The Reston Recorder chose Nancy Schiltroth of Reston as their last Senior Spotlight of the year.
Nancy is an extremely active senior, at the age of 67. She was born to Robson (Rob) and Doris (Dodie) Pattison of Donavon, Saskatchewan. “I grew up on the family mixed farm with my younger brothers, Gord, Jeff, John, Ken and Bill,” said Schiltroth. “Everyday things on the farm were always regarded as teachable moments by our parents, including that having twin brothers with special needs due to cerebral palsy was to be celebrated. I never imagined that these five constantly irksome and embarrassing kids would grow into my best friends.”
Nancy attended a two room school in Donavon and high school in Delisle, SK. Following graduation, she attended the college of education at U of S, where she met a handsome young man enrolled in the college of pharmacy, Grant, from Gainsborough, SK., and they were married in 1973.
“My first full time job was at the Main Library at U of S, and I loved it!” said Schiltroth. “When Grant graduated we made the trek to Fort Smith, NWT where Grant worked at Wally’s Drugs and I worked for the federal government in NW Lands and Forests.”
“We received a cold-call from Gerry Morrow who was looking for a pharmacist for their store in Reston. We got out the map to find out where it might be and made the decision to head south,” explained Schiltroth. “We arrived January 4, 1976 and moved in above the Morrow’s Pharmacy building. Our immediate neighbours were Bert Pierce and John Pearson in the Solo store next door, Berry’s Farm Equipment across the street to the north, the Eng family at the Modern café across the corner, Harry Wilmont in the Red and White directly across the street and Larry and Veda Robinson at Guthrie and Bulloch. Alvin Birnie was our first customer. We were the babies on Main Street!”
That same year, Reston Library Committee was successful in getting funds to establish a library. Nancy applied for the position and started ordering books!
Grant’s brother Gary moved here in 1978 and purchased the Red & White store. He married Barbara Birnie and they had two sons, Robert (1980) and Dean (1984). Gary passed away last summer.
“We purchased the business from Morrow’s in 1978 and I started to work at the store alongside Helen Traill and Donna Wilkins. In 1981, we built the new store and added on the expansion and rental units in 1986,” stated Schiltroth. “I loved working at the store and soon learned that my role, as Grant put it, was to be “the holder of hands and the kisser of babies,” among other prescribed duties! I am a people person, so this suited me to a T. If I ask you how you are, how your kids are doing or how your tomatoes are coming along, I really want to know. And if you ever class me as your friend, please remember, you are stuck with me forever.”
“We always wanted children, so were delighted when Kurt, (1977), Kent, (1980) and Kyle, (1981) made us a crazy busy family,” said Schiltroth. “They brought joy, adventure and, once in a while, frustration, into our lives. Of course with them came their friends, young(ish) adults now, that I still regard as my own. The old hockey, baseball, 4-H, and road trip stories are retold time and again. Being a Mom has been my best job, ever. Once in a while, I thought it would be nice to have a daughter. Little did I know, that if you let your sons pick them for you, they can do an amazing job! Kyle and Amy (Harris) were married in 2014 and have a one year old, Renee Kate. Kent and Kari (Hurton) married in 2016 and welcomed Nora Dylan May in 2017 and Evie April Bea born in April. Kurt’s daughter Keara was our ‘only’ for 17 years and is in her first year of pre-pharmacy at U of S.”
2013 was an unspeakably hard year for the Schiltroth family. Nancy’s life partner, business partner and best friend, Grant, died unexpectedly May 27. “We were just trying to come to terms with his death, when our family home flooded not once, but twice, within a few days in the June monsoon that affected so many,” said Schiltroth. “It seems odd to say that the flood saved me, but it did. If I hadn’t had so many decisions to make, so much planning to do, I would have imploded. My family, friends and the community at large, were such a huge source of support and I will never be able to repay all their kindness.”
“Another cold call happened with Jim Whyte on the other end of the line. Jim and Jennifer, Lily and Harry moved to Reston in September when we needed a full time pharmacist. The following September, we sold them our business of 38 years,” explained Schiltroth. “Now what? I tried ‘retirement’ for about 3 days and thought that was the biggest mistake, ever. I love working! So, I applied to sub at the brand new daycare through their first year. Most fun ever! I also answered an ad for a little job at the library and happily do that. And my intrepid friends of St. John’s Anglican Church opened a two day a week Thrift Store, replacing our twice yearly Thrift Sales. It will be 4 years in April. I keep busy.”
Nancy is a community supporter, and that comes with action, not just lip service. “Grant and I always believed that the community supported us in our business and we needed to show our support back in any way we could,” said Schiltroth. “Every mouthful of food, every tank of gas, lumber and screws, shampoo are bought from our local businesses. I plan to be a very old woman here, so I want those services to be available when I shouldn’t be out on the highway. Use them or lose them. And I volunteer. Ruby Busby was responsible for getting me to join the Hospital Auxiliary and the rest have just fallen into place. I have been or currently am on the rink, museum, park, community in bloom, St. John’s guild, minor ball and hockey, Reston Record Makers, fair, lodge, CFS, Hospital District #10, band boosters, merchant’s association, RES, and Economic Development board. I believe that communities cannot survive without volunteers. They make you some very great, life long friends, once in a while, an enemy or two.”
Grant and Nancy loved to travel and always went ‘unscripted’. Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Trinidad and Tobago were some of their destinations along with most provinces in this great country. Their last trip was to Colombia, where they caught a boat and toured down the Amazon. After his passing, she wondered how travelling might look. Six months later she received a call from Jane Pringle asking if she would like to join some of her friends on a river cruise on the Danube! Since then she has travelled with that group on a Baltic cruise, with Jane on a Russian trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and on an eastern Adriatic cruise. She enjoyed a trip to China with her cousin Susan. When asked if she had a ‘Bucket List’: Egypt and a thorough tour of Great Britain. Nancy enjoys gardening, painting with the Reston Art Club, listening to CBC radio and reading like a fiend. She is an avid Roughriders, Blue Jays and Jets fan.“Last month our family was lucky to have my Mom, a 93 year old dynamo, move into the beautiful Golden Estates,” stated Schiltroth. “There will be lots of birthday parties, community events and family suppers to attend.“My passions have always been my family, my friends, and my community. We live in such a blessed part of Manitoba and I am proud to have my three sons and their families, my nephews and my sister-in-law all here and working hard to make our little corner of the world a great place to call home.”