Obituary for Erna Laura McCafferty (Shantz) (Fischer)
Mrs. Erna Laura McCafferty (Shantz) nee Fischer passed away peacefully at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the age of 96 years. Erna was born August 9, 1921 to Emma and Henry Fischer on the Fischer farm, west of Didsbury. She was the second child, and only girl in a family of five children. She lived in the Didsbury area for most of her life. On November 20, 1945, Erna married Roy Shantz. They farmed directly across the road to the south of where she grew up on the farm that they bought from Roy’s parents. Roy had asked Erna to wait for him while he served with the Canadian Armed Forces in World War II. They then welcomed two sons, Donald and Allan into their home. They farmed until Roy’s illness with Multiple Sclerosis dictated that they move to town in 1960. Erna always thought of herself as a farm wife and farmer. She commented about rain, or lack thereof, about crops and about timing of haying and harvesting. Roy passed away in May of 1967, leaving Erna with two teenage boys to raise and great loneliness. She renewed a friendship with Lennard “Lenn” McCafferty, whom she had known prior to the War. This friendship eventually led to their marriage in May of 1976. They had ten happy years together until Lenn was taken from Erna by cancer in 1987. Erna continued on alone, but kept active with volunteer work and supporting her mother and other members of her family. She was an active member of the United Church Women (UCW) for fifty years. She was a great friend and could be counted on for support if you needed it. She was also an artist, completing ninety nine paintings, all of which are treasures. At the age of ninety, in 2012, with age and health making it difficult for her to live alone, Erna consented to moving to Redwoods, a Lodge setting in Red Deer. This put her closer to her sons and grandchildren. She made the move with grace and class, which she showed throughout her life. Erna managed at the Redwoods until May of 2016, when she appeared to be struggling and needed more care than the lodge could provide. Her initial move to Assigned Living meant that she would go to Rocky Mountain House for a few months, and then to Red Deer Points West Living in October of 2016. The extra care she received was what she needed and again, like a flower, she blossomed. Many staff and residents commented to her family how they liked and appreciated Erna. The last few months were difficult for Erna, she gradually lost her ability to speak and failing eyesight made her life a challenge, but she always recognized and welcomed visitors. Erna left this life as she lived, with quiet faith and the grace and class that she always possessed. She will be sadly missed by all, but she is now in the presence of Christ, who provided her with so much strength through difficult times. Erna will be lovingly remembered by her sons, Donald (Linda) Shantz of Red Deer and Allan (Edie) Shantz of Penhold, grandchildren, Angela (Ed) Varty of Red Deer, Lisa (Dave) Olesiuk of Blackfalds, Michael of Edson, Laura (Trent) Arts of Sylvan Lake, Brian (Courtney) Shantz of Red Deer, and Scott (Kristina) Shantz of Strathmore, eleven great grandchildren, brothers, Lloyd Fischer of Didsbury, Raymond Fischer of Didsbury, Clair (Kay) Fischer of Didsbury and Ron (Barb) Fischer of Camarillo, California; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who will mourn her passing. A Memorial Service in honour of Erna will be held at Knox United Church, 1406 - 19 Avenue, Didsbury, Alberta on Sunday, February 18, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. An interment will be held at the Didsbury Cemetery, Didsbury, Alberta. If desired, Memorial Donations in Erna's honor may be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada at www.mssociety.ca or to the Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta at www.alzheimer.ca or to the Knox United Church, 1406 - 19 Avenue, Didsbury, Alberta. Condolences may be sent or viewed at www.parklandfuneralhome.com. Arrangements in care of Parkland Funeral Home and Crematorium, 6287 – 67 A Street (Taylor Drive), Red Deer. 403.340.4040 or 1.800.481.7421.