HASSEL,Levonne Margaret Patricia
daughter of Edward Albert Renton and Pearl (nee) Rhyder, was born on Feb 4, 1912 in Greenbush, Saskatchewan.
The Renton family moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba from Greenbush in 1917.
Levonne had two brothers and two sisters, Angus, Cliff, Corynne, and Millie, all Rentons. The father, a CPR Railroad executive, went to war and was declared missing in action. Her mother re-married to a Gentleman named Peterson and they all moved to Pitt Meadows, BC, in 1919. Two years later they settled in Grandview Flats to live on a fruit farm. Eight years passed and they were on the move again, the whole family except, one sister Corynne. They purchased a home on a small acreage in the Cherry Creek District of Alberni.
Shortly after arriving in Alberni, Levonne spent two years in a private school in Vancouver. At 17, she returned to Alberni and married Norman Woodward; they separated after two years. She then married Ture Strang a “Bull of the woods logger.” They had one son Dean Ture Karol Strang, born in 1932, who died at the age 24, of Hodgkin’s disease. Dean had 3 children, 2 daughters, Levonne (Strang ) Painchaud, Adina Wanda (Strang) Schellenberg and one son David Strang.
Levonne divorced Ture and met her final husband, Johannas (Joe) Hassel a tall 6’5” Norwegian faller in 1940. They moved to Ladysmith for a few years, but finally settled in a home they purchased at 375 Franklin Street in Nanaimo. She and Joe lived there for 15 years until they bought their home at the corner of Terminal and Townsite. Joe always worked as faller in logging camps until he retired at 72 in 1975. Joe passed away 10 years later; “God rest his soul”.
Levonne has always claimed, she was a distant descendant of the Royal family in England. As a result, she collected many Royal family memorabilia and books. With her devilish smile and a twinkling eye, Levonne always had an entertaining yarn or a tune on the accordion or piano.
According to her sister Corynne, Levonne like her Father, was an accomplished musician at a very young age. By the time she was three she started playing the piano.. While Joe was working in the logging camps, Levonne had a full social life. As a musician, she mastered many instruments, including the piano, accordion, violin, trumpet and others. For over 30 years, Levonne was well known for playing in all the dance halls between Port Alberni, Parksville, Nanaimo and all the way down to Duncan. In her band she almost always played the accordion; her favorite instrument. On stage Levonne was never one stuck for words due to her quick wit, keen sense of humor and out going nature.
She still had her devilish smile and was considered a friendly lively character, even days before her passing. Levonne had four accordions, a piano, an organ and many, many other instruments. With her ninety first birthday passing on February 4th, if you were fortunate, you could have caught her banging on the ivories of the resident piano. If you really lucky you may have discovered her playing an accordion in the big hall or in her room 209 Birch at the Dufferin Care facility.
Levonne was always considered an exceptionally talented and artistic woman. She was an artist, seamstress, mechanic, carpenter, home designer and a mother to name a few talents. Moreover, she is well known by her friends and neighbors as an antique refinisher and collector. Furthermore, Levonne had a fondness for antique and costume jewelry. She collected hundreds of beautiful jewelry pieces over the years.
Her two sisters Millie Horton age 93 of Nanaimo and Corynne Goodman, 91 of Aldergrove, survive Levonne. Three grandchildren, seven great grandchildren, seven great, great grandchildren and many nephews and nieces survive Levonne.
There will be no Funeral for Levonne at her request. Instead, there will be a gathering to celebrate her life. The date will be announced, and the party will be in the late spring or early summer at her grandson David Strang’s home in Nanaimo.
The family gives special thanks to the staff of both the TLC hospital ward and Birch Hall at Dufferin Care facility for their tireless support and care for Levonne in the last year and a half. Also, thanks to Violet Hogg, Bill and Gel Powers, Lynne Valette, Dr. Keith Phillips, Chuck Wong and her neighborhood friends for their friendship and support to Levonne during her stay at Dufferin.