It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Mary Hulberg, a beloved Mom and Gramma to her daughter and two granddaughters, and a dear friend to many. Mary passed away in hospital at Salmon Arm on March 10, 2022 in the early morning hours. The cause was heart failure. She was 92.
Mary was born in Hanna, Alberta, to Irene Harrison and Robert Wallace Harrison on August 4, 1929, the third of four children. The family moved around a bit, finally settling in Rocky Mountain House, where she eventually became a teller at the Alberta Treasury Branch. It was also in Rocky that she met her future husband, Clifford Hulberg.
Mary lost her mother (her last surviving parent) when she was only 22 years old, leaving her and her older sister, Elsie, to look after their 16 year old brother, Jim, all on their own. It was not an easy time in their lives, but it made the three of them very close.
Mary and Cliff were married in Rocky Mountain House on February 5, 1954.They had their one and only child, Bobbi, on May 10, 1956. Work was sporadic in Rocky, and money was tight, so Cliff applied for (and was hired) as a grader operator for the Alberta Forest Service in Slave Lake, Alberta in 1966 (despite not actually knowing how to operate a grader, so we’ve been told). The family followed a few months later, in 1967. Though Mary first saw Slave Lake at its worst during a visit in ‘66 (constant rain and mud wherever you turned), she vowed to dwell only on the good things and was soon making friends and fitting in well with the community. She got a job as a clerk with Alberta Government Telephones, spending her time on office duties and telling the boys where to go (job assignments).
Shortly after the big move, Mary and Cliff bought their very first house in the hamlet of Widewater, just a short drive from Slave Lake. Mary was ecstatic about her new home and it was there that she developed her great love of Hummingbirds. In October of 1968, Mary unfortunately lost her beloved sister Elsie to cancer. This hit her particularly hard, but she picked herself up and carried on. Garden therapy helped and she enjoyed tending to her flowers, trees and vegetables. Her yard always looked great.
She and Cliff belonged to the Royal Canadian Legion and spent a lot of time socializing and helping out with Legion activities, and later in life Mary became heavily involved in the Ladies Hospital Auxiliary and the Senior Center.
Mary retired from AGT in the summer of 1987, shortly before her first grandchild, Samantha, was born on December 10, 1987. This gave her lots of time to bond with the new family member, and the two of them formed a very close bond. Bobbi moved back to Widewater in 1993 and lived in the house right next door to her parents. They enjoyed the closeness and wore a path through the trees between them. Bobbi met and married her husband in 1997 and produced a second grandchild, Ellysa, on September 29, 1999. Mary had a very special relationship with both of her granddaughters, which carried on right up until her death. Cliff sadly passed away on February 17, 2002 after a lengthy illness, but Mary found comfort in all the wonderful memories they shared together, including those of their winter trips to Mesa, Arizona.
Bobbi and her family moved to Salmon Arm, BC in August of 2014, and Mary followed in September of 2016. Mary lived in a wonderful little suite at Lakeside Manor before moving into Bobbi’s basement suite in December 2019. Timing could not have been better, as it wasn’t long before the Covid-19 pandemic got serious. With the manor going into lockdown, Mary would have been very isolated, but the move made it so Mary and Bobbi were able to spend their days and evenings together, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company and supporting one another. Mary loved helping in the flower garden and making supper for Bobbi on days when she had to work, which helped to fill her days and seemed to give her a sense of purpose during an uncertain time.
Mary leaves behind her daughter Bobbi, granddaughters Samantha Hulberg and Ellysa Wahlstrom, her brother Jim (Darleen) Harrison, nephews Pat (Marie) Smith, Brent Harrison, Shawn Harrison, Rick (Laurie) Harrison, and nieces Deanna (Rob) Smith and Shannon (Jim) Oscroft, as well as many other great-nieces, great-nephews, and friends.
She was predeceased by both of her parents, her sister Elsie Smith and brother Bob Harrison, as well as by her beloved husband Cliff, and her best friend, Bev Ingram.
Mary was an active member of her community, known by many and appreciated by all. She is irreplaceable and will be held in our hearts forever. We love you Mom/Gramma. Please Rest in Peace, until we see you again.
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