We Remember


September 12, 1930 — December 3, 2023

It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our mother and grandmother, Elsie May Holkestad, on Sunday, December 3, 2023, at the age of 93.

Elsie was born in Swindon, England on September 12, 1930, to the late Ernest and Elsie Holder.  Predeceased by her husband Helge and daughter Sharon, Mom leaves behind her daughter Maralynn; son Grant (Debbie); grandchildren Carmen, Darin, Graham, Sean, Kirsten, Todd, Jeremy, and Christopher; along with ten great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.  Elsie also leaves behind her sister Doris (Robert) in England; her nephew Brian (Tarryn) in Surrey; and numerous nephews and nieces abroad.

On July 29, 1953, Elsie completed her training with the Swindon Group of Hospitals and received medals from the Nursing Council for England and Wales for achieving S.R.N. status. Along with another friend from nursing training, Elsie immigrated to Canada, heading for new adventures.  Initially arriving in Toronto and realizing that employment was key, Elsie applied for and received a Certificate of Registration as a Registered Nurse from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, on May 21, 1957.  In 1958, while in Vancouver, she was recruited by the former Miller Bay Indian Hospital, where, while playing badminton, she and Helge met and fell in love.  In 1960, Mom had an opportunity to transfer to the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital where she was officially registered with the Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia and became the Head Operating nurse.  We are very proud of her remarkable career in health care as the well-earned commendations she received will testify.

Although Dad was very fond of introducing Mom by saying “he taught her how to boil water”, she became very proficient at making Norwegian recipes and putting together amazing dinners from leftovers, as our hospitable Dad often invited people to dinner on the spur of the moment.  Mom was a fantastic knitter, making beautiful sweaters, hats, and socks for family members. Mom loved being “useful”, a character trait that was central to the fabric of her life. She enjoyed playing bridge, scrabble, cribbage, and completing sudoku puzzles.  She was also a competitive player in table tennis, badminton, and tennis and loved playing those sports.

In 1987, Mom retired, and together with Dad, they enjoyed their daily walks along the waterfront in Prince Rupert, playing golf, badminton, and tennis with their friends, travelling to England to watch Wimbledon and to other destinations where the sunshine was guaranteed.  They enjoyed visiting their children and their families in Edmonton, Vancouver, and Terrace and having them visit Prince Rupert.  Their retirement afforded them time to work on projects at their cabin at Lakelse Lake near Terrace and enjoy all the benefits of a “cottage lifestyle”.

After Dad passed away, Mom wanted to be closer to family, and during a visit to the Okanagan, where her son Grant lived, she purchased a condo in Kelowna in 2011.  She soon became involved in senior activities offered through the Parkinson’s Senior Centre and the Kelowna Society for Learning.  Her interests allowed new friendships to form and with kind neighbours readily available to assist, Mom’s support group grew.  She particularly enjoyed nature walks, garden tours, and strolls along Okanagan Lake.  Mom delighted in attending the livestream operas from New York’s Met, a pastime she had previously enjoyed in early adulthood in London, England.

As time marched on, Mom’s health started to decline, eventually leading to her becoming a resident at the Spring Valley Care Home to receive advanced care.  We would like to sincerely thank Mom’s caregivers and Dr. Larry Bobyn, for the excellent compassionate service they gave her during the latter part of her journey through life and, her neighbour Vera Summers, for her kind support throughout Mom’s declining health.

Mom, now together with Dad, will be forever in our hearts.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

Share with Others:

Share on Facebook
Share Via Email