of Alberta

DYCK, Florence Agnes


Dyck, Florence Agnes

January 8, 1926 – January 23, 2016 

Florence Dyck (nee Buhr), beloved wife, mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully in the early morning of Saturday January 23rd, aged 90 years. Florence was the youngest of seven children born to Susanna and Peter Buhr of Gretna, Manitoba. Growing up in Gretna, in southern Manitoba, after attending Mennonite Collegiate Institute, Florence entered the nursing program at St. Boniface Hospital. Having found her vocation, Florence became a very professional, caring and beloved nurse. She created life-long friendships with her nursing colleagues and they have carried on meeting each other at regular reunions even to this last summer. Her choice was not without cost, however, as she contracted tuberculosis during her training, eventually requiring a year in the sanatorium and the loss of significant lung function. However Florence never let this limit her: she continued a full and active life of hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, skating, and her daily walk first thing in the morning. Even in her last 6 months, when she had to carry her own oxygen, she was a neighbourhood fixture on her daily walks along the path behind the home she and John built on the Bow river.

Florence used to say she would never marry someone in medicine, and definitely not a student, but on August 27th 1955 she married a medical student! Florence worked while John went to school, eventually graduating in 1961, just before they went to Congo to serve at the Gungu General Hospital. For two years Florence and John were the surgery team and were in charge of running the general hospital in Gungu. In 1963 John and Florence returned to Canada with a special package as Florence was pregnant with their first child. She gave birth to Donna in St Boniface in Oct 1964, and Peter, who they adopted in April 1965, completed their young family.

Their travels were far from over, however. They returned to Africa in 1970, first to the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi Tanzania and then two years later back to Zaire at the Institute of Tropical Medicine at Mama Yemo Hospital in Kinshasha. They had many adventures travelling in Tanzania and Zaire, and Florence loved to tell the stories of their famous camping safaris. In 1974 they moved back to Minnesota, where John had earlier trained as a pathologist, and eventually went to Spokane in 1980 and back to Canada, first to Calgary in 1982 and then in 1987 to Cranbrook. During this time Florence raised their children, volunteered in church and community groups, and enjoyed her hobbies of crochet, knitting, hiking and singing in choirs. She even played one of the witches in a Cranbrook production of Macbeth. Their final move was to Cochrane in 2003 and she and John continued to volunteer their medical services for month long trips to places such as Madagascar, Kenya and Nepal.

Florence lived life enthusiastically. She had a strong faith in God and showed this in service and kindness to all she met, whether in her role as nurse, homemaker, volunteer, regular church attender or faithful friend. She found joy in life, choosing to focus on God’s many blessings in the midst of life’s challenges. She loved to sing and be outside in nature, and her spirit and dry wit were infectious. Never shy, she would strike up conversation with everyone, making many friends and acquaintances along the way.

Florence is survived and dearly missed by her husband of 60 years, John, their children Donna Ruparell (Tinu), and Peter Dyck (Susan), their three beloved grandchildren, Kiran, Sacha and Anya Ruparell, and many nieces and nephews. Florence was predeceased by her siblings, Edwin, Hilda, John, Elmer, Esther, and Leonard.

Those wishing to pay their respects may do so at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY Chapel (Cochrane, 369 Railway Street, Cochrane, AB Tel: 1-800-661-1599), on Friday, January 29, 2016 from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Memorial Services will be held at Highland Mennonite Brethren Church (4018 Centre B St., Calgary) on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 2:30 pm.