Community pays tribute to woman killed in fire

Turner Valley: Elly Craciun loved family, friends and laughter

By: By Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012 06:00 am

Willi and Elly Craciun
Willi and Elly Craciun
photo submitted

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It would have been fitting for a card game to break out at the celebration for an 81-year-old woman who was killed in a mobile-home fire in Turner Valley earlier this month.

Approximately 210 people attended the celebration of Elly Craciun’s life at the Valley Neighbours’ Club Nov. 24 in Turner Valley. The wheelchair-bound Craciun died from her injuries on Nov. 18 in Calgary, 13 days after the fire.

“She loved a good card game — canasta, crazy eights, crib, she loved them all,” said Laura-Lynn Bromwich, the daughter of Elly and Willi Craciun, at the celebration. “Unfortunately, luck usually ran against her, especially when she was playing dad.”

Elly married Willi Craciun 47 years ago in Winnipeg. They moved to Turner Valley when Willi was hired to build the Black Diamond town council office in 1980. They lived in the Turner Valley area ever since.

Laura-Lynn said her parents were always her biggest supporters, attending many of the activities she participated in at various functions while attending Turner Valley area schools.

“Every school play, community theatre production or choir I was involved in my parents were there — often multiple times,” Bromwich said. “They always waved to let me know they were there.

“During the funny bits, I could hear mom’s unique laughter. It was wonderful to know my parents believed in me and supported me so much.”

Elly also made Laura-Lynn’s clothes when she was growing up.

“Without a doubt I had the best-dressed Cabbage Patch doll,” Bromwich said.

If the dressed-up Cabbage Patch doll made people smile, that was the whole point. Elly was a woman who loved to laugh, often at her own expense.

“Mom used to say as long as you are picking on me, you are leaving someone else alone,” Bromwich said.

She needed a good sense of humour. When they began courting in the early 1960s Willi used to joke with his future wife when she was a waitress at a Winnipeg restaurant. Willi kept on joking throughout their marriage.

The celebration of Elly’s life was attended by Ron Nobert and his two sons, Alex, 18 and Shawn, 21, who helped pull the wheelchair-bound Elly out of the burning mobile home on Nov. 5.

Laura-Lynn got to meet the Noberts for the first time at the celebration. Fighting back tears, she thanked them for giving her and her family an extra 13 days with Elly.

“The whole family is just blown away, it was just so selfless,” Bromwich said.

The Noberts were touched by Bromwich’s words.

“It made me happy,” Rob said after talking to Bromwich. “It’s relieving and nice to know they had that extra time together.”

Elly spent the last few days of her life at Foothills Hospital in Calgary — and right to the end she was thinking of others, said Willi.

“My wife was lucid right to end,” Willi said with a smile. “The nurses would tell her they were going for lunch and Elly would say: ‘Take your time. Don’t hurry your lunch.’”

bcampbell@okotoks.great


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