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Victoria Janzer

Victoria Janzer

Born In: Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada
Born: September 18th, 1927

Passed in: Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada
Passed on: January 22nd, 2012

Victoria Janzer was born in Dauphin, Man., on Sept. 18, 1927, a first-generation Canadian, to Annie (Yaremko) and Dmytro Senchuk. She was the youngest of 5 children, and with 2 older sisters already helping in the kitchen, Vicki was an outside girl. As was typical of the time, she grew up on a small farm site, without power, running water or phone. When her older brothers were overseas at war, Vicki worked outside with her father. One of her many memories was riding one her father’s draught horses, wearing shorts and sitting on a gunny sack, in the hot Manitoba sun, while her father handled the potato scuffler. She was a spirited child and was asked to leave CGIT for her nonconformist nature. Vicki found school work easy and always brought an excellent report card home. Her father was always proud of her, and signed her report cards with a flourish. She graduated from high school at the top of her class, with marks that earned her the Governor General’s Award. At that time, Grade 11 was the last grade of school, unless you were going on to university.
Vicki then attended Little’s Business School in Dauphin. After completing her courses there, she started working at the Bank of Nova Scotia in Dauphin during the day, and as the cashier in the box office of the Gaiety Theatre in the evening. It was at the theatre that she met Greg Janzer. Greg worked for the theatre company and was sent to deal with some financial irregularities at that theatre and to fire the manager. After the box office closed one evening, Greg called Vicki in to the manager’s office and asked her to count the evening’s receipts in front of him. She threw the cash box at him, and told him that he could count it himself if he didn’t trust her. Greg had always liked strong, assertive women! They were married in 1952.
From Dauphin, Vicki and Greg eventually ended up in Dawson Creek and then settled in Pouce Coupe in 1955. Vicki worked for the Bank of Nova Scotia in Pouce Coupe for many years. For various reasons, the manager was unable to perform his duties, so Vicki did his job. Head office in Calgary told Vicki that they knew she was doing the manager’s job, but said that they were unable to offer the manager’s job to her because she was a woman. This didn’t sit too well with Vicki, so she looked for a better job opportunity.
In 1958, Vicki and Greg had a daughter, Janice, born at the Pouce Coupe General Hospital.
Vicki was the Village Clerk for the Village of Pouce Coupe for nearly ten years, until 1968. She was the only office staff, and was responsible for everything from determining taxes, issuing water bills, accounting, to selling dog licenses. At some point, she had an opportunity to compare her wages with the village clerks from other Peace Country villages, and realized that she was making less than they were. When she asked the mayor about a raise so she would receive a comparable salary, he told her that she didn’t need any more money, since she had a husband. This didn’t sit well with Vicki, either.
She started looking for a job that would pay both genders in an equitable manner, and realized that teaching did. She started teaching business courses at Frank Ross Junior Secondary under a letter of permission, as she began taking evening classes to get her grade 12, and evening and summer school courses to complete her first two years of university. The first time Vicki stepped foot into a university she was 40 years old. Greg was very proud of her and supported her in her decisions. In 1970, Vicki, Greg and Janice moved to Victoria, so Vicki could do her professional year at the University of Victoria. Greg took a year off work and kept house, so Vicki could concentrate on her studies. After that academic year, the family returned home to Pouce and Vicki resumed teaching at Frank Ross.
In January 1972, Greg died after a brief illness, leaving Vicki and Janice to look after each other. Vicki always took her job of parenting seriously, and never stopped being Janice’s Mom.
While teaching, Vicki served as alderman for the Village of Pouce Coupe for several terms, and was one of the volunteers instrumental in the development of Tremblay House.
Vicki had cancer in 1975, and set out to beat it with determination, since she still had not finished her job of rearing her daughter. Vicki moved schools in Sept. 1975 and started teaching business courses at South Peace Senior Secondary.
Vicki completed her Bachelor of Education Degree at UVic through summer school, and graduated with a First Class degree in 1978. Vicki always credited her father with instilling the love of formal learning in her.
Vicki retired from teaching in 1986. After staying in Pouce for a while, she moved to Chetwynd, where Janice and her husband Dan Chmelyk were teaching. She lived there for 6 years, minding her granddaughters Danya and Jocelyn at various times and becoming a regular at the Public Library and A&W. She loved to travel, and her trips included several to Hawaii, Las Vegas, London and Paris.
Vicki moved Dawson when she realized that she no longer wanted to drive between Chetwynd and Pouce to visit her friends at the Seniors’ in Pouce. The traffic was too heavy and the speed limit of 100 km was too high for her. Vicki finally settled in Selwyn Place, whose location suited her very well, so she could walk almost everywhere she needed to go. In 2010 she moved to Surerus Place in Chetwynd so Janice could look after her better.
Vicki lived briefly with Jan and Dan, May through August 2011, and then moved to Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek. She died in her sleep on Jan. 22, 2012, at 84 years old.
Vicki always felt that she was lucky in life; she felt fortunate to be born a Canadian and to have had so many opportunities in life. She attributed her successes to hard work and being in the right place at the right time.
She was predeceased by her husband, Greg, parents Annie and Dmytro, brothers Michael and Peter, sisters Min and Jean, and nephew Reg. She leaves her daughter Janice (Dan Chmelyk) of Chetwynd, granddaughters Danya (Matt McKeown) of Edmonton and Jocelyn of Calgary, nieces Joyce Steele and Lorraine Bradawaski, nephews Ernie Bradawaski, Gordon Senchuk, and Wayne Grasley, great-niece Susan Ellis and great-great-niece Lara Ellis.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memorium can be made in the name of Victoria Janzer to either Surerus Place in Chetwynd or Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek. At Victoria’s request, no funeral will be held.

 

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