Ingrid Chalus (nee Moll), resident of Rycroft, AB, passed away peacefully at the Central Peace Health Complex, on Thursday, December 23, 2021, at the age of 90 years.
Ingrid was born in Sexsmith, AB, on April 9, 1931, the eldest of five children. Brought up on a homestead in Westmark, AB, she was plunged into homemaking and caring for others at the age of 13, when her mother became ill with the birth of her youngest child. This left Ingrid, not only with a lifelong dislike of scorched and lumpy sunnyboy porridge, but also with very close ties to her family. After training for a year at a hairdressing school in Seattle, she moved to Rycroft, AB, in 1949, where she met Wasyl “Bill” Chalus. They married in 1953, and Ingrid settled into the routine of being a farm wife, growing a huge garden, keeping chickens and pigs, milking cows and selling cream, as well as working on the farm. She was as the old-timers used to say with approval “a good worker”. Elaine was born in 1956, and Stephen in 1961. While the children were still small, Bill’s widowed mother Elena had a stroke. Ingrid incorporated Elena into the household as well as cared for her at the home for several years until she needed full-time nursing.
A “maker” long before the term became trendy in the creative industries; Ingrid was always engaged in turning ideas into glorious actions and objects. Whether it was in painting, ceramics, clothing, sewing, crocheting, pysanka, eggery, baking, cake decorating or gardening. Her life was spent making beautiful, delicious, or necessary things.
She was both a community maker and (something whose value is all too often under-rated) a genuine homemaker. She was, among other community activities, an active member of the local OORP (Royal Purple) for more than forty years, a founding member of the Spirit River Hospital Auxiliary, and a long-time member of the United Church Women, the Rycroft Library Board and, until she broke her hip in 2019, the Merry Pioneers. She was never one to make her involvement ostentatious, she took part in community service consistently since moving to Rycroft. She was exemplary of a generation of women who believe(d) in the importance of community. As a farm wife and mother, with far fewer labour-saving conveniences than we take for granted today, she always took time out of what was already a busy life to give back to the community and make the area a better place to live.
Always an eclectic reader herself, Ingrid ensured that Elaine and Steve gained a love of reading early and encouraged their education. The resources of the local libraries were supplemented by regular packages of books from the Extension Library in Edmonton, AB. For someone who never loved driving for its own sake, she spent a lot of time on the road over the years, driving the kids to swimming lessons and swim meets in the summers and to piano and figure skating in the winters. She also put her considerable skills as a seamstress to work, making many of her own and most of the children’s clothes. At the end of a long day, you would often find her downstairs at her sewing machine, turning out a fancy Halloween costume, a new winter coat, or the latest fashionable outfit for a teenager.
Her greatest love was family; she was always there for others. Not only was she unflappably able to deal with children’s nicks, bruises, and lumps, she was also always supportive, kind and caring. As her brother, Jurgen remarked, “she was the pillar of the family”. The family home in Rycroft was where the extended family gathered for holidays and special occasions, and where those needing care or consolation could turn in bad times. When Bill lost his sight and became increasingly frail, she did all she could to ensure that he could stay at home as long as possible. Ingrid was a hands-on grandmother and very proud of her grandchildren, Jessica and Matthew. She loved their company and seeing them grow up, taking part in all their activities.
Ingrid will be sadly missed by her daughter Elaine (Jon Ryan); son Steve (Janet); grandchildren: Jessica (Sam) and Matthew; brother Jurgen Moll; nephews: Miles Cameron, Marcus Moll and Ivan Moll; as well as nieces Roxanne Harvey and Heather (Mike) Wisla.
Ingrid was predeceased by her parents Richard and Else Moll; husband Bill; as well as sisters: Keely, Maria and Katie.
A Memorial Service will be held at a later date.
Memorial Donations may be made to Central Peace Health Complex Auxiliary Club (P.O. Box 866, Spirit River, AB, T0H 3G0), or to a charity of one’s choice.
Condolences may be sent by visiting www.oliversfuneralhome.com.