(August 20, 1932 – May 17, 2013)
You probably know her as Connie. Connie was born in Taber, Alberta on August 20th 1932 to Eileen and John Hackett. Eileen raised Connie along with her brother John (Sonny) and sisters Shirley and Diane. The family lost their father John early. This drew the family tightly together, a trait that would be repeated as each of the children created their own families.
In the 1950’s Constance met Clarence, and they became Connie and Jake. Their 62 year marriage was punctuated by laughter, love and the occasional cast iron frying pan. Connie and Jake’s passion was deep and tempestuous.
Beneath Connie’s caring nature hid a deep vein of stubbornness. Pity the fool who didn’t take “the look” seriously. She could go from making her famous cinnamon buns to tossing clothes out of the bedroom window faster than you could say sorry. Ask Jake. He’ll tell you.
Connie was a nurturer. Jake and Connie raised two kids, Pam Woods (nee Aiken), and Gary Aiken. Pam married Guy Woods. Gary married Debbie Lauriente. And, they brought Brynna, Gord, Steven, and Julie into the world. Grandchildren and much later great-grandchildren. Connie was in heaven. Swimming, hockey, rugby and baseball games, skiing, band concerts, skating competitions. She went to them all.
Connie loved to sew and crochet, but the family dinners were legendary. Her Christmas dinners included everyone. Friends were family and family were friends. With the ping pong table dressed up as a dining table everyone sat down for a game of hide the brussels sprout, and who could pretend to eat the most jellied salad. The phrase ”just like the Clampetts” got bandied about.
Philanthropist or hoarder? It all depends on what side of need you live. If you needed some fabric or wool, a waffle maker, a few towels, a blender, a crockpot, or a set of sheets, you could count on Connie to help deck out your first home. The appliance might not all be CSA approved, but they were the best the Pink Elephant carried.
When Connie and Jake moved to Warfield they did what every sane young couple did. They convinced their family and friends into helping them build a pool in the back yard. Nothing made Connie happier than sitting by that pool surrounded by friends and family. Epic dinners and water fights played out around the pool where one moment’s inattention would result in a swim, no matter what you were wearing. When Pam got married she and the bridesmaids spent the wedding day morning by the pool trying to keep their hair dry, hemming their dresses with one eye on their tasks and the other eye on the look out for buckets.
Whether she was at Christina Lake, Kootenay Lake, Syringa Creek, or Evans, Connie was happy to drop a line in the water, do a little water skiing or just float around in the sunshine.
No memory of Connie would be complete without talking about her luck. She won a camera from a radio station. “Oh. Me.” She said to the station. “I never win anything.” But, we all know, it’s Jake that never won. Connie’s job, when they made their trips to Reno was to win back Jake’s losses and maybe a little extra for dinner. I’m not sure what the BC Lottery Corporation will do without her weekly donation.
Secrets and slots. Connie was so good at keeping secrets that until she was forced by the American government to get a passport to play her one-armed bandits, she didn’t know she was spelling her middle name wrong. Treesa, her niece, shares the same middle name. On Treesa’s birth certificate her middle name is Ann. Which is how Connie thought hers was spelled for thirty years. When Connie applied for her passport, Constance Ann found her E.
With a definition of family that included every person she ever met. She cast a wide net and pulled everyone to her.
To know Connie was to love her. To know Connie was to be loved by her
An Open House to celebrate Connie’s life will be held at Connie and Jake’s house. 995 Thackeray Street in Warfield (Trail BC V1R 2C3) on Friday, May 31 from 2-5:30. Please wear colour. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her name to the Canadian Cancer Society, or for eye care research: www.worldclasshealthcare.ca/funding_opps_eye_care.html.