Elsa Martha Shirk

Elsa Martha Shirk (Ellie), aged 85, of Nanaimo, B.C., died on September 3, 2009, the day of her fifty-fifth wedding anniversary at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Elsa was born in 1923 in Vancouver, B.C. and was the only child of Jenny and Eric Berg, originally from Sweden. She spent her early childhood in Salmon Bay, Prices Channel, and Bliss Landing, in her parent’s float house, where she developed a lifelong passion for gardening, and an appreciation for nature, music and dancing. She had fond memories of her early playmates which were the goats tended by her parents. She was schooled in a one-room classroom until in later school years, she boarded out in Vancouver where she attended Lord Bing High School. Subsequently, Elsa was drawn back to the coast to Lund, B.C. and worked in the restaurant at the Lund Hotel. She also boarded with families and worked as a Nanny.

In 1946, she married William (Bill) Boyd Palmer, and moved to her new home at Cranberry Lake, B.C. Their daughter, Phyllis Elaine was born. Tragically, Bill, who was killed in a logging accident, predeceased them in 1951.

In 1954, Elsa married Donald Daniel Shirk in Powell River, B.C. and bore their son, Thomas Alexander Shirk. She was a dedicated wife, homemaker, and mother who gave unending support and encouragement to her family and friends. She did not shrink from a challenge, whether it be hosting a sea cadet dinner, or running the Powell River Hospital Gift Shop. She always gave 100 per cent. A gifted crafter, needlework, knitting, crocheting, and flower arranging were some of her talents. In 1984, Dan and Elsa relocated to Nanaimo to be close to their children. Elsa joined the Bowen Park Seniors and continued her creative endeavors.

To the end she was admired for her inner beauty, even temperament, quick wit, and an ability to laugh at herself. She lived by example, was true to her principles, and taught her children to be truthful.

She is survived and sadly missed by her loving husband, Dan Shirk, daughter, Elaine Leigh, son, Tom Shirk, grandson Chris Leigh and his wife Veva, and her great-grandchildren, Emma and Izzabella Leigh all of Nanaimo, B.C.

A Celebration of Life will be held at her daughter’s home in Nanaimo on September 19, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Alzheimer Society of B.C., #300 – 828 West 8th Ave., Vancouver, BC V5Z 1E2.

Sands ~ Nanaimo (250)753-2032

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