Valdine “Joann” Kabel (nee McCarthy) followed her husband Bob Kabel and daughter, Colleen Tomchuk, to Heaven on October 26, 2017.
Following Bob wasn’t something new for her. She’d done this throughout their 60 years of marriage. Joann was born in a small Manitoba town on November 6th, 1935. She traversed North America as Bob pursued his professional hockey and business careers. While this exciting life could have overwhelmed some, Joann always showed a quiet confidence. She would have been just as comfortable meeting a local from Queens, as she would have been meeting the actual Queen (which – by the way – she did).
Despite ever-changing addresses, Joann made a home wherever she moved. Her dedication to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren created the foundation upon which a close and strong family was built. As each new family member was born, she used to quip that it gave her “one more person to love… and to worry about”.
If a family member or friend had a problem, Joann had an uncanny ability to help–semicolon– she was the quintessential fixer-upper. She did everything from take-in teens in need of a home, to remove splinters without pain. According to her grandchildren, the common motto is: If you have a problem “bring it to Grandma, she’ll fix it”. They, along with Joann’s great-grandchildren, knew that their biggest fan was “G.G”–semicolon– she attended their every game, play and recital (with either flowers or Timbits as a reward).
Joann’s actions won’t break world records or be the inspiration for scholars to study – but they meant everything to the people she loved.
Joann was beautiful, had a quick wit and was incredibly competitive. But she wasn’t perfect- her family is pretty sure she cheated at every game or sport she played.
It’s an understatement for Joann’s daughters Kathy, Charlene and son-in-laws Ron, Gary and Kevin and daughter-like sister-in-law, Eve, to say that we will miss her. She was devoted to their children Angie, Bobby, Erinn, Bailey, Brittany, Kitrina, and Cassandra. Her grandchildren’s spouses, Roy, Tiffany and Trevor – knew that their children Kenley, Benson, Connor, Liam, Colton, Hadley, Maeve and June, were adored by G.G.
As you read this, Joann is in Heaven with Bob, Colleen, and the family and friends who’ve passed before her. And if Heaven is anything like life on earth, she’s taking care of animals, praying for her family and shaking her head as Bob and Colleen ignore her sage driving directions to the local ice cream shop. On second thought, it is Heaven – so maybe it’s Bob’s turn to finally follow Joann.
*A joint memorial service for Joann and Bob will be held in Manitoba sometime in July, 2018. Details will be available at a later date.
**As much as Joann loved flowers, she would have loved a cure for Alzheimer’s more. A donation to the Alzheimer’s Society would be appreciated.