Margaret Isabell Tjaden (nee Robertson)
March 6, 1934 - January 7, 2021
We look forward to a service and gathering in person with family and friends when it is safe to do so. As we wait to gather in person, we invite you to share memories and stories of Isabell’s life with us, c/o Karen Tjaden, Box 27, Homewood, MB R0G 0Y0.
In the meantime, may our celebration of Isabell’s life be ongoing as we give thanks for her life each day.
Remember her well in thought, word and deed.
With sadness we announce the death of Isabell Tjaden on January 7, 2021 at Carman Memorial Hospital, and we give thanks for the gift of her life and love. Isabell lived with congestive heart failure for the past 10 years, adapting herself to growing limitations with grace and dignity and continuing to enjoy her life, including all of the people and some of the activities she had always valued. Since December, she entered gently and peacefully into the final stages of this disease, cared for by Bill at home until being admitted to Carman Memorial Hospital on January 5, 2021, where she died peacefully on January 7, 2021.
Isabell was born Margaret Isabell Robertson, in Whitewood Saskatchewan on March 6, 1934, the only child of Cassie Isaacs and Allan (Allie) Robertson. Her mother died within several days of her birth. Isabell was raised with several families, including her maternal grandparents William and Margaret Isaacs in the McKay District north of Whitewood, and her Aunt Lexie and Uncle Fraser Robertson (Donald, Jane, Dorothy, Beth, Joan) also in the McKay district (on the farm where they homesteaded). In or around 1942 she moved to Minton Saskatchewan to live with her Aunt Iris (Walter) Miller (whom she always called Mum) and their children Louise (Vern Axten) and Gayle (Carole Miller). Later she went to Alexander MB to live with her father and Vera Butterfield and family (Jim, Fern, June, Mazie, Dale, Doug, Frank, Marlene). Her strong resilient spirit was forged in these early experiences, helping to make her the kind, compassionate, gentle person we were blessed to know and love.
She completed secondary school at Alexander and moved to Brandon where she attended teacher’s college at Brandon University. While in Brandon she boarded at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Myers, providing child care and light housekeeping . She taught in Flin Flon Manitoba and Elphinstone Manitoba before moving to Sperling in 1957 to teach. She enjoyed boarding with Mr. and Mrs. Brown (Art and Linnie) in Sperling and developed close friendships with her fellow teachers, especially Mac and Merle Taylor who remained lifelong friends of our family. Following a familiar prairie story line, teacher met farmer, and she found herself settling into life in Sperling, marrying Bill Tjaden on July 21, 1962. She was welcomed into the Tjaden family (Anna and John Tjaden, and their family: Helen (Gordon Stewart), Mona (Randy Bilton), Bob (Marguerite DeMason), Jim (Dorothy Hodgson), and Ken (Marlene Duvenaud). Bill and Isabell made their home on the Tjaden family farm where Bill had grown up, and Isabell lived there for the rest of her life. Living on the family farm with Anna and John Tjaden in the same yard made the farm a natural place for the growing Tjaden clan to gather. Bill and Isabell’s many nieces and nephews (Tjadens, Axtens, Millers, and Butterfields) share fond memories of time spent at the farm and family gatherings! The family farm included 2000 laying hens, so there were always chores to do, and sales of eggs to local people brought a welcome stream of visitors for a quick chat (or a long visit!) at the back door year in and year out.
Isabell and Bill had 3 children: Karen; an infant son who died at birth on September 3, 1964); and Susan. Karen and Sue grew up surrounded by love, learning valuable life lessons every day as Isabell and Bill shared the work of farming and raising a family while contributing to the Sperling community. We are so thankful for Isabell’s dedication to our family and her steadfast example, alongside Bill, of generous service, compassion for others and commitment to justice and fairness for all. We know we were very privileged to grow up in a loving stable home, with lots of love, plenty of healthy food, time to play outside, high expectations and a strong sense of our own purpose and place in the world.
Bill and Isabell’s family grew with the marriage of Karen to Rob McClement (1989) and Sue to Scott Day (1992) and then expanded again with the arrival of 4 grandchildren: Anna Tjaden-McClement (Ryan Koltalo), Alex Day (Ben Jones), Paul Tjaden-McClement (Erika Rempel) and Katie Tjaden-McClement. The McClement and Day families welcomed Isabell and Bill wholeheartedly into their families, creating many more strong connections and shared memories.
(Gwen and Denis McClement and their children: Susan (John Rendell), Sandy (Rob Sinclair), Rob (Karen Tjaden) and Leah (Jeff Chase)) and (Claire and David Day, Scott (Ann Philip), Cathey (Buzz Weidenhamer of Deloraine).
We needed all of this support when Sue was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1995, and following Sue’s death on December 21, 1999. Sue lived by the motto Carpe diem and together we learned to make the most of every day as we accompanied Sue, Scott and Alex through those years that were jam-packed with laughter, tears and so much love!
Isabell and Bill were very active in the lives of all 4 of their grandchildren, and they were especially involved in caring for Alex at Sperling and Deloraine. Anna, Alex, Paul and Katie feel so fortunate to have grown up guided by Isabell’s love and example and they will remember her as a gentle, kind, honest, generous, intelligent, quick-witted, hard working, progressive, grounded person and overall, a shining example of how to be in this world.
Isabell was a faithful member of Sperling and Carman United Churches and Sperling UCW. Isabell quietly and competently contributed to the life and wellbeing of the Sperling community and the wider world. Although she lived with heart disease for a number of years, she always had a good heart.
Thank you to all the young hockey and baseball players, coaches, parents, volunteers and staff at arenas and ball parks all over Manitoba (and beyond) who provided countless hours of fun and enjoyment. As an avid spectator of amateur sport and an active participant in life, Isabell taught us by example that while it is fun to watch the score board, the most important thing will always be how you play the game.
We invite you to join us in remembering Isabell’s life in a particular way on her birthday March 6 – read a book, work on a crossword puzzle, enjoy a hockey game, phone someone or write a letter, take a winter walk, play a game with someone you love, or anything else that reminds you of the importance of enjoying each day as a gift and being the best ordinary person you can be!
We look forward to a service and gathering in person when it is safe to do so. In the meantime, may our celebration of life be ongoing as we give thanks for each day. Remember her well in thought, word and deed.
Thank you to all the staff of Carman Community Health Centre and Carman Memorial Hospital and Dr. Andrew Morris for the excellent medical care and your kindness over the years.
Memorial donations may be made to a charity of one’s choice.