Photography

Leola Charlotte Palfreyman Worsfold

July 24, 1951 ~ November 7, 2023 (age 72) 72 Years Old

Leola Worsfold Obituary

July 24, 1951-November 07, 2023

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
              Emily Dickinson

 

Our beloved Leola passed away on November 07, 2023, at the Edith Cavell Care Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta, with her dear friend Deirdre Crandall by her side.

Diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis while living in Vancouver in 2007, Leola's journey with MS was heartrendingly arduous, a decline without plateau or remission.  Leola's strength of character, perseverance, dignity, good will, patience and endurance impressed all who knew her as she dealt courageously with each of the various debilitating stages of decline.

Leola lived her earliest years in Peace River, Alberta, the place she always considered her real "home. She and her older brother Gary, were young children, when their father Walter (Doug) Henry Worsfold, a conductor for CN, was tragically killed in a train derailment. Their mother Mona remarried Al Palfreyman and the family moved to Edmonton, where younger sister Debra was born.  Leola chose to honor her birth father's memory by later reverting to his family name Worsfold.

Sports were woven into family life and every sport had it's allure, whether as spectators or as participants. Many happy hours were spent curling and playing tennis at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton and Leola greatly enjoyed golfing regularly, playing tennis and other recreational activities with her mother, Mona, who was herself a gifted athlete.

Leola graduated from Ross Shepherd High School in Edmonton, went on to the University of Alberta graduating with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 1972 followed by an Undergraduate Diploma in Education in 1973. She was active in many sports while at U of A, notably playing for U of A Pandas Volleyball team 1973-1974, and U of A Panda's Field Hockey team 1972-1973. She continued to play and referee Field Hockey for several years.

Leola taught Grade 2 at Ardrossan Elementary School for one year prior to transferring to Ardrossan Junior/ Senior HIgh School where she taught Physical Education at for several years. She took her Ardrossan girls Field Hockey Team to Calgary to compete in the first Alberta Summer Games in 1976 and coached her Ardrossan girl's Basketball Team to compete in the Provincial Championships in 1979. One of her students recently told us that inspired by Leola's example she had herself become a phys -ed teacher, a legacy that would have pleased Leola had she known.

Following her own rhythms and desire for personal development, Leola surprised family, friends and colleagues when she courageously took the bold step of resigning from her promising teaching career to evolve a varied career path, working at a racquetball court, and as a letter carrier for Canada Post - a job she chose for the exhilaration and challenges of walking outdoors carrying a weighty mail bag in all seasons of Edmonton weather - prior to pursing her true vocation as a gifted healer.

She moved to the coast and embarked on a rigorous 2-year course of training at the prestigious West Coast School of Massage Therapy in Vancouver B.C. After certification and licensing, she worked at a clinic in Burnaby and later operated a private therapeutic massage therapy practice at Paula Bethune's clinic on Commercial Drive in Vancouver BC.

This career was a perfect expression of Leola's commitment to supporting others to optimize their capacities for physical and emotional wellbeing, maximizing strength, flexibility and mobility and pain-free living.  She encouraged clients and friends to pursue balanced life-styles, promoting exercise, proper nutrition and stress reduction as essential components of healthy mind, body and spirit. She herself was a vegetarian, and worked-out at the gym at 6;00 AM daily prior to starting her workday.  Although Leola didn't specialize in sports massage, she understood well the intense somatic, social and mental stresses athletes endure and she was pleased to have been one of a cadre of massage therapists for Canadian athletes competing at the winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988.

Leola's love of life was best expressed through her passion for the outdoors and her exhilaration in the joys of movement: racquetball, squash, badminton, tennis, basketball, volleyball, golfing, curling, Nordic and Alpine skiing, field hockey, cycling in the San Juan Islands, running along river valley trails or jogging along the sea wall in Stanley Park, and hiking - including backpacking the entire 75 km rugged West Coast Trail prior to it's more gentle redesign. She cheerfully introduced several of her less outdoorsy friends to the dubious pleasures of tenting in the rain, the more liberating joys of van camping, and to whale and dolphin watching at Tofino and Ucluelet.

Although the David Thompson Country, Rocky Mountain trails and meadows, Vancouver Island, the Haida Gwaii, Alaska, the Northwest Territories and Australia each captivated Leola, her favorite travel destination was Hawaii, which she visited many times with Carol Clifton. They hiked to the rim of Diamond Head crater in Honoloulu, and on the Big Island hiked around Kilauea Crater and adjacent Kilauea Iki. Leola discovered snorkeling and was fascinated by coral vistas and the immense variety of colorful fish, especially at Kahalu'u Bay. More travel had been planned however 2011 was Leola's last Hawaiian trip, made particularly memorable by the Tsunami, flooding, and power outages.

