Obituary for Phyllis Kmet
Phyllis Gertrude Letnes Kmet was the sixth of seven children born to Martin Christianson Letnes and Maria Bergliota Aarvig. When she was born, the family lived in Port Essington, a cannery town, on the Skeena River in BC. Phyllis’ father, a Cannery foreman, died in a drowning accident when she was sixteen. Following her father’s death, the family moved to Prince Rupert where Phyllis met and married her first husband. Their little girl was born in 1938 and only lived for a few hours. The marriage soon ended. One evening, she noticed a very handsome young man. She soon discovered his name was George Kmet and that he was from Saskatchewan. Thus began a relationship that lasted 62 years until George’s passing in 2005. When they met, George was nineteen (one year below the drinking age) and Phyllis was twenty. She went into the bar with their friends, and George stayed outside. At least that’s the story us kids were told!
Mom was seven months pregnant with Judith when Dad sent her by train to his mother in Stenen, Saskatchewan. Dad followed by car. Judith arrived in Feb 1942, five weeks early, a little preemie, only five pounds, her head the size of a Christmas orange. When Judith was one year old, Dad made the decision to travel to the west coast to find work. He began working at the Victoria Machinery Depot, and pregnant Phyllis and little Judith travelled by train to meet him there. Linda was born six months later in 1943. Carol was born in 1946.
In 1956, we moved north to Dawson Creek. Mom and Dad loved their new home and the community. Phyllis will be remembered by many as having worked at Sandy’s Shoes, Wades Style Shop, Sterling’s Ladies Wear, Colliers Jewelers and Wilks Jewelers. She was a graceful fixture at the Dawson Mall, where she managed St. Clair Fashions until her retirement. She was always perfectly “put together.”
The main highlight of her life, next to dancing, was the cabin at One Island Lake. Mom and Dad made a wonderful home away from home at the lake. There are pictures of Mom hand feeding the squirrels and ducks. Even a late night snap of the flying squirrels swooping in for a snack. I remembered the excitement every spring when Mom realized the swans had returned to their nesting spot behind the island.
Mom began her love of dancing in the kitchen in Port Essington. Phyllis’ mother taught all seven of her children to dance. Oh, it was her passion to the end. While she lived in Northview Assisted Living, Mom couldn’t wait for Thursday evenings to roll around! Thursday meant live entertainment and dancing! In 2012, Mom fell in the parking lot and broke her hip. Dr. Aganaba made sure to repair that hip so she could continue to dance. And dance she did!
In the early fall of 2016, Mom began talking of moving to Rotary Manor. We tried to talk her out of it at first, but the move happened in October. Mom had made the right decision. Her health began to fail.
On July 31, 2017 at the age of 97 1/2, Phyllis danced into heaven with Carol and Linda by her side. Judith was so glad that her daughter Kathy Bell, granddaughter Ashley Smith and great-granddaughter Kassidy Smith made the long trip from Nanaimo for Mom’s last Mother’s Day and some very special five-generation photos.
She was predeceased by her Sweetie George; her baby girl; her parents Martin and Maria; her six siblings Edward, Agnes, Clarence, twins Gordon and Gladys, and Norma; her granddaughter Monica; and her sisters and brothers-in-law.
Phyllis leaves to mourn her daughters Judith (William Munns), Linda, and Carol; her grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and fifteen great-great-grandchildren. She also leaves numerous nieces and nephews, and special friends Murray Logan, Terri Carruthers, and staff at Northview and The Manor.
At Phyllis’ request, she was cremated and no formal service will be held. Her family and friends are invited to make donations in her memory to the Step Up N’ Ride Society, 105-10419 10 Street, Dawson Creek, BC, V1G 4T9.