Helen Sibbald (Ross)
Helen Sibbald died of a broken heart January 5th 2018, a mere 15 days after the passing of her beloved husband of almost 70 years, Bill. The pair had been living in relative good health and comfort the past two years in Fairview Personal Care Home. Helen Mae Ross was born in Elstow, Sask. on April 25, 1926. She was the ninth of eleven children born to James and Isabella Ross. Helen was ten years old when the whole family, their household effects, livestock, farm equipment and Model A car packed into a pair of rail box cars and moved to Manitoba. Helen truly enjoyed working with the cattle and horses on the ranch and showed the family’s purebred Shorthorn cattle at many local fairs. She attended Spring Valley school with her brothers and sisters in her earlier years. In order to get a high school education Helen rode her horse to Kemnay and boarded during the week before riding back home most weekends. Helen married William Roy "Bill" Sibbald, December 31, 1947 at the Ross ranch. They moved across the valley to the Sibbald farm and immediately started their 60-year farming career. Life on the Sibbald farm was busy. There were always people of all ages coming, going, boarding, working, playing or eating at their farm. Helen cooked for a very large crew and grew all their own vegetables in a large garden. All animals on the farm were very special to Helen and she was the boss when it came to decisions about the health, breeding programs, training and overall care of the pets and livestock. Riding, driving and spending time with her horses was pure joy and pleasure for Helen. She taught generations to ride, showed at local fairs and attended trail rides for many years at Clear Lake, Saskatoon, Pembina Valley, Brandon Hills, Camp Hughes, as well as her home area, Assiniboine River Valley. Children of friends, nieces and nephews spent many memorable summers working in the fields, learning to drive trucks and tractors, horseback riding, gardening, cooking, swimming in the river, playing and just growing up under the gentle guidance of Aunt Helen and Uncle Bill. Music was another one of her favourite things. Many children will remember the days of helping Aunt Helen in the kitchen with baking or meal preparation while classical music flowed through the stereo. In her 50’s Helen started taking cello lessons and soon began playing with the Rivers Orchestra. After that group disbanded, she travelled to Brandon faithfully to play with the Brandon Community Orchestra. After their move into Brandon in 2006 there was not a music or arts concert they missed. Ballet, symphony, soloists, instrumentalists, barbershop groups, choirs, festival recitals were all on their weekly schedule. Helen and Bill were always generous people; helping friends, family members and neighbours in any way they could, be that financially, baking goods or cooking meals, helping neighbours with field work or livestock, or boarding ministers, school teachers, children and pets. Over this past year that charitable and generous tradition was established into the Bill and Helen Sibbald Legacy Fund with Rivers and Area Community Foundation. In this fashion, their spirit, generosity and love of the land will live on while helping others. Helen was predeceased by her loving husband Bill; her parents James and Isabella Ross; sisters Mary Lindberg, Bella Ross, Rose Madder, Mable Kelly and Jean Pound; brothers James Ross, Alex Ross, Dave Ross and Don Ross. She leaves to mourn her sister Margaret Skinner, sisters-in-law Muriel Sprenger and Kaye McFerron and numerous nieces, nephews, friends and neighbours. The Service to Celebrate the Life of Helen Sibbald was held at Trinity United Church on Saturday, April 28th. Interment for Bill and Helen Sibbald followed at the Alexander Cemetery. Donations in Helen’s memory may be made to Rivers and Area Community Foundation to be directed to Bill and Helen Sibbald Legacy Fund, Box 714, Rivers, MB. R0K 1X0.