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Born: Oct 31, 1927

Date of Passing: May 11, 2019

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Peacefully at Fred Douglas Lodge, Eleanor Merkl (Fortney) passed away on May 11, 2019, at the age of 91 years.
Eleanor was born October 31, 1927, in Teulon, Manitoba, and called Woodroyd, Manitoba, home until she moved to Winnipeg at age 16 when her father Louis Fortney went to serve his country in the Second World War.
Eleanor was predeceased by her beloved husband Frank; two brothers; one sister in infancy; her mother Martha (Metcalf); father Louis; grandson Tommy; and daughter-in-law Kim. She is survived by daughter Allison Cass (Barry, Ryan); sons Tony (Erin, Connor), Tim (Debbie, Kristy, Christopher) and Roger (James, Ashley, Selina).
Mom will be sadly missed by her many cousins, especially our dear "Auntie" Bea Metcalf in Courtenay, BC.
Eleanor's family experienced substantial loss. Following the deaths of her infant siblings, Eleanor's mother succumbed to scarlet fever six months after Eleanor's birth. Eleanor was raised by her dad and her beloved grandmother, Mary, in Woodroyd, Manitoba. While her dad was overseas during the Second World War, Eleanor moved to Winnipeg to attend high school. Following school she starting working at McLeods Department Store in Winnipeg.
It was here that she met the love of her life, Frank Merkl. January 31, 1947, they married and moved to Toronto, then back to Winnipeg with their first son, Tony. In 1953 they purchased their home in Grosse Isle. Soon after, Roger was born. Four years following came the arrival of twins Allison and Tim. After the sudden passing of our dad in 1968, family life changed dramatically. Mom was a homemaker that was now faced with having to support her family.
Mom had to learn how to drive and, following that, started a new career working in the doctor's office at Stonewall Hospital. At age 43, mom decided to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. In 1976 she graduated with her LPN and began her career in nursing at the Stonewall Hospital where she would work until her retirement at age 65. Through all of this, mom remained busy raising her four children. She ensured we made it to our hockey practises, football, baseball, music lessons and other activities. Mom was an often sought after family historian. Those who knew Eleanor knew her passion for music and dancing, particularly the jig, two step, polka and schottische.
In retirement, Eleanor was most happy sitting under her maple tree in the back yard and tending to her flower gardens while surrounded by her feathered friends. She grew fabulous fruits and vegetables. Nothing made her happier than the first strawberries of the year.
Mom was a devout Catholic and eager volunteer at the Grosse Isle Recreation Center, particularly enjoying volunteering when the Prairie Dog Central came to town. Mom loved working with her neighbours to showcase the pride in her community. Mom loved to bake. Her overnight buns, homemade bread, raisin cookies and rhubarb crisp were the most requested at family dinners.
Mom loved visits from family and enjoyed outings to Assiniboine Downs to watch the thoroughbred races and wager a dollar or two. In 2007, mom suffered sudden severe vision loss and became legally blind. Her greatest wish was to continue to live in her own home. It was devastating for mom to lose her independence, especially no longer being able to drive her gold Ford pickup truck. With the support of family and her most special neighbours, mom was able to continue living at home for another five years before the effects of dementia necessitated a move to Fred Douglas Lodge, where she lived until her passing.
The family would like to thank the community of Grosse Isle for always watching out for mom and unfailingly coming to mom's assistance when she needed it. For that, we can never thank you enough. A special mention has to be given to 'the chief' Jim Harris for being the kindest friend to mom. Also, many thanks to the Stonewall Handivan drivers, especially Joanna who went above and beyond the call of duty for mom. You were her lifeline for helping to maintain her independence.
The family would also like to thank special friend Lisa Derbyshire for being her loyal Blue Bomber football companion and for always being a support to mom and our family through many tough times. Mom wanted to thank Mira from Forget Me Not Day Spa who she thought the world of. You always made Mom feel so special, as well as Lori Goodmanson from Assiniboine Dental Clinic who always treated mom with such dignity and kindness and shared her passion for the Blue Bombers. Her most prized gift was the signed pictured of Milt Stegall that you gave her and she never forgot that.
Our thanks also go to the Fred Douglas Lodge Elm/Maple staff for mom's compassionate care over the years. We cannot go without special mention to mom's personal companions Julie Rutherford and Tatianna Morcilla. You both looked after mom like your own family and you became part of our family. You were angels to mom and no words can express our gratitude for all the love and attention you gave to her. Tatianna, we cannot thank you enough for often giving up your own family time to ensure your buddy 'Ellie' wouldn't be alone. Hearing your voice always brought a smile to mom's face and usually a cheeky comment too. We have so much gratitude and love for you.
Cremation has taken place and, in accordance with mom's wishes, a private family service and interment will take place at a later date.
Flowers graciously declined. Instead please consider a donation in Eleanor's memory to the Fred Douglas Lodge Recreation Program, the Adult Day Program in Stonewall or the Grosse Isle Recreation Centre.

Forever in our hearts. Until we meet again.
Love you Mom and Nanny.

"But we remember now in love, your life from to start to end, and we're just glad we knew you, as a mother and as friend."

- anonymous

Cremation & Funeral Planning
204-295-5408 –

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on May 25, 2019

Condolences & Memories (5 entries)

  • To Tony and Family we extend our most sincere sympathy. Love, Rod & Marg - Posted by: Rod & Marg MacCharles (Friends) on: May 30, 2019

  • I’m so touched to see my name mentioned. It was a huge pleasure to be her driver. At first it was to attend yoga in Stonewall followed by errands. Then as time past she needed to attend medical appointments in Winnipeg with light lunches to follow, which she would tell me where definitely required. Eventually we would sneak off to mmmm those spa days all medical reasons I assure you. Once she moved into the care home I would drop in to chat, but her memory was failing by then, but she knew I was someone from her past. Every Halloween I would think of her having a birthday on that day. She once told me she preferred blueberries above all the edibles and taught me it’s something you should always have to eat each day. I just checked my freezer and it’s time to stock up again. Thank you for allowing me to meet her gentle soul on earth. May she watch over us and keep us safe with her regained vision. Rest In Peace dear friend. - Posted by: Joanna Hemsley (Driver and escort ) on: May 27, 2019

  • We are very sorry to hear of the loss of your Mother. I know she is in a much better place without pain or suffering. When reading her obituary I could totally picture her driving her gold ford truck around town in Grosse Isle. I always enjoyed visiting her in her cute little house and looking at her amazing flowers and gardens that she would grow. Deepest condolences to you all during this sad time. Lots of love Gerry Mandy and The Boys - Posted by: Gerry and Mandy Costello (family) on: May 27, 2019

  • Our deepest condolences to you. I have a memory of jogging by your house in Grosse Isle and smelling your mom’s baking. She was a sweet lady. RIP Eleanor. - Posted by: Jeffrey klyne Lori klyne (Brothers-in-law ) on: May 26, 2019

  • Our thoughts are with you all at this time. - Posted by: Dan and Carol Nichol (Friends from Grosse Isle Manitoba) on: May 25, 2019

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