February 16, 1935 – January 6, 2020
On January 6, 2020, Rena Fendrick, beloved wife of the late Reub Fendrick and loving mother of Robert and Debra, passed away in her 84th year.
Rena lived a remarkable life, starting with her birth on February 16, 1935 at home on the family farm during an epic prairie snowstorm. She was the much loved middle child of her parents, Henry and Lillian Maki and was often the peacemaker between her siblings, John and Marlene and Darrell and Beverly.
Rena enjoyed growing up on the farm, working hard and playing outside and especially riding her horse or cutter to school. When her family moved into town, Rena finished high school and became a telephone operator, not surprisingly, quickly rising to become supervisor.
It was in Wetaskiwin, in 1956, that Rena captured the heart of Reub, the handsome RCMP constable, newly transferred south from the Arctic. They moved North shortly after their wedding a few months after meeting and so began a life of adventure and enduring love for the next 62 years.
They lived first in Fort Norman and then Cambridge Bay and Inuvik before moving “south” to Whitehorse in 1965. The early postings were remote and short on services and niceties but Rena always created a welcoming and loving home wherever she went.
Rena was a member of a group of women, unique in time and place. While their RCMP husbands were away for weeks on end on remote dogsled and boat patrols, these women ensured that home and family life was maintained, often in challenging conditions and often performed the practical responsibilities of their officer husbands. Rather than seeing this as a hardship, Rena often remarked that her days in the Arctic were “the best times of her life!”
Once settled in Whitehorse, Rena returned to the workforce. She loved working, especially as a school secretary. Many former Jeckell and FH students and teachers will fondly remember “Mrs. Fendrick” from the front office.
In their retirement years, Rena and Reub travelled extensively. They enjoyed many winters RVing in Mexico with friends and family and later, cruising. They equally enjoyed the other seasons in the Yukon-camping, boating, and socializing with their many friends and especially, family.
Rena loved her family dearly; she was the most loving of mothers, a devoted grandmother and delighted by the recent arrival of her two great-granddaughters.
Without doubt, Rena’s great love was her husband Reub and his death in 2017 was devastating. To the end, Rena remained the gracious and lovely lady she always was, but life was not the same without “her Reub.”
Rena is lovingly remembered by her son Robert (Wendy) and daughter Debra (Rick), her grandchildren Stuart, Kurtis (Jamie) and Alix together with her great-granddaughters Vega and Bennett, many nieces and nephews, her sister Beverly and sisters-in-law, Marya and Margaret.
We wish to express our gratitude as a family to the exceptional caregivers in Unit C at Copper Ridge Place-your loving care was evident every day and a great comfort to all.
A Celebration of Rena’s life will be held later this year – when the weather is warm – as she would wish. Online remembrances may be made at www.heritagenorth.ca.
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