Stella Bray


Stella Bray (nee Kassian)
March 10, 1933 to March 7, 2023

Smart, generous, energetic, independent, spunky, classy,
resourceful, outspoken, spirited, fun-loving, kind, empathetic, youthful and the glue of our family… this was our Mom, Stella Bray. Born in Vegreville, Alberta, she passed suddenly at home in her sleep, three days shy of her 90th birthday. The family and her many friends are heartbroken.

Mom was the last of four children born to John and Kate Kassian. She grew up on the farm with her three siblings, Mike, Hilda and Tom. After grade school, Mom went to
secretarial college in Edmonton. She worked in the City, met John at a dance and married at 19 years old. In the early years, Dad’s work in the Oil Patch moved them around Alberta (Redwater, Leduc then Drayton Valley). They finally settled in Edmonton in 1967 with their children, Gary and Roxanne. On April 26, 2022, Mom and Dad celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.

Mom dressed smart and always looked stylish. You’d seldom see her outside the home without lipstick and a weekly “wash and set”. A talented and creative person, she saw a use for everything and wasted nothing. A trait instilled, we expect, from her poor
upbringing. She took great pride in being resourceful and took over Dad’s role as
handyman around the house when he was no longer able.

Mom did not fit the traditional homemaker mold. Gary and Roxanne were latchkey kids before it was even a concept, getting themselves to and from school and making their own breakfast and lunch while Mom was out gallivanting… bargain hunting at Army & Navy (then Winners in later years), visiting auction marts, curling in a weekly league, bonspieling, sometimes bowling and always socializing. In Mom’s house, the ironing would wait in favour of shopping, coffee or lunch with friends.

Mom also had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to managing their rental
properties, she would be out sourcing and selling the latest and greatest products on the market… Beauty Counselor, Hertel, Dri-Wash & Guard, Gogi Juice, microfiber cloths. The house was always filled with inventory and she made many lifelong friends through these home sale enterprises.

She was an avid gardener, pruning, deadheading and transplanting not just in her yard but the neighbours’ yards too! And she was a fabulous cook; her cabbage rolls and nachynka were on order at every family gathering. A master at making something from nothing, she could always put lunch on the table when the doorbell rang.

Mom showed us how to live life large. She was a dedicated, passionate person, single-minded and tenacious. She was not a bystander and she never backed down from a
challenge. She wasn’t content to age gracefully; rather, she chose to fight it every step of the way. She tried snorkelling in her 70’s, and embraced technology in her 80’s. Her emails and texts – complete with abbreviations, slang and emojis – are legendary. And if she missed the mark, she enjoyed being teased in funny yet kind ways.

Mom liked to help others and was generous with her time, her gifts and her love. Many people thought of her as a second mother. She was Dad’s primary caregiver for several years before he passed in 2022. She was concerned about being alone when she moved on to her eternal life… so for this reason, any time we see a lovely bird or butterfly, or a sign of life in the garden, or when the wind blows on an otherwise calm day, we will think of this wonderful woman who instilled in us so many virtues, traditions and wonderful memories.

Farewell Mom, Grandma, Mrs. B, Great-Baba, Auntie, Stella. We will miss you.

Stella will be lovingly remembered by her children Gary Bray (Christine), Roxanne Higuchi (Cliff); grandchildren Matthew Bray (Aly), Taylor Bray, Jasen Higuchi (Erin), James Higuchi (Mandy); great-grandchildren (Jasen) Angus, Cadence, and Lena; (James) Riley and James Jr.; special niece Debbie Riley (Jim); brothers-in-law Alban (Georgette) and Rheal (Paulette); several nieces, nephews, cousins and many wonderful and caring friends. She is predeceased by her husband John Paul Bray, her brothers Mike and Tom Kassian, and her sister Hilda Saprunoff.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in the name of Stella Bray to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

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16 Condolences

Esperanza Ramos

I will miss my loving friend Stella. She was very king with me and very lovely. Always smiling and with a good spirit. I will miss her and she is kept in my heart and thoughts for ever. Please accept my deepest condolences. Another angel in heaven.

Margaret Zacharuk, a friend

So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. My deepest condolences. I got to know your mom many years ago and was always impressed by her charm and welcoming attitude. As I read the tribute in her obit I could feel the warmth she always possessed. Stella certainly was a fine, sincere and classy lady with a bubbly personality.

