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

Crews successfully battle overnight house fire in Tie Lake

No injuries, home damage minimal thanks to quick response by crews

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

UPDATED: Pratt to be acclaimed as Cranbrook mayor

Mayor will serve another term after running unopposed in the upcoming municipal election

Eight cattle dead in tunnel crash

RCMP thanks agencies after cattle truck crash; investigates vehicle and thrift store thefts

Parlez-vous français? Fernie students do!

Francophone and schools offering French immersion popular among Elk Valley families

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Youth give back to community

On August 30, Eliora and William Vandersteen, Matthew White, Isla Vandersteen, Alexis… Continue reading

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read