Obituary: Holder, Pearl

Pearl (Aikins) Holder
Her life from 1916 — Nov. 13, 2017
101 years and 11 days

The remarkable life of Pearl (Aikins) Holder began on Nov. 2, 1916 on the family farm NE24 T29 R2 W3, five miles east of Kenaston, Sask. She attended Aikins School and wrote her Grade 8 entrance exam at Zid School.

Pearl worked for families in Kenaston, Regina and Saskatoon, helping maintain family life for those who employed her. She would often say, “Many people talk about the Dirty Thirties and all the hard times, I would say, those were some of the best years of my life. You can’t miss what you never had.”

Pearl married her sweetheart, Bladworth farmer Harold Holder, on Oct. 4, 1939 in a double ceremony with her sister Alice and Bill Hartman at the United Church Manse in Davidson, Sask. The couples returned to the family farm for a simple wedding supper with family and the threshing crew as wedding guests.

Pearl and Harold farmed the Holder and Aikins land for many years, living on 24-29-2 W3 where they raised their four sons Bill, Tom, and twins Ron and Don.

It was a necessity of farm life to perform a variety of daily chores. A large garden and hard work provided produce to preserve for the winter and share with other families. It was not unusual to preserve 100 quarts of corn, 20-gallon crocks of pickles, a barrel of sauerkraut as well as many quarts of beef, chicken and wild meat.

Pearl would never consider herself a seamstress or tailor, but she was gifted at both. Her skill at mending and darning was like viewing fine art. She would downplay her skill saying, “I don’t do anything finer than darning socks and shovelling sh–!”

Pearl was active in the Evangelical Ladies Aid church group; she curled with her family, boarded school teachers and was a member of the Kenaston Seniors. Visiting and enjoying the company of friends was a highlight in her life. Coming to town on a Saturday, friends were ensured a good story and a hearty laugh.

When her grandchildren came along, they were the light of her life. She taught them to be resourceful, kind, generous and to walk on the sunny side of the street. Pearl taught her grandchildren to live by her example that included independence, positive attitude and most of all humour. She took great interest and pride in the accomplishments of all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She enjoyed watching all of them grow into kind, independent men and women. When the newest member of the family, two-and-a-half year old great-great-grandson Emmett would come and visit, Grandma loved to watch him explore.

After the death of her husband Harold she left her family home and moved to Wainwright, Alta., in 1973 where three of her sons were living. She became a caregiver and companion to Roy Oliphant. Over 44 years in Wainwright she bowled, loved to dance, played cards, went for coffee, walked miles and enjoyed the company of many, many friends.

She travelled with family and friends to China, England, Scotland, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, Arizona and numerous parts of Canada. From Bladworth to Beijing, Pearl enjoyed all her travels.

She frequently returned home to Kenaston to visit family and friends. She was especially pleased and proud to attend the celebration of 100 years of continuous family farm award in 2007. Even though Pearl lost her husband Harold (1970), companion Roy (1984), son Tom (1990), grandson Ambrose (2007) and eldest son Bill (2014), she was at peace knowing that death was a part of life.

She was pre-deceased by parents Andrew Aikins (1941) and Georgia Anna (Burgess) Aikins Moore (1962), siblings Albert (1993), Alice (2000) and husband Bill Hartman (2000), Margaret (1920), Gordon (1987) and wife Vera, sister- and brother-in-law Mabel (Holder) (1977) and Harold Ames (1985).

Pearl had a natural way with people. She loved the company of people. Her quick wit was a feature of her personality that could not be missed. She enjoyed telling stories of people and events from the past with precise detail.

Pearl leaves her family with all the best memories: son Ron and Diane, son Don, daughter-in-law Jeanette; grandchildren Rob and Cathy, Johanna and Jamie Branigan, Tim and Vickie, Jason and Amber, Jenny, Josh, and Liza Pearl; great-grandchildren Amanda, Brett and Kristin, Shayne Branigan, Holly Branigan, Logan and Taylor, Jorden (Sarah), Brandon (Destiny) and great-great-grandson Emmett Allan; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Pearl was admired and will undoubtedly be remembered by all who knew her.

By Pearl’s request there will be no service in Wainwright. A celebration of her life will be held in Kenaston in the summer. Memorial donations may be made to the Kenaston Seniors Inc., Box 361, Kenaston, Sask., S0G 2N0.

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