Alma Annie Laura was born on Wednesday, June 22, 1927, to August Valentin Friederich and Amelia Louise Wilhelmine Christine (Leifso) Mauer in Elderslie Township. She and her twin brother Melvin joined older sister Mildred (1923). Sadly, Melvin died three months later September 16, 1927. The Mauer family was made complete when younger brother Cameron arrived in 1942.
The Mauer family mix farmed, and Alma was educated at S.S. #12 on the 2nd of Elderslie before going on to high school in Chesley. Alma loved to help her father on the farm. Whether it was being out in the fields on the tractor or in the barn cleaning seed, it did not matter. However, in order to seek work, Alma moved to Hamilton for a winter after leaving high school. There she welded the interior of light bulbs. She remembered the time well as she only had one dress and stated it did not take long for the dress to have burns throughout it. The following spring, she moved back to the farm and took a job at the Silknet Factory in Chesley.
One particular New Year’s Eve she went to a party on a blind date. Her date? Well, a young man by the name of Michael Carol Blender, of course. Michael, having grown up in the lovely Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan had come out east with his cousin’s son to attend the Royal Winter Fair. Well, it was love at first sight and on April 12, 1950 the two were married at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Chesley by The Rev. Harry Baetz. They soon became loving parents with the arrivals of Paul (1950), Carol (1953), Stephen (1957) and Tim (1959).
At first, Michael, Alma, and their family lived on the Townline and mix farmed. Having received some sheep from her parents, they were sold for profit allowing Michael to go back to school. He then went to work at Krugs, Lovat engineering, and later Heirloom. In time they moved to town and an apartment in Chesley. They made one more move before settling in their last home on 6th Street S.E.
Once Tim started school, Alma returned to the workforce and began as an RNA at Parkview Manor. In 1971 she took a job at the Chesley Post Office, eventually retiring as Postmistress in 1990.
As if having a full-time job, four children, and a husband wasn’t enough, Alma still found time to volunteer. Before marriage, she gave of her time and effort at the Orange Lodge in town and was an active member of the Luther League. As an adult, she gave of her time with the Canadian Cancer Society, Meals on Wheels, her church choir, and Sunday School.
Like Michael, Alma loved to garden and thus especially enjoyed the spring months. She also did a lot of sewing, enjoyed music (especially singing, playing the piano, and dancing), oil painting and drawing, playing golf, and cross-country skiing. Travelling was also another big component of Alma’s life, especially after retirement. Together, she and Michael took the train to Alberta and B.C., went to the east coast (Meadow, Newfoundland) and even to Hawaii and Jamaica.
Alma absolutely loved music. She learned to play piano by ear as a child and later played the guitar too! When it came to listening to music she was particularly fond of gospel and her favourite artist was Ann Murray. Alma’s gift of music has certainly been handed down to her children and grandchildren. (Ask Steve and Tim about when Alma would fall asleep on the floor while listening to the boys play their music!) If watching TV, her go-to was adventure programming and sports (especially the Rose Bowl Parade). When it came to reading, murder mysteries, and magazines were her favourites. Alma was also an avid collector of coins from the Royal Mint as well as Canadian stamps.
To know Alma was to also know the depth of her faith. She was a dedicated member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Chesley throughout her entire life and was mentored in her faith by Rev. Baetz. Alma, Michael, and their family attended church weekly… it was just a given. She loved her Lord and was beloved to him and her church throughout her life.
Alma’s family was her world. She loved any occasion that brought everyone together, especially when her family was spread across North America. It didn’t matter if she was catching up with her kids, or learning of the recent adventures or accomplishments of her grandchildren, if there was a story or update to be told, Alma was all ears. In more recent years, her face lit up every time she saw the youngest generation of her family, her great-grandchildren. Some visits were in-person, others were with the help of technology, and some interactions were just viewing recent photographs, but to be honest, it really didn’t matter to Alma, she was so proud of all of her family.
Alma was a friendly and easy-going woman who loved those around her dearly. She was friendly, caring and extremely out-going. Although she was very social she was also humble and patient. She loved to laugh, even at herself and welcomed everyone with a big smile. Advice that was given to her at a young age and she remembered included “always be fair to people” and to “give lots of love to your family.” She was a class act, and her life and legacy will live on for generations to come.
In 2015, Alma sold her home and moved to Parkview Manor. Here, she enjoyed visits from family, friends, staff and residents alike, and always welcomed her guests with a big, warm smile. In recent months her health continued to decline and she passed away surrounded by her loving family at Parkview Manor, Chesley on Thursday, July 8, 2021 in her 95th year.
Beloved wife of the late Michael Blender (2007). Cherished mother of Paul (Leena) of Georgian Bluffs, Carol (Alvin) Johnson of Rochester, N.Y., Stephen (Margie) of Owen Sound and Timothy (Pradelia) of Kemble. Alma will be lovingly remembered and sadly missed by her grandchildren Anton (Dawn), Seth, Ramsey Paige (Chris), Jennifer (Jon), Jonathan (Stephanie), Taylor (John), Dennis (Michelle) and great-grandmother of Olivia, Seeley, Logan, Anya, Ben, Michelle, Brenna, Aubrie, and India. Alma was predeceased by her twin brother Melvin, brother Cameron Mauer, sister Mildred Patterson and parents August and Amelia (Leifso) Mauer.
A public visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Friday, July 16, 2021 from 12 noon – 1 p.m. A private funeral service celebrating Alma’s life will follow. A livestream of the service will be available on the funeral home website through Zoom beginning at 2 p.m. A recording of the service will also be available on the funeral home website afterward. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Heart & Stroke Foundation or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.