Every time Muriel Folkes saw her good friend Rose-Marie Kerr, she would greet her with a cheerful, “Hi twin.”

While the pair wasn’t related, or even the same age, their birthdays happened to fall on the same day. The little things mattered to Folkes. The two friends met through the Probus Club of Camrose, a senior’s club where they socialized over coffee and cinnamon buns after meetings.

“She always had a nice smile on her face,” says Kerr. “She was willing to jump in and help anybody.”

Folkes moved to Camrose, Alta., 15 years ago, after her husband, Gerald, died, and became deeply involved in the community.

Died on April 4, 2020
Camrose, AB

Age 87

“My mom was a very outgoing person,” says her daughter Karen Dean Brooks. “Connections were important to her.”

She loved to knit, and made clothes for her loved ones and people in need.

“She knit wonderful sweaters for my boys, with dinosaurs on them and Ninja Turtle stuff,” said Brooks. “She was always knitting sweaters to send to orphans.”

Helping others came naturally to Folkes, who was born in Minnedosa, Man., in 1932, the youngest of 10 children. She married Gerald, who worked for the military, and raised their three kids across North America and Europe as the family settled into new military stations every couple of years. When her children grew up, they often gathered for Christmas at Brooks’ New Norway, Alta., home, where Folkes continued to put others before herself.

“I remember her coming in the door with her winter coat on, and she’s already wiping the kitchen counter off,” Brooks says, with a laugh.

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.