Minnie Christina Martinell (née Graf), born 15 June 1918, passed away at her home in Enderby on 15 September 2011. Born in Burstall, Saskatchewan, to August Graf and Christine Doerr, Germans from Russia immigrants, she was the eighth of ten children and the last of her siblings.
In 1927 the Graf family relocated to Sexsmith, Alberta, and later homesteaded in the Halcourt area. Minnie married Floyd Martinell in 1936, and the couple spent many years working in north central BC, where Minnie cooked in restaurants and cafes including the Alaska Hotel in Dawson Creek and the Toad River Lodge on the Alaska Highway. Minnie and Floyd loved to hunt and fish; Minnie was as adept at cooking wild game and fish on a camp stove as she was at cooking in a restaurant. Anyone who went into the bush with Minnie and Floyd knew there would be great food – even fresh doughnuts!
In the mid-fifties, Minnie and Floyd bought a farm at Mara, where Floyd’s parents were also farming. However, they continued to go north for a few months each year to work, Floyd as a mechanic and Minnie as a cook. On the farm, they raised beef, pigs, chickens and goats, and Minnie kept a large garden, spending the late summers and early falls canning, pickling and preserving her home-grown produce. She continued to keep a garden well into her eighties and was always generous to friends and family with gifts of preserved produce.
Although Minnie and Floyd had no children of their own, they considered their 23 nephews and nieces their family. A skilled seamstress as well as cook, Minnie made quilts for everyone of her 23 “children” and for many of their children as well. Her quilts are her legacy.
After Floyd passed away in 1991, Minnie moved to Enderby, where she continued to work on her quilts, plant a garden, and enjoy the company of friends and family who came to visit. An amateur genealogist in her own way, Minnie maintained a large correspondence with extended family members and friends from all over North America, labouriously hand-writing long letters to each, especially at Christmas. Her collection of family pictures and memorabilia is a treasure-trove for the Graf family descendants. Fiercely independent, she remained in her own home up to her death at age 93.
An Interment Service at Cliffside Cemetery at Enderby will be followed by a tea and reception at Enderby Senior Citizens’ Hall on Friday, September 30th at 11 a.m. with Jack Bowers the funeral celebrant.
Email condolences may be sent to Minnie’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com
Funeral arrangements are in the care of Bowers Funeral Service, Salmon Arm. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Minnie’s name may be sent to the charity of your choice.