All his life, Burnice Bamping loved to dance. As his health declined, he moved into a wheelchair and standing up to take a spin around a dance floor grew harder. But he didn’t let that stop him.

One day in February 2020, his daughter Dixie eased him out of his chair and into the arms of his wife Jeanette. Together, the couple danced in front of a live band playing in the memory care unit in High Prairie, Alta., where they lived.

“They had been married just shy of 32 years. They really were soulmates,” says their daughter Eunice Bamping. Burnice and Jeanette died within eight days of one another.

Burnice lived most of his life in Alberta’s Wild Rose country. He and Jeanette had three kids, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren, as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.

Died on April 30, 2020
High Prairie, AB
Age 88

From summer right through to the depths of winter, they would host people—the more, the better—at their mobile home on Lesser Slave Lake. Burnice loved to fish and play cards. He was also a talented woodworker and made each of his kids a picnic table that folds into a bench.

Burnice was devoted to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, cheering them on from the sidelines of their hockey games with the same spirit he reserved for the Edmonton Oilers, his favourite team.

When Burnice went along with his daughter Eunice and granddaughter Adrianna to Disneyland, he held Adrianna’s hand and led her around the park, his eyes full of excitement watching her experience its magic for the first time. After a long day of whirling around on rides together, the three of them laughed all the way home.

This story was first published in MacLean’s as part of a collaborative project with Canadian journalism schools to document the lives of people who have died from COVID-19. To learn more about the project and to read the other obituaries, click here.

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