The Village of Beiseker is mourning the recent loss of an influential councillor who touched the hearts of many within the small rural community.
On July 20, councillor Karen Ursu passed away suddenly at the age of 68. She had served on Village council since 2011.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, July 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in celebration of Ursu’s life. It will be held at the Beiseker Community Centre.
The eldest daughter of Ursu, Amber, said the family was in a state of shock as they were not prepared for her sudden passing. Amber added her mother was vibrant and left a positive mark on anyone she encountered.
“This wasn’t anything anybody expected for another 20 years, so we’re all a little bit shocked still, I think,” Amber said. “She was a really great person, just full of life. There’s a lot of people that she helped in the community.”
Ursu was born in Moose Jaw, Sask., and married her husband Bob in 1979 in the small Saskatchewan town of Grenfell. Two years, later they welcomed Amber into the world.
Amber said her mother had several hobbies, specifically highlighting her love for quilting. Ursu was a member of the Beiseker Quilting Guild and spent her time donating blankets to the McDonald's house.
“She’s been quilting for decades,” Amber said. “I think every member of her family got a couple quilts that she’s made for them. I know I do.”
When asked about support from community members in the wake of her mother’s passing, Amber said the family has been overwhelmed with positivity. She added a lot of people in Beiseker and northeast Rocky View County have shared positive memories of their interactions with Ursu.
“Everybody’s got memories of her helping them or reading to their kids,” she said. “They really loved her.”
Beiseker Mayor Warren Wise said Ursu played a significant role during her time on council. He added it was a shock to hear of her passing and that she will be missed by many within the small rural community.
“She’s contributed a lot. She’s going to really be missed,” he said. “It was a terribly sudden thing, a shock to everybody to hear that she had passed.”
After first winning her seat in a 2011 byelection, Ursu participated on several committees and spearheaded various initiatives throughout the community. Wise noted she looked over the library and schools, while also being the representative of the Community Futures board and the EDC board.
With her husband Bob being the fire chief of the Beiseker Fire Department for many years, Wise said the Ursu family was involved with the community in a significant way. Most recently, Ursu was involved with helping launch the off-leash dog park that is being developed within the village.
Recognizing her caring personality, Wise said Ursu was a “solid voice” for those within the community. He added she cared for people and provided a unique perspective on council.
Wise believes Ursu would like to be remembered as someone who tried to make Beiseker a better place to reside.
“She was a pretty solid voice for people, caring for people, and she could be counted on looking at things from maybe a slightly different viewpoint then some of us other councillors and that was a real benefit,” Wise said. “I think she would have liked to be remembered as dedicating a great deal of her time and energy towards making the village a much better place to live in.”
Being remembered as friendly and outgoing, Ursu was compassionate and promoted the village in any way she could, according to Wise. He said people like her play a significant role within small communities.
“She was the type of person that was involved in many different things throughout the village,” Wise said. “That’s very vital for a small village to have people like that.”
A GoFundMe page has been established to support the family as they handle the unexpected financial expenses arising from Ursu’s passing. They are also accepting private donations through her husband’s email at [email protected]