Myrita Ekberg always planted too many tomatoes. A consummate farmer and lover of nature, Myrita began and ended her life in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan. We announce her passing on April 19th, 2020 with enormous grief, and yet with the comfort that her suffering is now over.
She was predeceased by her parents John and Ila and her brother Garry. She is survived by many who mourn her passing. These include her loving husband Bill Rees; her brother Ron (Roberta) and his children Keri and Paul; her eldest daughter Yvonne (Morris) and grandchildren Erik and Robyn; her son Quentin; her youngest daughter Carmen (Glenn) and grandchildren Emma and John; and her husband's children William, Jacqueline, Gerald and Molly.
Myrita was worthy of the Ekberg name, one of a line of strong women of boundless optimism and good humour. She was the first child of John and Ila Ekberg of the Freedhome district in the Stockholm area of Saskatchewan. They lived on the John Ekberg homestead until 1957 when the family moved to the Wolseley area. From an early age, she showed her great love of animals and the natural world. As a little girl, she loved frogs, which she kept in large washtubs on the family farm as her pets. Even in her early years, she understood that we must take care of the small things in nature as everything is connected.
Her adult journey brought her to Regina and then to British Columbia where she married and had her family. She lived in the Vancouver area and then in the Okanagan Valley, in Naramata where she had connections to Keremeos and to the Parsons family fruit orchard.
Before long, Myrita found herself back in Saskatchewan -- a prairie girl to the end! For many years she worked with Indian and Northern affairs in Regina. Ever active, she "retired" in the eighties to take up organic farming on family land, on the original Hilmar Ekberg homestead. This was a new chapter in her life with husband Bill Rees. Here she was truly at home again, in the wide-open spaces that Saskatchewan has in such abundance. She loved her garden and feeding the birds -- even the little sparrows --, lessons learned from her mother Ila.
At a time when organic farming and concern for the environment is such a commonplace, we can forget how forward-thinking Myrita was. In the eighties, neither was a popular preoccupation. But for Myrita, her passions were a way of life. Back in the eighties, she tackled waste in the government office by organizing office-wide recycling. And it goes without saying that she poured her heart and skill into excellence in organic farming and gardening, and sharing her regular bumper crop of tomatoes!
It would be a mistake to assume that Myrita's path was an easy one, but as a true Ekberg woman, she never complained and remained remarkably optimistic even in her later years, despite all her health issues. Close to her death, she was talking about getting a prosthesis for her amputated leg, as she had not been able to walk for the better part of a year.
Perhaps Myrita's optimism was fuelled by her extensive relationships. She loved and was loved by many. She was friendly to all. Quick to offer praise and encouragement, she was fiercely proud of her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
We, her family, offer special thanks to Dr. Nel, the staff at Esterhazy Centennial Nursing Home and Saint Anthony's Hospital in Esterhazy for their compassionate care in Myrita's final months. She was an Ekberg woman to the very end!
She has left us bereft, but consoled by her good humour and so many wonderful memories. Rest in peace, Myrita. Our love for you and our family will sustain us. Our hearts are heavy. Let us all help each other in the days ahead.
Spruce Home Cemetery Fund
Box 364, Stockholm SK S0A 3Y0