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Jennie Shellian

(Janina KRAWIEC)
14 Oct 1925 – 09 Oct 2021


Jennie Shellian was born Janina Krawiec in Nowosielec, Poland on October 14, 1925. Her parents were Agnieszka and Wojciech Krawiec. Jennie had 5 sisters and 1 brother. When Jennie was only 14 years old Poland was occupied by the Nazis and Jennie’s family home was burned to the ground. Jennie’s father and brother were taken to a concentration camp, Jennie and her sister were sent to Germany to work as forced labor on a farm. Jennie’s mother and the 3 small children walked to the border of Czechoslovakia to reach safety.

After the war Jennie was housed in a refugee camp where she was trained as a seamstress. An opportunity arose to move to Canada and Jennie arrived in Banff, Alberta where she worked as a cleaner in the Banff Hospital. There, she met Joe Shellian. They were married and took up residence in the little mining hamlet of Canmore, close to Joe’s family. Jennie worked from home as a seamstress, and was a familiar figure working in her beloved garden where she grew beautiful displays of godetia and lavatera flowers each year. Sadly, Joe passed away suddenly, in 1978, leaving Jennie widowed for over 40 years.

Jennie was incredibly independent and carried on in the family home. She accepted whatever life handed her, and cheerfully made the best of it! She was environmentally friendly before anyone had ever heard the term. Jennie saved everything finding new uses for it all. She even cut plastic grocery bags into strips and used them to crochet new, strong, shopping bags.

Jennie loved garage sales and was always on the lookout for used clothing in good condition that she could tailor to fit her ever growing family in Poland. She took great joy in making up those parcels to send back to Poland.

Jennie was very physically active and even painted her own fence, garage and exterior house in her mid 80’s because she thought it was too expensive to pay a painter. She never held a driver’s license and enjoyed walking to the town centre every day to get her mail, buy groceries and pay her bills.

Jennie shared her talents and time generously with friends and neighbours. She loved to plant the flowers at the Sacred Heart Church; she baked her famous blueberry bran muffins for anyone who enjoyed them [everyone did!]. Jennie loved healthy food and baked her own bread; she made her own raspberry jam from her raspberry patch; she only drank boiled water, saying that when they tell you to boil water, it is already 3 days too late!

When Jennie was in the Peter Lougheed Hospital for a cancer surgery, she was quick to tell the staff that no one could get better eating that food! Her actual words were “aye yie,yie, what can they do to porridge to make it taste so bad???”

Jennie passed away October 09, 2021, just five days before her 96th birthday. Jennie would want us to express her deepest gratitude to Dr. Kirk for the excellent care she received since he began his Canmore practice. Also, much gratitude to the Canmore Hospital Staff for the compassionate care she received at the end of her of her life. Thank you to Father Nathan for his pastoral care and to all the friends and relatives who were part of Jennie’s life.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Golden Eagle Extended Care or a charity of your choice. A Funeral Mass will be Celebrated for Jennie’s life when we can all gather together again.