Ione left us suddenly but peacefully, surrounded by family on June 22, 2012 at the age of 83. Healthy, happy and full of vitality to the end, she loved life and lived it well. We now say goodbye to a special woman who touched many lives along her way.
Ione was born on a farm in Saskatchewan in 1929 to George and Margaret Wheeler and when she was two her family moved by wagon train farther north during the Depression. They returned to the south and settled to farm in Macoun, near Weyburn, with her sister Helen and brothers Gerald and Duane. Ione had small town values, but city-sized dreams! She took nurses training and worked in the Weyburn Mental Hospital before meeting Jack Kempton. They married in Nelson, BC in 1950 then eventually landed in Calgary & raised three active girls. Ione devoted her life to her daughters for years before returning to work in retail. Friends always played a vital role in her life, too. The family spent many holidays camping and visiting family in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1979, she and Jack moved to Salmon Arm, enjoying the small town life and closeness to Jack’s family.
Gardening, skiing, trips to Mazatlan, fishing and camping with many wonderful friends and family were their passions. They moved to Sorrento in 1994, taking up tennis at Cedar Heights and a new group of friends filled their lives with joy. Ione also loved to play bridge and when Jack passed away in 2008, she joined duplicate bridge which challenged her and appealed to her competitive spirit. Ione’s life was enriched by all those she met during her various activities and walking her special little dogs at Sorrento Park. She will be missed by those she shared her life with.
Ione is survived by her three daughters Cheryl (Rick) Semenzin of Sunnybrae, Deb Phillips of Calgary, and Pam (Jim) Donaldson of Notch Hill and her grandchildren Brett and Dustin Semenzin and Janelle and Wesley Phillips. She was so very proud of her grandkids! We will cherish the memories.
No formal service will be held at Ione’s request but the family is planning a celebration of her life later this summer. We hope all her friends will join us.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon, 200-1212 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6H 3V2 or BC SPCA Shuswap Branch, 5850 Auto Road SE, Salmon Arm, B.C. V1E 2X2.
Email condolences may be sent to Ione’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservices.com. Arrangements are in the care of Bowers Funeral Home and Crematorium, Salmon Arm, BC.
Special thanks to the caring staff at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.