It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Gunda Napen (nee Kjemhus), longtime resident of Dawson Creek, British Columbia, on Saturday, September 2, 2023, at the age of 87 years.
Gunda was born August 19, 1936 in Consort, Alberta to Nils and Joran Kjemhus. Nils and Joran immigrated to Canada from Norway in 1933. Gunda moved with her parents to the Peace River Country in 1937.
Gunda and Lawrence both grew up in Valhalla Centre, Alberta.
They were married July 30, 1955 and their family began in 1956, when Dalvin was born. Two years later, in 1958, Lorraine was born, Shirley, in 1960, and Deanna in 1963.
Gunda and Lawrence started their married life in a small house they rented on the hill in Dawson Creek, BC. They bought a property in Finn’s Subdivision in 1956 and built their forever home in stages. Gunda and Lawrence also lived in Hythe, Alberta from 1965 to 1967 while they owned and operated “Lawrence’s Plumbing & Heating”. They moved back to Dawson Creek and Lawrence continued to farm near Hythe, Alberta. In 1970, Gunda, Lawrence and family moved to the Queen Charlotte Islands, now Haida Gwaii, for two years. Following this, they settled in Dawson Creek, BC.
Gunda and Lawrence celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on July 30th this year.
Gunda’s started her first job at the Dawson Creek Sears Catalogue Office in 1975. She was so excited to get her social insurance number! She was a great sales person, and would do anything she could to help.
Following Moms retirement from Sears, she became an active member of the Dawson Creek & District Hospital Auxiliary Society. She was known to have put money in for people who wanted something but couldn’t afford to pay for it themselves.
Gunda and Lawrence were members of the Sons of Norway Lodge #79, being part of the founding group in 1963. Gunda was treasurer for several years. Every year Gunda, Lawrence and friends made and sold lefse to fundraise for the Sons of Norway.
Gunda and Lawrence made friends wherever they went, whether that be the Queen Charlotte Islands, Norwegian festivals in Minot, North Dakota, music festivals, etc.
She was the quintessential grandmother that would be on the floor playing with her grandchildren. She was blessed with 11 grandchildren, Jillian, Larissa, Joshua, Breanna, Ashley, Dane, Kayla, Robin, Eric, Shaelynn and Jayda, and seven great-grandchildren: Hailey, Madeleine, Connor, Jaime, Ryker, Keaton and Dax.
She never forgot a birthday or anniversary and never missed crocheting an afghan for a new baby.
Mom had many good friends. The coffee pot was always on, complete with cookies, cakes or squares, and you were always welcome to join in for a meal if you happened to be there for dinner or supper.
Mom is survived by her husband, Lawrence, brothers Arnie (Lila) Kjemhus, Harold (Faye) Kjemhus, Norman (Margo) Kjemhus. She was predeceased by her parents, Nils and Joran Kjemhus, and siblings Thora, Ole, Fin and Nora, numerous brother and sister in-laws, and Hans and Luisa Napen, Lawrence’s parents.
A Celebration of Life for Gunda was held at Reynars Funeral Chapel on Monday, September 11, 2023. Dalvin Napen officiated.
For friends so wishing, donations may be made in memory of Gunda to:
• The Dawson Creek & District Hospital Ladies Auxillary, 11100 - 13 Street, Dawson Creek, British Columbia V1G 3W8, or
• The Sons of Norway #79, (250) 782-4457.