December 17, 1915 – October 21, 2020
Sadly, we announce the peaceful passing of our beloved “Aunt Lil”, 2 months shy of her 105th birthday.
Lillian was the first of 4 children, born in Winnipeg, to Michael and Rozalia Szkwarek, who emigrated from Austria in 1912.
Lil worked for several years in retail while in Winnipeg, before moving to Vancouver in 1950. While working in a Sweet shop, a co-worker, Dorothy Skand, introduced Lillian to her brother, Harry Janus, over a foot taller than Lil. That was the beginning of a relationship that lasted well over 60 years.
Eventually, they both moved to Quesnel, BC, where they married on July 26, 1952. While in Quesnel, Lillian worked at Hoy’s Department Store. Lil and Harry were both very involved in their Church, the Legion, and for recreation they loved to bowl. In 1981 they retired and moved to Vernon, BC.
In retirement, Lil and Harry loved to travel and visit family throughout BC, and various cities in every Province, East to Ontario. They rarely missed a special occasion and alternated between the Janus Family Reunion and the Annual Pig Roast, in Winnipeg where Aunt Lil was always one of the diehards sitting around the fire pit, laughing and telling stories late into the evening. We will never forget the time when Aunt Lil, in her 80’s, leg wrestled with a person a third her age, and twice her size. If there was dancing, Aunt Lil would out-Polka anyone.
Lillian was a great cook, and often, if it was a lengthy visit, when she left, you could count on a freezer full of pierogis, cabbage rolls and baked goods, especially if she was joined by her sister, Anne Black.
For many years, Lil and Harry would fly to Hawaii for a month in the winter. They would also take a few bus trips to Reno. When not travelling, Lil worked voluntarily at Georgette’s Shop in Vernon.
Lil was a lady with exceptional energy and independence. After Harry lost his vision, and was eventually declared legally blind, they continued flying throughout Canada and taking their bus trips to Reno.
Sadly, Harry passed away in 2013, but Lil continued to live by herself, past the age of 100, doing her own shopping, cooking and housework. In 2014, at the age of 99, she even flew by herself, from Kelowna to Windsor, Ontario, for a 2 week visit with her nephew’s family.
In October of 2015, Lil fell and broke her hip, and eventually she had to move into The Gateby Care Center. While there, Lil enjoyed attending many activities scheduled by the recreation staff and she loved to roam the halls in her wheelchair looking for someone to have a chat, or kibitzing with the staff.
Lillian was predeceased by her brother Joe Squires, and sisters Anne Black and Katie Vinet, all of Winnipeg.
Lil and Harry were unable to have any children, but Aunt Lil, like Uncle Harry, will be greatly missed by her many nieces and nephews, grand and great grand, spread over 5 provinces.
They will forever remember her bone crushing hugs, positive attitude, fierce determination-some would say stubbornness- independence, thoughtfulness, unselfishness, infectious smile and especially her mischievous sense of humour, and constant laughter. She was a beautiful spirited lady, one of a kind, and a legend to all who were close to her. She gave so much love and she was loved so much!
Lil’s family, would like to thank all the Staff at Gateby, for the excellent care given to her over her 4 years there. Also, thanks to the staff at the Schubert Center, who always had a handfuls of Werther’s for her and to all the dancing couples Lil enjoyed watching every week.
Thanks to Merrilynne “Momma” Hayes, a former neighbor, who, for many years “kept an eye” on Lil. And to Wendy and Lee Gosselin, longtime friends, who regularly paid her visits and were like family, when family could not be there.
Also, to Kerri Black, who several times, even in winter, drove from Calgary to keep her Aunt Lil company and last December joined her for what turned out to be Lillian’s last Christmas dinner at the Schubert Center. Kerri was halfway to Vernon to be by Aunt Lil’s side when Lil passed away.
And a special thanks to Joanne Borle, who travelled from Vancouver to be with her Aunt several times a year, and was the first family member at Aunt Lil’s side when she broke her hip, and most recently when Aunt Lil’s health started to fail.
Over the last 4 years, Joanne was constantly on the phone discussing Aunt Lil’s continued health care with the medical professionals at Gateby.
A big thanks to all who cared for our special Aunt in her final years.
For those who wish to make a Memorial donation in Lillian name please feel free do so to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation in Vancouver, or to the Schubert Center in Vernon.
A celebration of life will be announced at some future date, whenever it is safe for family to travel during these difficult Covid times.Obituary
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