In Loving Memory of
beloved wife to Paul
lovingly remembered by her children
Michelle (Corey), Steve (Alison) & Jason
Grandchildren Jack, Conrad, Mason, Miles & Emmett.
June 12, 2022
Saturday, August 6, 2022
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Donations in memory of Vona may be made to
Special Olympics Manitoba; Room 304-145
Pacific Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3B 2Z6.
Vona Elizabeth Freeman was born at Mrs. Firby’s Nursing Home in Killarney, Manitoba, on September 25, 1942, the first child of Bill and Eunice (Tweed) Freeman. Vona’s early years were spent on the family farm in the Tisdale District near Killarney, where winter snow made walking to the country school a daunting prospect for a little girl. When her parents decided to move to town in 1951, Vona was able to attend school in Killarney and Sunday School at Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Outside school, she enjoyed piano lessons, figure skating, and listening to music on the radio and record player. As a teenager, Vona could be found at Teen Club, swimming at the beach, watching drive-in movies and sometimes going to dances at the Pavilion. After graduating from high school in 1960, she enrolled in the 3-year RN program at Winnipeg General Hospital and became close friends with many of her classmates. After earning her nursing diploma in 1964, Vona accepted a nursing position at WGH where she worked on Medical and Orthopedic wards, as well as Clinical Investigation in the Peripheral Vascular Department.
Vona met Paul Desjardins in 1965 and they were married in December 1967. Vona and Paul lived in Winnipeg initially, with Vona nursing and Paul playing for the Blue Bombers and continuing his education. They welcomed their first child Michelle in 1970. The young family stayed in Winnipeg until Paul completed his Ph.D., at which point he retired from the Bombers and the family moved to California where Paul had a post-doctoral fellowship. After only 6 months in California, the Toronto Argonauts came calling, and the family moved to Toronto, where they had their first son Steve in 1972. After three years with the Argonauts, Paul accepted a position as Director of Clinical Chemistry at Children’s Hospital (later Health Sciences Centre) in Winnipeg, and the family moved back to Winnipeg where they would live for the next 25 years. Vona and Paul completed their family when Jason was born in 1975.
Vona took a break from nursing from 1970-1980 while her children were young. In 1980 she took a nursing refresher course, then worked part time in Geriatrics at the Winnipeg General Hospital (now Health Sciences Centre) until her retirement in 1996.
Vona and Paul enjoyed their years in Winnipeg and made many good friends. Once their children were finished school, it was time for a change, which turned into frequent changes as Vona and Paul searched for the perfect place to retire, and the perfect situation for Jason. Paul took on new positions in contract research, which led them to Aurora ON then Virginia USA. A lab position at Victoria General Hospital took them to Vancouver Island until Paul retired. Paul, Vona and Jason tried out a series of homes in Winnipeg, White Rock, Aurora and Victoria over the next few years. They enjoyed a bit of snowbird life in Arizona and California too.
Vona is remembered for her generous spirit. Outgrown children’s clothes and toys were shared with her siblings who had younger children. She enjoyed shopping and took great care to find thoughtful gifts for her family and friends. Vona was also a very organized and determined woman, and this was especially evident in the efforts she made to secure services for Jason over the years.
Vona’s health started to deteriorate in recent years, starting with falls and progressing to muscle weakness that limited her independence. In 2020 Vona, Paul and Jason moved from Victoria to Birtle, Manitoba to be close to Steve and his family. In-home care allowed her to stay at home for another year, at which point she moved to long term care in Birtle. Paul was a devoted visitor throughout her stay, visiting nearly every day, and frequently more than once a day. Steve and Jason also visited their mom regularly.
Vona passed away peacefully on June 12, 2022, with Paul at her side.
Vona was predeceased by her parents, Bill and Eunice Freeman, her mother-in-law Annette Proulx, her sister Glenda McFarland and her brother Garth Freeman. She is survived by Paul, her husband of 54 years, and her children Michelle Moore (Corey; Jack and Conrad), Steve (Alison; Mason, Miles and Emmett) and Jason. She is also survived by sisters Brenda (Ray) Crabbe, Dawna (Daryl) Ritchie, and Dena (Brian Yendrowich), sister-in-law Sharon Freeman and brother-in-law Greg McFarland, as well as her special uncle Arnold (Glenyce) Tweed.