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                                                                       August 16, 2005

To know her was to love her!

It has now been 4 years since our Stella died and it doesn’t seem possible. But yes, on July 11, 2001, our Lord called her home. Father Bob Bourgon, one of her 21 godchildren, concelebrated her funeral mass with St. Pius X  pastor Father Jack Goldie, and she was buried at St. Stanislaus Cemetery on July 14.

The name “Stella” means star and her parents unknowingly gave their only daughter the perfect name – star! She wouldn’t like my writing that about her because she was a humble person in the way she regarded herself.

Stella was born in Creighton Mine and very proud of that fact. Anyone fortunate enough to also have been born there or resided there for a pewriod of time, was automatically a dear friend. She lived in Creighton and in its suburb, Lively, all her life.

However there were no boundaries to Stella’s friendship and caring. Whether at work at Tom davies square, in her numerous volunteer activities, both organized and many initiated by her, her warmth, enthusiasm and dedication were an inspiration to all around her wherever that might be! Stella’s hugs were legendary and were  happily, even gratefully, received by one and all. Her wonderful smile was infectious and always brightened my day. As Gerry Lougheed said at her prayer service in his wonderful tribute to her, “Did you ever notice that whatever you were doing or wherever you were you always had time to stop for one of Stella’s smiles and hugs?” He was right of course!

Stella sensed when someone needed the comfort which only human contact can provide. She didn’t hesitate to do just that-and it was always welcomed. Her warm enveloping, genuine hugs, accompanied by her ever-ready listening ear, calmed those who needed it. Her smile at a joyous occasion or when you shared good news with her made the event that much happier. Similarly, Stella could become very angry at an injustice suffered by an undeserving person.

When someone required practical help there was no need to call Stella because somehow or other she found out and she was there. Sometimes that might be a pot of soup, a ride to an appointment or to get groceries, a hospital visit, visiting someone who was lonely and just needed to talk to someone in their own home, Stella found the time.

Stella’s profound Christian faith permeated all her actions and was the basis of her life which enabled her to face her own minor and major burdens. The loss of her beloved Lando (1975), and her precious daughter Melanie (1987), were understandably most difficult for her and she often spoke of them with longing for what might have been but with her faith in God undiminished.

Lest I’ve made it seem that Stella had no interests of her own let me hasten to correct that impression! Stella loved a good joke and would throw her head back and laugh heartily. She was a passionate bridge player and with the help of her dear friend Madeline Mayer, played as long as she could even while she was already very ill with the cancer that destroyed her life.

We learned from Stella Vagnini that one person can indeed make a difference in a community. What an example she set for the rest of us!

Her death is a great loss to all of us who were fortunate enough to have known her but of course most difficult of all for her family. Her children Debi and Anthony (Tony), and her cherished grandchildren ,Christi-Lee, Dane and Cody will miss her forever.

Stella (Koralyk) Vagnini has left an indelible mark on this community and will be long remembered. It has been 4 years now since we lost her and many miss her still. I certainly do. She is in my thoughts very often Sleep well, dear Stella!

May the Lord of all creation enfold her lovingly in His warm embrace.

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