It is with heavy hearts that the family announces the passing of Stephanie Anne Karaz at Third Crossing Manor, Gladstone on December 8, 2020 at the age of 96 years.
Stephanie was the first-born child of Gaspar and Ilona Sladek in Baglasaya, Hungary. The family immigrated to Canada in 1926 when Steph was 2 years old and settled in the Pine Creek District. As no one in the family spoke English, Steph was sent to the Norfolk School in Pine Creek at an early age to master the language. In 1942 the family moved to Gladstone where she completed her high school. She then moved to Winnipeg to complete a business course, followed by work in the legal and banking fields, as well as in the family apiary.
Steph married Anthony George Karaz on August 30, 1947 and they resided on a farm at Tenby where they raised a family of two – Terry and Valerie. They moved to Gladstone in the fall of 1954 where they built their present home; in which Steph took such pride and which gave her so much joy. She remained in her beloved home independently until she was 95 years of age. In 1958 Steph and Tony became involved in the family bee business, with her being an integral part from uncapping the honey frames to managing the financials.
Steph was very civic-minded, demonstrating leadership qualities in all aspects of her community service as well as in all of the public offices she held. She was a pioneer, a leader and a role model for females engaging in more non-traditional roles. She became the first female councilor of the town of Gladstone in 1960, served as the first female mayor of Gladstone, represented Gladstone on the Board of the Neepawa Health Unit, formed the first Parks Board for Gladstone, was a founding member of the Gladco Committee to initiate town planning and was a trustee of Pine Creek School Division during its amalgamation. She was the catalyst for improving and beautifying Williams Park in Gladstone and took great pride in the results. She chaired the Gladstone Centennial Committee that was in charge of landscaping Williams Park for the celebrations. She also served in various capacities on additional committees and Boards such as the Gladstone Little Theatre, Gladstone Music & Arts Festival, Gladstone History Book Committee, IODE, The Order of the Royal Purple and Crescent Lodge Seniors Residence Board.
In 2006, Steph was awarded the Gladstone Citizen of the Year in recognition of her tremendous contributions to the community. She believed that her community gave to her and therefore her volunteer services were a thank you to her community. Her endless years of dedication and commitment have improved the quality of life for past and present citizens of Gladstone and surrounding communities. She has contributed her time and talents to both young and old, with the last number of years spent working with the elderly.
Steph’s life was very rich and rewarding; living each day to the fullest. Her interests were varied and included gardening, travel, cooking, baking, canning, knitting, needlepoint, and crocheting, to name a few. Those who were lucky enough to be a recipient of her prize pickles, mocha torte cakes, cabbage rolls, stuffed peppers, and delicious pies will always remember there tasty delicacies. Her turkey dinners were exceptional, and she always found time to cook a goose for the grandchildren because they enjoyed these meals so much. Her baking earned her countless prizes at the local fairs as well as many compliments and accolades.
Steph walked in faith and reflected the light of God in her thoughtful and caring ways. She spoke to the Lord in prayer every day of her life; which was very important to her. She was actively involved in the church, from being Hospitality Minister at mass to participating in the many Altar Society activities to support the church, as well as other charitable causes. She provided countless baked items for bake sales and always made sure that the priests were well-fed. She also identified people in the community who lived alone and provided baking and meals to lift their spirits. She conducted spiritual services for residents at Third Crossing Manor, as well as a cooking and baking program for over 20 years. She was actually older than many of the residents of the care home whom she was inspiring.
She had knit hundreds of toques, mitts and scarves for school children and for the Salvation Army. Her grandchildren fondly recall teasing her about the Woolie Wizards knitting group she belonged to, but they sure treasured the beautiful sweaters she made for them. These were a work of art. It was her kind and caring nature that reached out to others in need, and her reward was seeing the pleasure she brought to others.
Steph valued family, cherishing time spent with the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. “Granny” was happy to provide advice to them on any issue. She also enjoyed having her siblings and many other relatives spend the holidays at her home. She continued weekly contact with her siblings and kept in touch with her many life-long friends. She continues to live on in the hearts of those she touched.
Predeceased by her parents Gaspar & Ilona; husband Tony; brothers George and Gazel; sisters Mary and Jennifer; in laws Joseph & Elizabeth; sisters in law Margaret and Elizabeth; brothers in law Jack, Andy, Julius, Les, Joe, and Raymond; nephew Sherman. Steph will be lovingly missed by her son Terry (Barb); daughter Val (George); grandchildren Tiffany (Donald), Courtney, Garett (Adriana) and Tara; great grandchildren Brooke, Ellie and Liam; sisters Julie and Elizabeth; sisters in law Maudie, Helen and Arlene; brother in law Steven and many nieces and nephews.
We thank God for the many years of sharing Steph with us. Her deeply entrenched values that she passed on to us are a part of her amazing legacy.
The family of Steph would like to extend their appreciation for the care and support given to her by the special people at the Gladstone Hospital, the Neepawa Hospital, The Home Care Support Program, and Third Crossing Manor. We would also like to thank Rebecca Krause, nurse practitioner, and Dr. Ong for his medical care throughout the years. We especially thank Father Mark Filips for his spiritual support and guidance. Also thank you to her friends who were always there for her. Each and every one of you were very special to her!
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Stephanie Anne (Sladek) Karaz, please visit our floral store.
St. Dominic's Catholic Church
Box 926, Neepawa, Manitoba R0J 1H0,
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