October 6, 1930-January 26, 2014

Mary-Jo passed away peacefully with family by her side on Sunday, January 26, 2014, at the Rising Sun LTC in Black Diamond. Loving mother to Patty Johnson (Rick), Don, Doug and Mary Ann; grandmother to Shiana, Sharla, Melanie, Riley, Calvin, Kacie, Jake, Austin, Jack, Ben Johnson (Jaime) and great-grandchildren, Mariella and Matthew Johnson. Sadly missed by her brother Charlie Liegerot (Pam) and family and friends.

Mary-Jo Liegerot was born October 6th, in Tulsa and raised in Oklahoma. She received her BA in English at OU, where she met Kent Birrell her husband of 45 years. In 1952 they moved to Saskatchewan and started their married life with Kent as a Petroleum Engineer in the oil industry until his retirement in Alberta in 1988.

While living in Calgary and raising 4 children, she was awarded the 1967 Volunteer of the Year Award. Her style of volunteering was creating, backing, organizing, planning and working, progressive ideas and projects for people in the community. Like starting the Meals on Wheels program, and a Home skills program for First Nation young women starting city life in Calgary, exercising handicapped children, family YMCA swimming programs and teaching Sunday school. She helped people at every turn in her life.

Mary-Jo was a journalist and published her own horse magazine, “Canada Rides.” Many Cowboys will remember her “Canada Rides Tours” to the NFR for many years.

With retirement, Kent and Mary-Jo moved to Campbell River, BC on Vancouver Island, where they both contributed to the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron, teaching boating safety and skills.

Mary-Jo was a walking miracle; she recovered from breast cancer, kidney cancer and a brain tumor. She loved the happy life of the Rising Sun LTC. The nurses, recreation team and staff will always be remembered by this family as an amazing and loving group of people and we thank them for their care of Mary-Jo.

This September, Mary-Jo was recognized as one of Alberta’s inspiring persons, and was featured on the “Inspired” program by Darrel Janz of CTV. One of her happiest days came as the Recreation Department of Rising Sun planned a book signing party to celebrate the publishing of her first novel, “The Wind God,” a novel based on her own family’s history in the early 1900’s.

Mary-Jo is lovingly remembered for her daily jokes, skill at Crib and Bridge games, sharp wit, sense of humor and more than words can say about a beautiful, compassionate woman.

A celebration of Mary-Jo’s life will be held Saturday, May 31 at the Millarville Hall in Alberta. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Rising Sun LTC unit (717 Government Rd, Black Diamond, Ab T0L 0H0). To leave a condolence for the family please visit Arrangements in care of Snodgrass Funeral Home High River 403-652-2222.

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