Elsie Steinke (nee Grabowski) 

Elsie passed away peacefully on May 9th in her sleep, at home, after a full day of gardening. Elsie was predeceased by her husband Willie in 1957 and dear friend Herb Poersch in 1989. She was also predeceased by her four sisters: Myrtle Pitura, Lillian Fraese, Esther Volrath, Ella Picken and her grandson-in-law Jamie Bunkowsky-Drennan. She is survived by her daughter Cynthia Bisson (Claude), Heather Bunkowsky (Robert); grandchildren Angela (Russ), Lisa (Tom), Heidi ( Kal), Lorelei (Cameron), Shannon (Michael), William (Caitlin), Tiffany and Kurt; great-grandchildren Adam, Graham, Brent, Steve, Brandon, Tristan and Rhiannon. She is also survived by her sister Ruth (Harold) Marsch. 

Ma was born in 1918 into the dynamic family of Julius and Augusta Grabowski and was the fourth of six daughters. She graduated high school with honours and throughout her life she valued education for herself and others. She lived her whole life in the Brunkild area but knew that the world was a much bigger place. 

After an eight year courtship, she married her love, Willie, in 1941. After working together in Quebec they returned to the farm and started their family. Following the sudden death of her beloved Willie in 1957, Ma chose to run the farm with her teenage daughters. Her long and dedicated career as an independent farmer earned her much recognition, including a nomination for the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 1992. She farmed with Cynthia until her retirement in 1980. 

Ma was a zealous and outspoken participant in the Ladies Aid, the Brunkild Hall Board, the Progressive Conservative Party, and the Manitoba Pool Association (of which she was the first female director). Her interest in all things cultural, political and agricultural continued to engage her until her very last day. In her later life, she was honoured by an appointment to the Manitoba Farm Mediation Board and served for several years in a downtown boardroom with pride and effect. 

While valuing frugality in her agricultural pursuits, Ma always had resources for quality fashion, fine food, cultural events, opera, family celebrations and benevolence. Her generosity was legendary. For many years much of her leisure time was spent with her dear friend Herb Poersch. They enjoyed each other’s companionship, whether on a world tour or a Sunday drive. 

Due to her strong belief in the value of family, we enjoyed many picnics, baseball tournaments, Grey Cup parties, and her famous bonfires which she often hosted with her right hand man, Kurt. Cooking and gardening were her passions that she shared and passed down to her family. 

Despite many hardships, she lived her life with integrity, Christian faith, and was such a role model for community service, family unity and resourcefulness. 

On behalf of Ma, we thank everyone who enriched her life. 

Ma, we all love you and will cherish your memory. The legacy of a life well lived will live on. 

The funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 12th at 2:00pm at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Brunkild, Manitoba. Interment will follow at the St. Paul's Cemetery.

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Doyles Funeral Home
Hwy. 3&13 10-4th Avenue SE, Carman, MB
Phone:  204.745.2045 | Fax: 204.745.2499