Emily Lorraine Rorquist entered her eternal place of peace on Tuesday, March 20, putting to rest a creative pair of hands that truly exemplified the beauty and happiness that can be found if one takes the time to truly appreciate the simple things that often get taken for granted.
For almost 90 years, Emily’s hands made a difference. Their soft and tender touch taught her children, grandchildren, and later her great-grandchildren, the value of family. What it truly means to be loved, without having to be told, how important it is to stick with one another through thick and thin. She truly believed that differences in character should be celebrated, not criticized; mistakes were stepping stones, not stumbling blocks, laughter better than tears. But most importantly, Emily used her hands to demonstrate that with a little creativity, anything was possible, even if others said it was not.
Emily’s self-taught talents were many. Her family remembers wrapping themselves in her beautiful hand-made quilts, swaddling their babies in the outfits and blankets she had knitted or sewn, and admiring the many crocheted items that made their house feel like a home. A true crafter before it was fashionable, there wasn’t much that Emily didn’t try. With an eye for detail, she became an excellent furniture refinisher and an expert tradesman around the house, doing all of her own painting and wallpapering. Outside she created massive flower gardens and planted trees. Almost overnight untilled ground would sprout into new flower beds as she needed more space to try out new plants or divide up the old ones that had flourished under her caring touch. Petunias were her favourite and by the end of the summer, they spilled out from every crevice of her huge farm yard, a perfect complement to the well-manicured lawn. Her lawn was so perfect it almost looked like she vacuumed it, which is not surprising considering that her day didn’t start until she had handpicked every dandelion.
Emily loved her family and always made time for her children and later her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would smile as she quietly listened to them ramble on about their lives, encouraging rather than criticizing. There was never any question of how proud she was of them.
While her family was her life, so also was the love of her life. Emily married John Rorquist on October 19, 1947, in a double wedding with John’s brother Edwin and his wife Myrtle Landin. The women were already best friends, so it only seemed natural that they would live in the same yard and raise their families together. With four children apiece there was no shortage of laughter and fun.
Emily may not have been used to farm life, but she adjusted marvellously and often said she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Like most of the ladies in their district, Emily and Myrtle were active in the Paswegin Tiger Lily Neighbourly Club. Always willing to do their part, they set a wonderful example of how important it is to support your friends and neighbours. It should come as no surprise that Emily was often the one called upon to bring specially decorated cakes for weddings, showers and anniversaries.
Although they never truly retired, John did take time to take Emily to see the flower gardens of the world, travelling to Bermuda, Cuba, New York, Sweden, and various points in the U.S. While she enjoyed every trip, Emily was always glad to see the lights of home. She was happiest when she was surrounded by family, and even though Alzheimer’s Disease eventually took away her recognition of them, their presence always pleased her.
Emily was predeceased by her parents, Herman and Emelia (Erickson) Swedberg; husband John; brothers, Bud and Wilfred (Charlotte); sister Marie (Bob); in-laws, Edwin (Myrtle), Myrtle (Stan), and Ivor (Bonnie, Gladys); daughter-in-law Deldene; and niece Karen.
Her life will be celebrated by her children, Terrance (Joanne), granddaughter Cindy (Mosenza), great-grandchildren, Mackenzie, Josephine and Jessica, grandson Clayton (Layne); Raymond (Lorraine), granddaughters, Michelle and Melissa (Dan), great-grandchildren, Cayden, Annika, Karina, grandson Michael (Tina), great-grandchild Raena; Darryl (Karen), granddaughter Chyvawn (Jared), great-grandchild Saoirse, grandson Nathan, step-grandson Brandon (Meaghan), step great-grandsons, Bryn, Jaxon and Layton, step-granddaughter Melissa (Chris); Shelley (Ivan), grandchildren, Matthew (James), Jeffrey (Cianna), great-grandchildren, Grayson, Grady and Rhett; sister-in-law Helga Swedberg; and many nieces and nephews.
The long good-bye is over. John and Emily are together again. A life well-lived.