Isabel Teslak is this week's Face of the Valley

Face of the Valley – Isabel Teslak

This week's Face of the Valley is Isabel Teslak, written by Jennifer Cronin.

Isabel Teslak (nee Air), was raised on the family farm near Yorkton Saskatchewan.

Living four miles from the country school, Isabel would either walk to elementary school, or travel by horse and buggy. Attending high school 25 miles away in Yorkton was not an option because of travel, however had it been, the notion would have been out of the question when at the age of 15 Isabel’s mother passed away.  While assisting on the family farm, showing discipline, Isabel completed her high school education by correspondence.

When Isabel was 21, she married Andrew (Andy) Teslak whom she had met while in elementary school. Andy was raised on a farm, and was one of many children in a large family. As his siblings got older they left the farm, and soon it fell to him to look after. This is where Isabel and Andy would make their home for the next 14 years. During this time they welcomed their six children, Mike, Charlie, Brent, John, Kathy and Anne.

In 1970, with a downturn in farming, change was necessary.  “Andy was born and raised on the farm, and was very handy. He would tackle anything; building, electric, he wasn’t afraid of any of that, and he was ready for something different,” Isabel shared. It was at this time that Andy headed west to Fernie, to work as a millwright in mining, and start a new life for his family. Isabel and the children remained on the farm for the winter. The boys helped out, and Isabel kept things as normal, even taking the boys to hockey practice. In 1971, the family would be reunited. Arriving in Fernie, Isabel was happy to be here. With the Ridgemont subdivision just built, the family moved into a new home, and the children settled into hockey, soccer and baseball. Isabel started working at the bus depot in 1972, and then the dry cleaners in 1973. She subsequently bought the dry cleaners about 6 years later. Eventually selling the business, she stayed on, teaching the new owner how to run it.

In 1997, Andy passed away, and Isabel continued to work for another two years.

Tirelessly, Isabel was not ready to slow down yet. She took a position at the Seniors Drop In Centre after retiring from the dry cleaners, and also worked at Quality Furniture, all the while raising her grandson Aaron.

These days, Isabel makes quilts and takes in sewing, doing repairs and alterations at home, a task she totally enjoys. On Wednesday evenings, she can be found at the Seniors Drop In Centre doing hand sewing and socializing.

As a T.O.P.S (Taking off pounds sensibly) leader for 10 years, Isabel attends these meetings on Thursdays, and then is off to play cards at the Seniors Centre.

Isabel has been a member of the Ladies Auxiliary (L.A.) to Branch 36 of the Royal Canadian Legion for 18 years. She, together with her fellow L.A. members, run the Saturday meat draw at the Legion, and monthly, prepare and host the L.A. Dinner, of which the proceeds go to support the local Legion branch. On Monday evenings, she runs the concession at the Ghostriders’ bingo at the Legion hall, selling homemade pie, to support the L.A.

Isabel recalls when she started volunteering at the Legion, if you were not in by early evening, you would never get a seat. She notes, “We need more people coming in the Legion, and we need more volunteers.”

As Remembrance Day approaches, Isabel has been organizing the Poppy Campaign for the local stores and scheduling the volunteers to oversee the sales. The L.A. will also prepare the luncheon for the day.

With countless hours of dedication and service to the community to her credit, when asked what she is most proud of, Isabel answers without hesitation, “my children.”

Giving unselfishly of her time to our community, Isabel Teslak is an integral “face of the Valley.”

 

Written by Jennifer Cronin

Just Posted

Driver of RV in Hosmer collision reported in stable condition

Collision occurred in Hosmer on September 5 and involved a semi truck, an RV and a school bus

New administrators for Elk Valley schools

Erin Hay promoted to principal for FSS, Ian Jarrell promoted to vice-principal for ESS

Burn rules loosen in Kootenays as weather eases fire concerns

Category 2 and 3 fires will be allowed in most areas — but know the regulations

Final year for Tears and Gears

Popular event holds happy memories for valley athletes

National Western Regional Mine Rescue Competition a blast

Rescue teams gathered from Canada and the Northwestern United States

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

Most Read