Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Doreen Alfreda Ryning (nee Crozier) passed away on the morning of Tuesday, July 25, 2023. Her weakened heart and lungs could not keep functioning as they should, and Doreen just didn’t want to struggle anymore at this journey called life. And a fine journey it was, beginning in Calgary, Alberta on October 27, 1930. Her adventures took her to Purple Springs, Alberta as an infant where her father, Alfred H. Crozier (1892-1951) bought grain for the local elevator company on the rail line. As a child, Doreen (Deen) and her older sisters, Thelma (1923-2010) and Juanita (1929-2011), attended primary school in Taber, before moving back to Calgary in 1938. She was further educated at Sunnyside Elementary, Hillhurst Junior High, and Crescent Heights Senior High schools. Their mother Robena Kathleen Violet Crozier (nee Fry) (1894-1985) worshiped at Hillhurst United Church and the girls participated in Girl Guides, C.G.I.T., Hillhurst Young Peoples, and Canadian Youth Hosteling activities. Exciting ventures on their one-speed bicycles took them to Banff and Field and as far south as Parkland; journeys most young people today wouldn’t dream to start let alone endure. Post-secondary education found Doreen enrolled in the Calgary General Hospital School of Nursing for three years. She had to complete that in 1952 before her mother would allow her to get married to a handsome young student boarding at the Crozier household. George H. Ryning (1922-2012) had completed his Aeronautical Engineering Program at P.I.T.A. (now S.A.I.T.) and was working for A.V. Roe in Malton, Ontario, and Canadian Pacific Air Lines (Repair) in Calgary. They were married on November 29, 1952, and enjoyed 60 years of married life, while raising five boys in the Calgary district of Mountview/Winston Heights. Doug, Ken, Gord, Howie, and Brian (1962-2019) benefitted from Doreen’s sense of discipline and fairness, were nurtured by her love and care for children and were supported all during their adult lives.
The Ryning family took the journey of a lifetime in 1971 and lived for 4 years in Zambia. Doreen became very involved in the Y.W.C.A. women’s programs and helped with their fundraising efforts by procuring and selling indigenous arts and crafts. It is through these connections that her love of sewing and quilt-making blossomed. She taught Sunday school at a local farming village and encouraged family nutrition projects. Family safaris to Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, and Botswana broadened her horizons and peaked her love of travelling. Even after returning to Canada the travel bug continued to bite as Doreen and George jetted, cruised, or bussed to China, Tibet, Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Britain, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, with stopovers in the Netherlands, Egypt, and Malta. Several of the states in the Northwestern U.S.A. and all provinces in Canada were visited at least once. Along this journey, Doreen welcomed three daughters-in-law, Edith (Ken), Shirley (Gord), and Linda (Howie). Four grandchildren, Alicia (Steve McKee), Oliver, Kevin, and Jesse; and two great-grandchildren, Reid, and Ella, blessed their grandma’s home and were nurtured by Doreen’s and George’s love.
The Women’s Ministries of the UCW was enhanced by Doreen’s involvement in organizing and promoting Women’s conferences across Alberta and B.C. She was an active participant in her CGH Nurse’s Alumni Class of ‘52 activities and reunions. If a quilt was not being assembled in the sewing room or hung up for display at the Calgary Stampede, then Doreen was doggin’ it and needed to run down to the fabric store for more supplies. Photography was also a passion of Doreen’s. Many well-labeled albums of colour prints document her life’s journeys and extended family get-togethers. She especially excelled in closeups of wildflowers in every country, province, or state she visited. Reconnecting with her lifelong friends and distant relatives was a priority for Doreen. Celebrating birthdays and special holidays with family was always encouraged. Swimming, cross-country skiing, and skyline hiking were great pastimes too. Did we mention needlepoint? So, you see Doreen was always on the go at all milestones on the road of an active life.
In these later years setbacks in health caused by a knee surgery having to be redone, sciatic nerve pain and hereditary heart weakness slowed Doreen up. She soldiered on in the family home on 6th Street North East, taking care of her yard and flower beds. She gave up a multi-cup-a-day coffee habit only to become addicted to Downton Abbey DVDs and Michael Hope CDs. Giving up the family home of 67 years was one of the hardest transitions for Doreen as she moved to long-term care facilities at Bethany Calgary and AgeCare Skypointe. She missed her neighbours and friends popping in to chat and share a snack. The lack of independence was tough to endure on this final leg of her journey. Staff at the nursing homes were very friendly and helpful but the change in accommodation and lifestyle was just too much to bear.
Doreen will be lovingly and respectfully remembered by her family, both close and far-flung. Her friends remark on what a dear friend and gracious lady she had been to them. All who met her were impressed by her talent and thoughtfulness. May she now rest in peace at the close of a journey well taken. A Celebration of Doreen’s journey will be held in Calgary at the Winston Golf Club Ballroom at 2502 – 6th Street N.E. on September 1, 2023, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.