We Remember

NYBO, Elaine “Denise”

January 12, 1935 — November 15, 2023

Denise Nybo, 88, passed away surrounded by family on November 15, 2023. She was loved by more people than she could imagine and will be missed.

Denise had a no-nonsense schoolteacher style and a fun-loving attitude. She was serious and silly, generous and frugal, pragmatic and imaginative, loving and indifferent, confident and shy. Denise was born in Westlock, AB at the end of the Depression. As a child, she helped her aunt deliver the mail in a horse-drawn cart and dreamed of joining the Air Force as a radio operator. Eventually, she left home for the University of Alberta to get her teaching certificate. She returned to Westlock and taught in a one-room country school.

In 1956, she met and married Donald Nybo from Saskatchewan. They began their married life in Edmonton. Over the years they lived with their children in multiple cities across SK, AB, and BC, before retiring in the Okanagan. Her three daughters grew into strong, creative women partly due to Denise’s tutelage on finances, responsibility, and fierce independence.

While life threw a lot at Denise, she kept going. She was an incredibly determined woman and, in her own words, feisty. The woman knew how to stretch a dollar in more ways than you can imagine!

Denise had a preference for overcooking everything. She made up for that by being an incredible baker and made the best butter tarts in Western Canada, (or so her family claimed.) She even made her own Tia Maria for the holiday season. Her home was always filled with music, the radio tuned to top 40 hits she’d sing along to. She loved to dance to big band music and taught her girls how to jive and swing when the mood struck. She also played cards, and cheered for her favourite curling team, with abandon. She loved babies and dogs and right up until the end her face lit up when they were near.

During her last days, she ate a lot of ice cream. When asked why, she replied, “It reminds me of my childhood. At the end of the week, if we had enough money, they’d send me to the creamery to get a slab of ice cream for dessert. I’d run home with it, and we’d all share it.” During the last few weeks of her life, Denise ate ice cream for almost every meal and enjoyed every last bite.

She is predeceased by her parents, Jeanne and Harold “Bo” St. John, her brother Adelbert “Del” St. John, her daughter, Denise Elaine Nybo and her husband, Don Nybo. She is survived by her three daughters, Darcy Nybo, DeVera Nybo (Ed Middleton) and Darriel Price (Gregory Price); as well as her sister, Darlene Stevenson (Ernie Perry); sisters-in-law Thelma Grant; Cheryl Nybo and Erika St. John; dozens of nieces, nephews, and many great nieces and nephews.

She leaves behind five grandchildren: Nicole Peters (Darcy), Miaka Haupapa, Janai Haupapa, Max Haupapa (DeVera) and Violette Price (Darriel). She was blessed enough to meet and enjoy her great-grandchildren, Atli (Janai), Guinevere (Nicole) and Rehua (Miaka).

The family thanks the doctors, nurses, staff, and volunteers at Hospice House, Central Okanagan for their kindness, especially those who brought her extra ice cream.

It is said that you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second when you are remembered for the last time. Denise didn’t want a funeral or celebration. Instead, we ask the next time you enjoy some ice cream or look at a cloud and see something magical, or feel like dancing, say her name and smile. That way, she lives on.

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

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