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It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the passing of Stephanie Gemmel (Grace), beloved mother, grandmother, sister, auntie and friend.
Stephanie was born in Claremont, California in 1956. She and her twin brother, Steven, were the youngest of 14 children. She never imagined moving to a northern climate, until she met Bruce in 1977. They fell in love and married in California, before moving to Winnipeg, where they happily raised their two sons in St. Vital and Norwood Grove.
Stephanie was a devoted mother and active in her community. She took every opportunity to be outside, whether leading family camping trips, gardening, or running - she ran the Manitoba Marathon in 1993. Stephanie felt a deep connection to God through nature and, when she heard the call of a loon, would remark: "This is why I came to Canada!"
She pursued an undergraduate degree in women's studies and religion, followed by a Master of Social Work, while working part time and parenting full time. She loved being a student and felt at home on the University of Manitoba campus. Her career in social work, which included roles at the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba and the Health Sciences Centre as well as teaching at University of Manitoba and Booth College, exemplified her commitment to helping others and her belief in a better, more just world.
Stephanie took an interest in everyone she met; she had a great sense of humour and loved to laugh. During her long and difficult struggle with bipolar disorder, she showed courage and tenacity in her desire to continue to be an affectionate mother, grandmother, and friend, and to contribute to society through volunteer work.
Preceded in death by her parents, Donna and John Grace, she leaves her sons, Matthew (Josina) and Ryan (Caleigh), and her grandchildren, Ryan, Marlowe, and Abigail. She is lovingly remembered by the Gemmel family, her surviving brothers and sisters, her nieces and nephews, and her many friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Saint Margaret's Anglican Church on May 17, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. St. Margaret's requires that masks are worn throughout the service and reception. The service will be live streamed; a link will be available on St. Margaret's website.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites donations to Oak Table, a community food program at Augustine United Church where Stephanie volunteered until her passing.
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on May 14, 2022
Condolences & Memories (5 entries)
Dear Matthew, Ryan and Uncle Bruce, I am truly saddened and sorry to hear of your loss and mine too of my dear Aunt Stephanie. I hope the other aunts and uncles understand because I love them too, but she was my favorite aunt and maybe everyone would say in the family she was the favorite too being the baby of all of all of them so joyful, smiling and full of life and so tender to those around her. She being the baby of the family with her siblings, she was only 10 years older than me that I didn't realize until many years later because as a child she babysat me and my sisters. When I was 5 she would have been a teenager and was the fun, happy, cool aunt, beautiful and kind. She came over to our house it seems like a lot when she was a teen and or young adult when we lived in El Toro (Orange County) CA and spent many weekends with me and my 3 sisters that the family referred to as the Gill girls since we had no brothers. She and my mom, Susan, have the same smile and similar laugh known as the Grace laugh and she told me when I was adult how much she loved coming to our house and being there. It was always special to have her with us and she always made me feel special and loved. I think that is it that is so special about her- she ALWAYS made me feel so loved and special- and to those around her. She took the time to listen and be interested and even though she was so beautiful and popular, she could relate to anyone and cared so much about others. I was sad when she moved to Canada but happy she found your dad. So over the years I only saw her a few times when she visited California, but she was never a stranger to me and she still always made me feel special in her presence. I also share a relationship with Jesus that is a beautiful legacy of the Grace family despite some hardships and I look forward to seeing her again for eternity some day where there will be no more tears and sorrow as I am sorry you are experiencing this now as today I also am weeping with you. I am thankful she is in Heaven where there is no pain or sorrow. I send you my condolences and prayers for comfort during this time. In God's love and in His assured hope of resurrection, Your cousin and niece, Laura. - Posted by: Laura Gill Erickson (niece) on: May 17, 2022
Thank you for streaming Stephanie's service...I was one of her good friends at Montclair High School...We were in cheerleading together. I am thankful that she had such a wonderful life for so long and I can still remember her laugh after all these years. Many of us from h.s. are still friends and we always fondly bring her and her brother Steve's name up... I pray that the good memories over shadow all others and I can't wait till I see her again. God Bless - Posted by: Martha Sawyer (High School Friend) on: May 17, 2022
To the Gemmel Family, Sending my deepest condolences on the passing of your loved one. I was blessed to have Stephanie as one of my instructors when I was a student at Booth some years ago. Her caring spirit and her compassionate heart was very evident and I valued the kindness she expressed to her students. She was a great encourager and role model. I pray God's Comfort and Strength will embrace you the family during these days. Bertha Abbott - Posted by: Bertha Abbott (Student) on: May 16, 2022
I have so many good memories of Stephanie. All good. Her smile and laughter was contagious. We shared many in-depth theological talks especially on New Year’s Eve. She was definitely a California girl. I am so happy that she is dancing with our Lord and Saviour. No more pain and suffering. We will see you soon our sweet girl. - Posted by: Russ knight (Friend) on: May 16, 2022
To Bruce, Matthew, Ryan & family, I am so sorry to hear of Stephanie’s passing. I have fond memories of Stephanie’s smile & laugh as our paths crossed during the years our kids made their way through Windsor School. You could tell she was devoted to her boys. Thinking of you. Lori - Posted by: Lori Grapentine (Windsor School friend) on: May 14, 2022
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