Willa is survived by her sons, Cheynne (Lori) Keith and Stuart Keith; her grandchildren Ryan Keith (Karine) and Stephanie Keith (Tiger); her great-grandchildren, Mack and Robby Keith. She is also survived by her sisters Marilyn Clearwater and Karen Funke; brothers Bill (Marilyn), Blake (Racille) and Bruce (Odette) and brother-in-law Gordon Aiken; God-children Shelley Skwara and Dean North. She is survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Willa was predeceased by her husband, Murray Keith; her parents Clint and Dorothy North, her mother-in-law, Betty Keith, her brothers and sister-in-law, Michael Funke, Doug Keith and Joan Aiken.
Willa was the eldest of six children of Clint and Dorothy North. She was born in Dauphin and raised in Carman, Manitoba.
In 1962, Willa and Murray were married and moved to Winnipeg to work and raise their family. Willa was a teacher and later a guidance counsellor with a great part of her career spent at St. John’s High School.
Willa made friends easily and kept them forever as evidenced when she was young and part of a group called “the silly six and associates”. To this day, they remain steadfast friends. Her Roseisle, Altamont and Miami friends were all very dear to her.
Willa loved to travel. Many camping and skiing trips were taken with Murray, Cheynne and Stuart, often taking along one of her brothers or sisters. There were also many trips taken with her mom and her sisters with Greece being a favourite. She travelled throughout Canada, United States. Europe and Egypt. In later years, she also went to Cuba and the Dominican Republic with Cheynne and other friends.
One of her greatest joys was becoming “Nana” to Ryan and Stephanie and later Mack and Robby. She was able to support and watch them in their many activities from sports to Christmas concerts. She took Ryan and Stephanie skiing, to Disney World and many Theatre productions. Ryan and Stephanie spent many summer vacations with her at Birch. She loved to watch Mack and Robby play hockey and would go and watch as many of their games as possible.
Willa participated in many activities throughout her life including golf, curling, and cribbage tournaments. She and Murray loved to dance. As her eyesight failed and she was no longer able to golf and curl, she turned to watching games shows on TV. Her trivia knowledge was exceptional and she “competed” with Cheynne every night at Jeopardy. She never missed watching a curling game or a golf tournament and really enjoyed watching the Scotties and the Brier this year. During the last few months, she discovered binge watching Netflix with Lori.
Willa loved flowers. Her home always had many plants and almost always had a bouquet of cut flowers. When she was living at Birch, her flower gardens were one of her biggest passions and even after she moved to Carman, she loved to tour the flower gardens at Birch with Stuart. She loved pictures. Her walls were covered with pictures of family and friends, as well as various types of artwork.
It has been very difficult to sum up Willa’s life in a few words. Willa led her life on her terms from beginning to end. She was always optimistic and had a great outlook on life. She will be missed by many friends and her family.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice. Willa supported many charities and always wanted to help everyone.