It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our beloved mom and Kokum and aunty Rosalyn Agnes Kelly (Roz), Memenwabinoke, of the Lynx Clan. Born February 20th, 1949 and passed June 21, 2018.
She is predeceased by her parents Marion Black of Little Fork, Minnesota and Jim P. Kelly of Onigaming (Sabaskong) and her brothers, Douglas Kelly, Richard Kelly Cloud, Philip Kelly, and Tobasonaqwat Kinew, and her sister Janet Kelly.
She is survived by her three children Serena Copenace (Brian Shuba), Candice Copenace and Chuck Copenace (Janell Henry) and her one and only grandson Brendan Copenace. She has passed before meeting her 2nd grandchild who is on his way (Janell and Chuck). She is also survived by her sisters Phyllis Desbiens, Mary Kelly, Linda Kelly, Frannie Miller and her brother Gilbert Kelly and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins in the Sabaskong and Manitou areas and Peter Kirby (Darlene) her greatest friend, our step-father.
Rosalyn accomplished a lot in her sixty-nine years. She survived many adversities in her life including residential school, alcoholism and abuse. She was very proud of her forty years of sobriety. She sponsored many women and men in AA. She strived to get an education and work to ensure her three children would grow up together with her. She always put her children and her grandson Brendan first. She worked very hard to help people with addictions and counselled adults, children and families.
She worked for the Ontario Native Women’s Association and was the Director of the Morningstar Center in the early 80’s. She then moved on to working as a Mental Health Counsellor at Lake of the Woods District Hospital. She was very active in Kenora helping establish the Migisi Treatment Center and the Women`s Sexual Assault Centre.
She then went back to school at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay to study Social Work and took a job there as Executive Director of Crossroads Women’s Halfway House. The family then moved to Winnipeg where mom worked at Ikwe Women`s Shelter and continued her studies. Her final move was back to Northwest Angle 37 where she was a Senior Prevention Worker with Anishinaabe Abinoojii Prevention Services. She loved her work. She loved the children.
Her sole purpose in her life was to help. She influenced so many people and co-workers in her long career helping others to live happy and healthy lives. But she made time for her three children and grandson. She went to our swim meets, and cheered us on, and attended our concerts and all our activities. When Brendan was born her life went into full Kokum mode.
She doted and spoiled her "one and only grandson", as she would say. She was a great pool player who passed on her talents to her children. Ten years ago, Rosalyn went back to her roots living on the reserve. She loved the eagles which lived outside her bedroom window and her view of Lake of the Woods. She loved her community; she would do anything for anyone day or night. She left a trail of light wherever she went.
She had a beautiful laugh. Her smile was infectious. She had a great wit. You knew she was around by the sound of her laughter! She was raised poor but was rich in her culture and her language. Her family lived a traditional life, harvesting rice and fishing. They had no conveniences. Mom was proud of who she was and proud of her family.
She passed away a much different woman physically and mentally. But her spirit remained strong and her outlook bright and positive. She was witty and funny and beautiful. And she loved, and is loved, by many in this world and the next. When you hear the laughter of children, please remember her. You can also donate to Diabetes Awareness or the Alzheimer's Society.
Elder, Mida Kiwenzie (Peter White) will conduct the wake (Sunday at noon) and funeral (Monday at noon) at Onigaming School. Pallbearers are: Brendan Copenace, Jeff Andreason, Brian Hookimawillillene, Dwayne Steiner and Wab Kinew.