Catherine Joyce Orchard

Catherine was born March 27, 1928 in Miami Cottage Hospital Miami Manitoba.  She was the eldest of five daughters born to Gordon Wesley Madill and Fanny Elizabeth (Acaster) Madill of Altamont Manitoba.  She grew up in Altamont and attended school there until grade eleven.  Miss Mary Armitage was one of her favourite teachers.  After completing her grade eleven, she started teaching on permit, her first school being at Greenway MB.  Catherine then finished her grade 12 at United College in Winnipeg in 1947 and attended the Manitoba Normal School in Tuxedo Winnipeg  (formerly the School for the Deaf) joining the class of 1947-1948  with the honour of graduating from the school’s first year of full operation. The school was the first residential teacher training institution in Canada and Mom made many life-long friends during her training at Normal School.  She attended as many Class D teachers’ reunions as possible over the years.    In 1948-49 she taught at Sylvan School northeast of Altamont.  She and Eddie married on September 23, 1949 and they took over the Orchard family farm and raised their family.  Gordon was born in 1951 and Patricia in 1953.  Ed and Catherine celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary September 23, 2014.  After Dad passed away February 15, 2015, Mom stayed in her own home on the farm until she entered hospital January 14 until her passing on January 19.

In 1967, Mom returned to teaching as a part time relief for the principal in Miami Elementary. Here is the way Mom outlined her teaching positions in the 56th Manitoba Normal School Reunion 2004 yearbook:  “1967-68 –Principal relief in Miami.  1969-1980-Teaching Principal grade IV-VI Altamont.  1980-1991-grade V and resource in Miami Elementary.  1991-2001-retired but subbed.  Drove to Winnipeg for 9 years-received Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1977.” Mom and daughter Patricia shared teaching grade 5 in Miami Elementary in 2001 her last year of teaching.  In 2005, Mom was particularly proud to have her permit teaching experiences published in Dr. Louisa Loeb’s book called Manitoba Permit Teachers of World War II.

Catherine was artistic and painted t-shirts, wooden boxes, stones, ceramic tiles-on just about anything that struck her fancy.  She loved to knit and always had a sweater or ear-band on the go for her grandchildren. She and Edward also curled throughout the winter months in their younger years and liked to bonspiel with neighbours and good friends Ruby and Jim Simpson.  Catherine watched curling on TV and referred to all the Manitoba and Canadian players by their first names.  Catherine played ringette with the Miami Ring Dingers on the sisters-daughter line of Doreen Storey, June Stockford and Pat Steppler.  As well, Catherine and Eddie were Altamont Cub and Scout leaders for over ten years and were both proud members of the Altamont Legion. They attended both WW2 Liberation Anniversary celebrations in Holland.   Catherine and Eddie loved to travel especially to Portugal returning there several times.  They spent a portion of the winter months in Victoria BC every year. Catherine made delicious homemade fudge from Great Grandma Madill’s recipe and beat the fudge by hand until it was smooth and the best fudge ever-always a special treat at Christmas time.  Catherine was an independent, fiercely proud woman who was ever so proud of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Catherine entered hospital January 14, 2021 and passed away January 19 at Boundary Trails Hospital two months short of her 93rd birthday.   She leaves to mourn her passing son Gordon (Karen), daughter Patricia (Dan) Steppler as well as six grandsons:  David (Linda) Orchard, Evan Orchard, Ian (Sandy) Steppler, Geoff (Sarah) Steppler, Adam (Amber) Steppler, and Andre (Katie) Steppler.  She also leaves sixteen great grandchildren:  Lila, Fiona, Lincoln and Etta Orchard; Lori, Michael, April, Charlie, and Lea Steppler; Benjamin and Penny Steppler; Louise and Rosa Steppler; and Brynn, Brayden and Declan Steppler.  Catherine is survived by two sisters Ruth Haines and June Stockford as well as sister-in-law Nora (Orchard) McConnell.  Catherine was predeceased by parents Gordon and Fanny Madill, sisters Isabelle (in childhood), and Doreen Storey; infant great grandson Garrett Steppler; brothers-in-law Ron McConnell, Tom Storey, Geordie Haines, and Murray Stockford; brother and sisters-in-law Warder Orchard, Muriel Orchard and Marge Orchard;  Wilma and Duncan Stewart, Amy and Gordon Armstrong, Alma and Art Dixon, and Rose and Norval Brooks.

The family would like to express their appreciation to the ambulance staff, doctors and the nursing staff at Boundary Trails Hospital for their compassion and care during Mom’s short stay. 

A private family service will be held at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Altamont Community Hall Renovation project or to a charity of their choosing.


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