After a long, hard-fought battle with cancer, Laverne Atchison Kavanagh, 80, passed away peacefully Dec. 15 with her family by her bedside at her home in Whitefish.
Laverne was born June 7, 1939, in Lethbridge, Alberta, to Mike and Frances Schmid. She grew up on a farm and ranch near Warner, Alberta, and attended school in Warner where she was active in school functions, including playing basketball (No. 30) for the Warner Warriorettes.
In 1956 she was named Raymond, Alberta, Rodeo Queen for winning barrel racing, congeniality and horsemanship. She gradu-ated from Warner High School in 1957.
After school she attended Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta, where she took a secretarial course and was also honored by being named Sweetheart of Mount Royal College. After college she moved to Cranbrook, British Columbia, where she worked for a law firm.
Laverne married Charles Whitney Atchison on June 6, 1959, in Warner and they resided in Cranbrook. To this union were born three sons, Randall Whitney Atchison, Robert Atchison, Richard Atchison and daughter Lana. The couple later divorced, and Laverne moved to Lethbridge, Alberta, around 1968, where she raised her four children.
In Lethbridge she worked for Schwartz Realty later moving to Calgary where she sold real estate for Builders Realty along with other business ventures and selling various products.
Laverne was an avid, worldwide traveler spending her free time in 41 countries, encompassing six contin-ents. She was also an avid and excellent skier and taught all her kids how to ski on Westcastle Mountain in Pincher Creek, Alberta. She continued skiing until she was stricken with cancer about a year and a half ago. While she has skied numerous mountains, inclu-ding some in Europe, Big Mountain in Whitefish was always her favorite.
Whitefish is where she met John Kavanagh and the couple had been together for 23 years. They spent their time happily together hiking, fishing boating, huckleberry picking, snow-shoeing, cross country skiing, 4-wheeling, swimming, dancing and trav-eling throughout Montana, Canada and various other destinations in the United States. They also enjoyed spending time in Canada visiting family and friends and at their river property in Essex and in Shelby where they have many friends.
Laverne was an excellent cook, rarely using a recipe and passed her cuisine skills onto her four children. She especially enjoyed cooking at family gatherings in Whitefish.
Her bright smile, outgoing personality, kind and gentle demeanor touched the hearts of everyone who knew her. She will be greatly missed, but the beautiful memories of her will live on forever.
She is survived by her two brothers Bernie (Heather) Schmid, Warner, Alberta; Wayne (Leona) Schmid, Claresholm, Alberta; three sons Randy (Gwen) Atchison, Canmore, Alberta; Rob Atchison, Calgary, Alberta; Rick (Kim) Atchison, Sylvan Lake, Alberta; stepson Brian (LeAnne) Kavanagh, Cut Bank, Montana; step-daughters Barb (Tres) Genger, Cut Bank, Montana; Darcy (Brian) White, Shelby, Montana; Tracy (Jeff) Swanson, Happy Valley, Oregon; 16 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter, Lana (Brian) Lukenda.
A celebration of Laverne’s life will be held in the spring, the date, time and place to be announced later.
In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations in Laverne’s memory be made to the charity of one’s choice.