Colleen and Bernie Stasiuk

Very sad surprise to have heard this news. I’ll always remember this classy lady. I always admired her style, and will carry that trait with me.

Alban, Georgette Bray and family

Dear Roxanne and Gary and family –
Our deepest condolences as you bid farewell to your mom not so far apart after your dad. What a beautiful obituary you wrote. Stella was full of spunk and life and she sure lived it to the fullest to the end. Our family has wonderful memories of various vacations spent together. ‘Let’s make a mile’ she would say early in the morning in the ‘winniwagon’ on a trip with us in 1996. What a beautiful, kind heart. Our thoughts are with you with courage for the coming weeks/months….. xooxoxox

Ernie & Gil Hasenclever

To Gary , Roxanne & families our heartfelt thanks for the wonderful tribute. We were blessed to have called your parents friends. Memories go back to being bowling partners & travel companions through US & Mexico. We will always cherish those times together. In our little garden grows a Jerusalem Artichoke which ones was a tiny root from Stella’s garden -a constant reminder of our times together.
Our thoughts & prayers are with you all.

Leanne Brouwer

Your Mom was a FIRECRACKER! Not many people could keep up with her for sure. I loved her adventures! I know she was a bright light and will be sadly missed.

Hugs to Roxanne, Cliff and family and Gary, Chris and family.
Leanne and Allan

Gilda Dionne (Forster) Repchuk

So, so sorry to hear of Stella’s passing. She had sent me an email 2 days prior about all the use of lemons and we talking about meeting fo lunch and coffee. However, I had a stroke on Monday, March 6 and I am at the U of A hospital and. I am disabled on the left side of my body , left leg and arm. At the U of A hospital since.
My most sincere sympathies to all the family members

Karleen Bray

Auntie. You will be missed deeply. Always remember youre birthday because it is the same day as mine. Will always love you

Crystal Mott

So sorry for your loss. Auntie was the most wonderful person in the world. Will miss her dearly. We love you Gary and Roxanne and your families. My prayers are with you all.

Rita Feutl

Your mum’s vibrancy and kindness struck me each time I met her. She touched many lives. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Christine & Robert Klaus

Hi Gary and Roxanne,
This is the most wonderful obituary I and many others I am sure have ever read. Every bit of how we knew and saw in Stella , is perfectly characterized by this most wonderful tribute to your Mom. She truly was an amazing woman, and has passed to your and your family wonderful memories and more than likely a lot of her traits.
To pass in your sleep has to be the best blessing anyone could have. Stella you will always be remembered as the original Wonder Woman.

Cindy and Randy Kereliuk

Dearest Gary, Christine, Roxanne, Cliff and Families
We are so very sorry to hear about the loss of Aunt Stella. Just as you described she was indeed a loving, kind, helpful, beautiful person and an inspiration to everyone who knew her. You are all in our thoughts as we send our sincerest sympathy. Love and hugs to you all.
Cindy and Randy Kereliuk

Darlene Stephen

My deepest condolence to all of you. Those we love can never be more than a thought away, for as long as there’s a memory they live in our hearts to stay.
Auntie Stella will always be remembered as such a happy and helpful person. Always on the go with everything she had –

Joe and Lynne Broschak

Our deepest condolences to the family. Stella was a beautiful person and was lovely to visit with when we met at the chiropractor’s. Joe and John and Stella have been good friends for many, many years and is saddened for the loss.

Shirley Mahan

A tribute to a very special lady Stella Bray
Stella was a healer of all friends as she planted the seeds of life into all that knew her. Her family and friends were like her garden. Always tending to the needs of everyone so we could all flourish. Stella gave us all love, laughter, kindness, empathy and joy. This beautiful lady will live on in all of us who had the pleasure of her touch and her teachings. I for one have gained the flowers of life and I shall never forget! My garden will live on through the eyes of Stella!
Much love, admiration and respect for my friend, my second mom, my mentor…Shirley Mahan

Jodi Hubler

Stella was a beautiful, vivacious one in a million woman. She was a wonderful friend of my mom’s and I thought she was an absolute hoot! She will definitely be missed and always remembered. So very sorry for this huge loss.