since her tender years, she loved instruments, especially the piano and organ. Classical music was her favourite; she loved going to the symphony and attending musicals. Along with her penchant for proper etiquette, June was intelligent, well read, and a master of the English language; proper usage was of great importance to her and duly passed-on to her six children. A physically active individual, June engaged in outdoor pursuits, including hiking, camping, skiing, and, of course, gardening, which was one of her greatest loves. Tending to her beautifully cultivated flower-beds was a source of sheer joy. She and Herman grew various fruits and vegetables; much time was devoted to making delicious jams, jellies, pie-fillings, and wine. Together, the pair spent endless hours in their garden paradise, which brought June great satisfaction.

Throughout her life, June displayed exceptional emotional and physical strength, remaining stoic to the end. Her concern for others, polite manners, and witty sense of humour never faltered, even during her final hours. June will be deeply missed but remembered forever as a devoted and loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, care-giver, and friend to so many. An intimate family celebration of June’s life has already occurred, but, donations to charities reflecting her passions would honour our memory of this truly wonderful woman.

Mum, we are devastated by your loss and will love you forever!


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