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GEORGIA FELICE CORDES (CHURCH)
Date of Passing: Mar 07, 2023Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory
GEORGIA FELICE CORDES
On March 7, 2023 Georgia Felice Cordes (nee Church), beloved mom, grandma ("namma"), sister and friend, passed away at peace at the age of 78 following a recent diagnosis of advanced-stage cancer.
Georgia is survived by her children Erika and Trevor (Carrie) Cordes; her grandchildren April, Gabriela, Merlin and Verity; her brothers Gary (Judy) and Paul (Jerry Ann) Church; and her nieces, nephews, and cousins with whom she shared a close bond. She also leaves behind a wealth of friendships that sustained her soul and life beyond measure. She is predeceased by her husband of 56 years, Brock, who passed away just 6 months before her; her cherished parents Lawrence "Larry" Fred Church and Marguerite "Marge" Felice Louise Church (nee Gillott); her sisters Mary Felde and Vienna Wessel; and her biological father, George Frederick Kennedy.
Born in Alaska, Georgia grew up surrounded by the love, warmth and security of her family. The second of five children, she often reminisced about her childhood years living in the basement of an unfinished log house her parents built in Anchorage, surrounded by her mom's prolific garden, an enchanting homemade playground, and a forest and creek where moose often visited. Although her family had limited means, they instilled in Georgia an abundance of hope, happiness and resourcefulness, and they supported one another through joyful and difficult times. Georgia helped care for her younger siblings, which she later reflected was the beginning of a life-long passion for child development that would shape her education, professional interests and family life. She and her younger sister Mary grew up as the inseparable duo "Punky" (Georgia) and "Petey" (Mary), and in later years the tragic, untimely passing of Mary in a car accident would endure as one of the deepest losses of her life.
Everyone who knows Georgia will know of her love for organization, structure and rules. It will therefore, come as no surprise that she was a model student who loved attending school. She graduated from West Anchorage High School's class of 1963, and her teen years were a happy time shared with treasured friends. She earned a scholarship and went on to attend two years of engineering studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she also served as president of the inaugural chapter of the SPURS national honour society. It was at a university "co-ed" event that she met her future husband Brock. In later years, they both loved to tell many funny stories of their courtship and how they were married in a small log church on the evening of her 21st birthday when the temperature dipped to -42F. As a newly married couple, they left Alaska to further their studies at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Recognizing her growing passion for social issues, Georgia changed her studies to sociology and went on to graduate with a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in 1968. Soon after, with Brock accepting a teaching position at the University of Manitoba, they immigrated to Winnipeg. They would go on to become Canadian citizens, and Winnipeg would be the place they happily called home for the rest of their lives. Georgia became the first in her family to complete post-graduate studies when she earned her Master of Social Work degree from University of Manitoba in 1970. She went on to serve as Youth Program Director for YWCA Winnipeg for two years before her own children arrived and her professional focus shifted to the volunteer sphere. For the next two decades she served as an advocate and social activist for issues close to her heart including pension equality for women, Manitoba family law reform, and anti-apartheid efforts. From 1973 into the mid-1980s, she served on the YWCA Winnipeg Board of Directors (1974-75) as well as the Public Affairs and Finance committees. She also contributed to progressive social change via her roles on the Manitoba Coalition on Family Law and Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women. In addition, Georgia was part of a rich community of faith at First Presbyterian and St. James Presbyterian churches, where she volunteered in many capacities and made many lifelong friendships.
Yet it was Georgia's own family that was truly the centre of her life. She offered them her ever present love, nurturing and encouragement to fulfil their dreams. She was a consistent, stable and warm presence for her children, standing by them through life's ups and downs and upholding treasured family traditions. As a grandmother, she discovered and reveled in a wonderful new dimension of life. She often spoke of how each grandchild was such a unique blessing and gift to her. Some of Georgia's favourite moments were playing rousing card games of Kings in the Corner with April; practicing funny Danish word pronunciation with Gabi; sitting on a bus bench with Merlin as he identified all the cars driving by; and dazzling Verity with her 1950s metal dollhouse and its tiny accoutrements. Of special note is how Georgia was like a third parent to Merlin, whom she helped raise in his toddler years with endless neighbourhood walks, yard play, and outings. Mom and Grandma, we miss you every day.
Our family's deepest thanks go to CancerCare Manitoba; to Dr. Butterworth and team at Riverview Palliative Ward; to Rev. Brenda Fraser; and to Grace Hospice (Dr. Hartley, nurses Nichole and Erin, and the whole wonderful team) who enabled her to find the peace she had hoped for in her final days.
A memorial service to celebrate Georgia's life will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at 2:00 p.m., at Chapel Lawn Funeral Home, 4000 Portage Avenue.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Georgia's memory may be made to the Grace Hospice (204-837-0375).
For those who wish to sign the online Guest Book please visit www.chapellawn.ca
Chapel Lawn Funeral Home
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 25, 2023
Condolences & Memories (1 entries)
I'm an assistant professor at the Asper School of Business. I knew Georgia through her husband, Brock. While I have met Georgia only a few times, I know that she is a strong, positive, and selfless person. Both Georgia and Brock are excellent members of the Asper community. I hope they will reunite at a beautiful place full of joy and love. - Posted by: Jieying Chen (Friend from Asper) on: Mar 27, 2023
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