Leola was a sensitive, gentle soul who valued beauty, harmony, and peacefulness. She enjoyed reading and, when she could no longer read, being read to. She had a fondness for biography, history, myths, fables, fantasy, legends, and had a collection of small dragon figurines perhaps inspired by Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon or some other version of the Arthurian legend. She always maintained her child-like innocence, wonder and fascination with the Northern Lights and all the mysteries of the universe. She loved Disney animated films, Harry Potter books and films and given her love of adventure and travel it is unsurprising that her favorite television program was Survivor.

Leola enjoyed living for many years at the Sitka Co-op in Vancouver prior to moving to an apartment on Woodland Drive, closer to her massage clinic.  She loved children, nature, all animals and birds. Her favorite wild animal was the Otter "because they were playful, and fun." Leola herself was playful and fun. She especially loved her cats -a seal point Siamese aptly named "Screamer," "Sesame," an abused traumatized kitten she had rescued and patiently nurtured for 17 years, and finally a gorgeous, temperamentally aristocratic SPCA adoptee, "Jazmin," who, perhaps sensing Leola's increasing fragility, fussed over, groomed and comforted Leola as if she were a fragile vulnerable kitten.

Leola struggled to live independently in Vancouver to the utmost limit of her capabilities because she couldn't bear to abandon Jazmin, so Carol Clifton lovingly brought "Jazz" kitty home to live with her and Leola moved to live while with her sister Debra and partner Bob Krahn in Pincher Creek before needing to move to care homes in Lethbridge.

Even as every capacity for pleasure and each of the activities that gave her life meaning were subtracted from her Leola remained courageous, steadfastly patient, kind, and gentle, embodying her Christian values and the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. She enjoyed many genres of music and her favorite song for the past decade was Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as recorded by k.d. Lang.

Predeceased by her father, her step-father, her mother Mona Harryat Palfreyman, her sister Debra Lynn Palfreyman, treasured friends Sue Fulmes and James Kavanagh, Leola will be sorely missed by her brother Gary Palfreyman, niece Mona, nephew Scott and most especially by her decades-long closest friends Deirdre Crandall, Carol Clifton, Cheryl Heilman, Lois Bladon and Patricia Moore, each of whom visited Leola in the days prior to her death, surrounding her with their comfort and love.

Thank you to the many wonderful, warm, caring, loving people who supported Leola and supported us as we accompanied Leola throughout her lengthy journey with Multiple Sclerosis.  We thank the staff at St. Teresa's Villa and Sr. Josephine where Leola lived when she first moved to Lethbridge, Amie Petracek, Alberta Health Services, Henry Brooks, Community Supports Coordinator Lethbridge Family Services, Maigan Anderson, the CAPCC program, Allan Kristenson, Manager the MS Society, Lethbridge Chapter, St. Augustine's Anglican Church, Lethbridge, Canon James Robertson, Father Wayne Batememan, Linda Copps, and The Green Acres Foundation Garden View Lodge, Adrian Boe and Sheri White, Rae Sinclair, Allan Yip, Kenneth Yip, Bernard Sinclair, Jane Jewitt, Jan Schmitz and Joan White Calf.

Above all we express our profoundest enduring gratitude to all Edith Cavell Care Centre staff who provided exceptional tender loving care to Leola over the past 7 years of her life, and to Dr Wayne Burton, to his Medical Office Assistants Amber and Cardiff, and Dr. Dave Stewart.

Personal appreciation also to Neurologist Dr Elizabeth (Beth) Pringle, for timely, helpful conversations.  Although there have been many exciting research and treatment breakthroughs in Multiple Sclerosis with promising possibilities on the horizon, sadly there were none available for our beloved Leola and yet she and we always believed there would be. We continue to have every confidence that the mysteries of this dreadful disease will be solved and others will be helped and cured.

Cremation entrusted to Evergreen Funeral Home in Lethbridge. Thank you to Bruce Small. Managing Director Evergreen Cremation Services.

Interment at a later date in Leola's favorite place - Peace River Alberta - where she will be laid to rest beside her dear mother Mona Harryat Palfreyman and her beloved "Gammie," her grandmother, Leola Charlotte Brownlee after whom Leola was named and with whom she was always very close.

Should anyone wish donations will be gratefully received by the SPCA, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada or a charity of your choice.

 

 

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