On the evening of August 11, 2016, surrounded by her three children, Veronica Anastasia Burgess passed away at the Grey Nuns Hospital after a brave fight with cancer. Veronica was 73 years old.
Veronica was born in Lamont, Alberta on July 29, 1943. She was the eighth child and fifth daughter of William and Mary Fenniak (nee Adamyk), and was a granddaughter of Wasyl and Anastasia Fenniak, one of the first four Ukrainian immigrant families to settle in Alberta.
Veronica finished high school in Lamont County and moved to Edmonton soon after. She studied at the Misericordia School of Nursing in Edmonton, graduating in 1966. She loved to tell stories about her days “in training,” such as ditching last-minute final exam study in favour of coffee with her fellow students, screening blind dates arriving at the nurses’ residence, and getting experience on the hospital floor as a senior student. She had many roles in hospitals in Alberta, British Columbia and the United States in her early career, and especially enjoyed her time working in pediatrics. In 1972 Veronica married Raymond Burgess, an American from Rhode Island. Veronica had three children, as well as two grandchildren who adored their Grandma and who lovingly parrot her favourite expressions. “Holy doodle!” Veronica had boundless energy for her grandsons, and a powerful bond with them from birth that made the miles between them disappear.
Veronica is pre-deceased by her husband, Raymond–semicolon– her infant twin sister, Margaret Fenniak–semicolon– her brother Lawrence Fenniak (Gerarda)–semicolon– and her brothers-in-law Lorne Rawluk, Harold Watson and Duane Dobberthien.
She is survived by her children Susan Burgess (David Reevely), Gregory Burgess and Karen Burgess–semicolon– grandsons Thomas Reevely and Nicholas Reevely–semicolon– and her siblings Florence Dobberthien, Roger Fenniak (Carmel), Patricia Watson, Mary Ann Rawluk, Bill Fenniak (Colleen), Evelyn Qureshi (Saleem), John Fenniak (Cheryl) and Al Fenniak (Mary Anne).
Veronica will also be fondly remembered by her many nieces and nephews, who loved her frankness and good humour, and by former colleagues at the Good Samaritan Southgate Care Centre, where she spent nearly 20 years caring for residents before her hard-earned retirement in 2008.
A Celebration of Veronica’s Life will be held on Friday, August 19 at 2:00 p.m. at Connelly-McKinley Edmonton South Funeral Home (4820 Meridian Street NW, Edmonton, AB).
Memorial donations can be made to the Covenant Foundation, directed to the Grey Nuns Hospital Tertiary Palliative Care Unit 43, in honour of the staff’s extraordinary support of Veronica and her family.