Heather Gertrude (Kieser) McKee Obituary
Heather McKee of Rowley/Drumheller beloved wife of the late Larry McKee, passed away peacefully in the Drumheller Hospital on February 19, 2022 at the age of 81yrs.
Heather was a woman of utmost strength, experiencing things most of us never will.
She was born in East London, South Africa on May 18, 1940 to a loving family of mother Ruth and father Bernard (Barney). She was predeceased by her parents, 2 sisters Dorothy and Shirley and left one surviving baby brother Michael Kieser of South Africa.
She took her nursing and midwifery schooling at Germiston Hospital and then decided to take a trip of a lifetime with her good friend Rosalie MacFarlane while they worked their way and explored the world. Their first stop was in Saskatchewan for their first Canadian experience. She often remembered arriving in a blizzard there, not knowing how dangerous it could be at the time and marveling at the snow which they had never seen before.
Their next stop was Drumheller where her friend Rosalie found a husband. She thought that was great but still planned on continuing with her travelling journey, but Rosalie had other thoughts. She wasn’t about to let her friend leave her, so kept setting her up with dates, one of which was Larry McKee and the plan worked. They took hands and never looked back.
Rooting her life in the Rowley area after marrying Larry Dec 3, 1966 where her farmed on the family farm, she worked her entire life in the Drumheller Hospital. She had many roles as staff nurse, supervisor, Director of Nursing, and later on as associate and executive Director of the then Health Authority 5. She was loved and admired in her career by many people she worked with and patients/families she served. There are so many lovely stories these people continue to share to this day.
She spent many years planning and designing the current Drumheller Hospital with Jim Ramsbottom, building it with practical ideas that the previous one lacked and forecasting the future growth needs of the community (all while keeping in budget!) When the government of the day wanted to build the hospital up by the penitentiary, she and Jim took on the Minister of Health to get it back into the valley.
She was blessed to have 2 children Laurel and Mike whom she loved. She always supported their interests and education throughout her life as well as her adored her grandchildren, Brandon, Justin, Corbin, David, Billy and Samantha all of whom she would proudly brag about to whomever would listen. She also left numerous loved nieces and nephews and their families around the world.
She was an avid volunteer in the Rowley community with her family and surrounding areas, serving on many different health boards, with the Association of Registered Nurses as well as being a proud member and executive of the Order of the Eastern Star. She loved Skiing, curling, tennis and watching all kinds of sports as well as spending time with family and friends. She was always the organizer and leader in so many things, but also took the time to support the spark she saw in others, encouraging them to advance and develop in their skills under her tutelage.
Soon after her retirement she suddenly and tragically lost her beloved husband and they were unable to spend their golden years together. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her interests. She stated she was “getting too lazy” after retirement so decided to take a retirement job working at the newly opened Drumheller Walmart running and organizing the pharmacy department before they got a pharmacist in place. She liked the new challenges it brought.
She spend the last 10+yrs living next to her good friend Joanne Telford. They spend many days together, travelling to OES events or just enjoying each other’s company. Such a treasure to have great friends.
Thank you to everyone who supported her over the years, and have expressed condolences and beautiful stories of how she touched their lives. Please continue to share these in an online memorial book you can access at: http://www.kudoboard.com/boards/dT6QWsmu
A celebration of Heather’s life will be held in the spring. Please look for an announcement about the date/time to be held in Rowley.
A memorial is also being set up in her name at the Drumheller Hospital Foundation and donations would be gratefully accepted there to the betterment of the career she loved.