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ASTA WESTBERG

There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute here and now.

The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is—a miracle and unrepeatable.

—Author Unknown

The family of Asta Leathe Westberg sadly announce her passing on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010, at the Rainy River Health Centre in Rainy River, Ont.

Asta was born Aug. 22, 1928 in Bergland, Ont. to Nils and Anna Trapness, and in 1930, the family moved to White Bear, Sask., where they remained until 1947.

After the return to Bergland, Asta worked in Sioux Narrows, Ont. for Dalseg’s Houseboats (1948-49) and Skyer’s Camp (1950).

She married John Westberg in 1951 in Duluth, Mn. and they resided at the Westberg homestead, “The White House,” in Bergland until 1956, when they moved to the Graphic Lake area, south of Kenora, Ont., where John and his business partner had secured a logging contract.

In 1957, they moved to another bush camp, affectionately called “Dogpatch,” in the Kilvert-Dogtooth Lakes area. While there, Asta taught her sons through correspondence classes until the family returned to Bergland in 1961 so the boys could attend school.

They purchased property on the south side of the Bergland bridge and started a boat rental and live bait business, catering to visitors to Lake of the Woods Provincial Park.

They built a new house in 1963 and Asta “kept the home fires burning” while John continued to work in the bush for several years. And during the 28 years of operating the minnow business, countless friends were made from all across Canada and the United States.

Asta was active in the community, being a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church Ladies Aide, the Lake of the Woods Women’s Institute, and was a school trustee from 1966-68, during which time the new McCrosson-Tovell School was built.

She also served on the Bergland recreation board for several years, and was a key member of the Little Grassy River Research Committee. For the better part of three years, the history book project became a part of her life as she tirelessly wrote letters, poured over documents, and sorted through pictures.

Her hard work and dedication were instrumental in the completion of the book, “Water Under the Bridge,” and the success of the 1994 McCrosson-Tovell School reunion.

As was typical of her, she waved off any praise for the achievement, but her sense of pride and accomplishment was evident at the unveiling of the first edition of “Water Under the Bridge.”

After John’s passing, Asta remained at the home place in Bergland for the next 16 years, maintaining her yard of beautiful flowers and planting a small garden. She was a familiar sight to all as she took her evening walks to the corner, or in the winter on the ice of the Little Grassy River.

She was a kind and caring friend who always had time to visit over a cup of coffee, and could be depended on to keep an eye on a neighbour’s house if they were away.

Throughout the 1990s, she was able to travel and went to Nashville, Tenn. to visit John’s nieces, and also took several trips with her sister, Arlene, visiting friends and relatives in British Columbia, Seattle, Wash., Manitoba, and Minnesota.

But she didn’t have to travel far to enjoy herself; going in the boat down the river on a warm summer day or for a drive with her brother, Oswald, gave her just as much pleasure as a long journey.

Over the years, she returned numerous times to Saskatchewan and the Prairies held a special place in her heart, but she was always glad to come home to Bergland. The beauty of the natural wonders captivated her, birds and flowers in particular.

Throughout the winters, it didn’t matter how cold it was or how much snow was on the ground, she made sure the bird feeders were filled. And in the spring, she watched and listened for the first crow, robin, and gull, then recorded it on the calendar in case someone asked.

If she came across a flower or plant she couldn’t identify, she would look it up in one of her many nature books to satisfy her own curiosity or pass the knowledge on to family and friends.

Her granddaughters and great-grandchildren brought special happiness to her and she would go to any lengths to entertain them, including playing in the leaves with them, dancing to rock music, or riding a bike around the yard just to make them laugh.

Due to failing health, she moved to Fort Frances, Ont. in August, 2006, then to the Rainy River Health Centre in April, 2007.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband, John (1990); son, Bob (2004); and son, John (2005).

She is survived by her son, Rick (Cindy); daughter, Joy (Tim); granddaughters, Christina (Tremayne) and Samantha; and great-grandchildren, Dylon and Leathe.

Also surviving are brother, Oswald, and sister, Arlene; along with several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

As per her wishes, cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

If friends so desire, in memoriam donations may be made to the Canadian Diabetes Association or the Rainy River Health Centre Memorial Fund c/o Northridge Funeral Home, P.O. Box 89, Emo, Ont., P0W 1E0.

Online condolences may be offered at www.northridgefuneralhome.com

Mother was tired and weary;

Weary with toil and with pain,

Put by her glasses and tea cup

She will not need them again.

Into Heaven’s mansions she entered,

Never to sigh or to weep.

After long years with life’s struggles,

Mother has fallen asleep.