Mom, Sister, Aunt, Nana, and known as Mrs. Lancaster to countless children, she demonstrated throughout her life a great example of leadership, a passionate educator, a strong and independent woman, she walked the talk.
Velma was raised on a farm near Bezanson Alberta, she was a ‘tomboy’ who hunted and played with the boys, tended to the farm animals, but also kept house throughout the neighbourhood to earn money. Her strong work ethic was no mystery and at fifteen years old she entered the University of Alberta education studies, while boarding at a convent in Edmonton.
Her teaching career began in a one-room schoolhouse named ‘Canuck’ near Sexsmith, Alberta when she was 18 years old. After a full day of classes for all grades, Miss Podulsky would take her students outside for a game of softball. Her keen love for the game continued, and she was an avid fan of the Blue Jays, no phone calls during a game please.
One of Velma’s favourite past times was to “read the future” of family and friends by reading their cards and tealeaves. She kept her mind busy by reading the newspaper or playing card games at her spot at the kitchen table, she was also the gracious hostess of many neighbourhood bridge games. In the winter she was an avid curler and knew how to throw a rock with admirable style. She was a valued member of the Kingsway Legion for many years and was awarded a forty-year pin, in 2017, for her service as a leading volunteer for the Ladies Auxiliary.
Velma loved to sing and show off her Grade XI Royal Conservatory of Toronto piano skills by accompanying young choirs in her classroom or entertaining family and friends in a sing-along. She also spent some time exploring theatre arts with Walter Kaasa in the early days of performing arts in Alberta. She had a love for arts and crafts and inspired many a family artist. She designed many fabulous Halloween costumes, which delighted the neighbourhood.
Mrs. Lancaster retired in 1990 from Sacred Heart Elementary, completing a forty-year career in the classroom, all the while a dedicated mother.
Velma believed in continuous learning and was driven by a keen curiosity for everything good in life. Her garden was a testament of her green thumb, worthy of a tour, each potted rose carefully planted, flourishing for years. She would always share the bounty of her apples, grapes and raspberries with appreciative recipients, and became notorious for her apple pies.
Velma loved to cook and entertain family even cooking a full Christmas dinner for family in 2017 at the young age of 90.
She was known for her sense of humour, her intelligence and as a fierce competitor, not to mention the yummy treats she would bake. There was no one more loyal to family and friends and she was very proud to be living in her home, her haven of over 50 years in Capilano, which she generously shared as a gathering place for her clan, open always.
Velma the second eldest of eleven children: predeceased by her parents Paul and Mary Podulsky and siblings Tony, Alec, and Julia–semicolon– remaining are Barbara, Paul, Maryanne, Caroline, Myron, George, and Stan. Mother to four: Whitfield, Sandra, Cheryl, and Lynda–semicolon– Nana to six: Amber, Madison, Barry, Spencer, Cassandra, and David. Great grandmother to four: Kayson, Abbey-Rose, Chase, and Cody. She was also an endearing friend to many.