Heaven gained an angel in Justina (Justine) Neigel Nee: Ibach who passed peacefully on March 18, 2023 at her home in Moose Jaw. Justina was 88 years old.
Born Apr 15, 1934 in Fox Valley, SK, Justina moved to Acadia Valley in her teens where she continued to live with her husband William Neigel after they wed in 1953. They were married for 47 years until Bill’s passing on November 6, 2000. They were parents of 11 children. Throughout their marriage, they also lived in Brooks, Duchess, and Brock before settling into their forever home in Moose Jaw in 1967.
The matriarch of a monumental clan of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, Justina’s legacy is staggering and will continue to be felt for generations. With family reunions held every year and gatherings hosted for most holidays, Justina was the glue that kept her family connected regardless of distance. Justina was an amazing cook and hostess, making unforgettable feasts for her family – her homemade jam jams and perogies will never be forgotten.
Justina was incredibly kind, patient, thoughtful, generous, hardworking, resourceful, and had a great sense of humor that came out especially in those treasured 2-on-1 or 1-on-1 conversations her family members loved having with her. She was a great listener – she made everyone feel completely seen and heard in her company. Justina cared deeply for others and always put her family before herself. A fiercely independent woman, she rarely asked for help – not wanting to put others out.
Justina was an extraordinary seamstress – incredible at sewing, needlework, weaving, spinning and more. She made all her children’s clothing throughout their childhood, plus countless impressive garments including wedding dresses, christening gowns, first communion dresses, confirmation dresses, and countless drapes for her family members. She sewed over 1200 dresses for Canada Comforts, a charity who sends school dresses to girls in Africa. Everything Justina made was stitched with love.
An effortlessly stylish woman, Justina often said she’d wear heels until the day she died, and since she insisted she’d be forever age 29, this was a doable claim. Those who knew her would marvel at her incredible jewelry collection, with a museum-worthy array of brooches plus stunning collections of glassware, clocks, books, purses, hats, and sewing machines.
Justina always said that “age is a state of mind”, and that was clear when you felt her ageless energy. A forever feminist, Justina wasn’t afraid to take a stand and share her thoughts. She was a strong, independent thinker who was always evolving and expanding her view of the world – a testament to her timeless spirit.
Justina kept up with technology and had an unending thirst for knowledge. Even at 88, she was researching new topics daily on YouTube, scrolling her Ipad, and taking part in weekly video chats with her extended family. She was the go-to person to find out the latest trends and news.
Justina loved birds and fed them for many years – she enjoyed watching them in her "crazy" tree. Her happy place was inside her den and in front of her sewing machine.
As a mom of 11 kids, Justina was loving, patient, joyful, and forgiving. She loved life and was game for anything. In addition to being an amazing mother, she was a friend to all her kids – a shoulder to lean on and someone to share in the joys, struggles, and adventures of life. Justina was far ahead of her time – open-minded to all perspectives and available to talk about any topic. Her kids felt safe being their true selves and sharing their truth with her. Justina passed on her strong values and vast knowledge to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Beyond being an incredible mother to her own kids, Justina became a mom to many more after welcoming her sons-in-law and daughters-in-law into her family as well.
Justina took many trips with her sons and daughters: to Europe, the U.S., all throughout Canada, and recently a ‘foremothers’ trip to visit her childhood home and key places in her history with some of her children. In addition to twice yearly, large-scale family reunions in SK and AB, Justina and her daughters had a girls’ reunion every Spring in Medicine Hat.
As a grandma and great grandma, Justina was loving, supportive, uplifting, and very generous. Her home felt like the safest, happiest place in the world for her grandchildren– the Disneyland of Moose Jaw. Her grandkids were endlessly entertained with her trunk of dress-up clothes and collection of toys. For many years, Justina made pillowcase-sized gift bags for her grandchildren to open on Christmas day which were filled with gifts from all their family members – a treasured memory. Surrounded by children most of her life, Justina was the baby-whisperer; able to soothe a crying baby like no one else.
As a sister, Justina was the matriarch – taking care of her younger siblings and helping around the house. She was quiet as a young child, but gained her voice as she aged – inciting laughs with her unexpected sassy comments. After she married, Justina still returned to visit her siblings most weekends for wiener roasts, water fights, and lots of laughs.
As a child, Justina would often ‘rebel’ by sneaking onto the forbidden sewing machine when her mom was out of the house – the secret behind her impressive sewing skills! When she was young, she dreamed of writing a book of her own; inspired by a special book she received from her godparents. Justina passed on her love of books to her own grandchildren – teaching many of them to read with her extensive collection of hardcover books.
Justina was incredibly strong and never complained. She survived two cancer diagnoses with incredible fortitude and grace. She had an unmistakable gratitude for life and found joy in the everyday. She will be deeply missed by so many.
Justina was predeceased by her husband William Neigel, daughter Nona Neigel, grandson Matthew Eccleston, parents John & Margaret Ibach, siblings and siblings in law/in-laws Claire Ibach (George), Alma Ibach, Albert (Gwen) Ibach, Jerome Ibach, Ron Maloney (Bernadette), and Alex Leeb (Rosamarie), and her nieces Michelle Bachmeier, Alexis Leeb, and Cheryl Ibach
Justina is survived by her children Cynthia (Walt), Wanda (George), Barry (Rita), Randy, Beverly (Garnet), Darcy (Brenda), Bradley (Laurie), Patrick (Wanda), Raymond (Gerry), and Justin (Jocelyn), her grandchildren Nicole, Megan, Sarah, Olivia, Benjamin, Avery, Renee, Kahla, Kathleen, Margaret, Barrett, Tiffany, Tyler, Thomas, Everett, Melissa, Emily, Michelle, Courtney, Jaik, and Ruby, her great grandchildren Grace, Reece, Aurora, Riley, Kenzee, Zaeden, Aston, Bentley, Austin, Kale, Kadance, Jakob, Samantha, Blake, and her siblings Rosamarie Leeb, Joe (Pauline) Ibach, George Ibach, Shirley (Ken) Bachmeier, Ron (Linda) Ibach, Helen (Doug) Marshall, Bernadette Maloney, Elizabeth (Gilles) Caron, Cabrini (Terry) Hurst, Teresa (George) Cone, Anne (Bill) Helfrich, Clarence (Marie) Ibach, and Colette (Don) Hall.
A service will be held at St. Joseph’s Parish on March 27, 2023 at 10:30 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency Foundation, the facility who cared for Justina during her second cancer diagnosis – she often said they treated her like royalty during her stay.
In living memory of Justina, a memorial planting will be made by W.J. Jones & Son Ltd. Please sign the memorial register at website: www.jonesparkview.com (Obituaries). Dayna Chamberlain- Funeral Director