We regret that the two former SGEU members elected for Life Membership at the opening day of convention this year are no longer with us. Anne Burkholder, of the Community Services Sector; and Tracey Kurtenbach, of the Education Sector, were wholehearted activists and leaders in the labour movement.
Anne worked at the Saskatoon Interval House as a counsellor for battered women and served on numerous committees within SGEU, including Vice President of the Community Services Sector, until her health would not support her activity.
Anne truly believed in the labour movement; she was committed to helping others while at work and in her personal life. In 1973, she along with a few dedicated individuals formed what is now known as Interval House in Saskatoon, an agency dedicated to providing a safe place for women and children fleeing domestic violence. Anne passed away on Oct. 5th, 2012 after a short battle with Cancer.
“Anne was a true example of the Community Services Sector worker,” said Darryl Firth, the current Chair of the Community Services Sector.
“She worked long hours, often for very little pay, and cared deeply about the clients she served. She left very big shoes to fill and is very much missed by her union brothers and sisters.”
Tracey Kurtenbach served as the Negotiating Committee Chair of the SIAST Professional Services Bargaining Unit from 1996 until June 2012; and also served as Chair of the Provincial Grievance Committee for a number of years. After a long and courageous battle with breast cancer, Tracey passed away peacefully on December 9th, 2012.
Tracey was a staunch Trade Unionist, a Warrior and a dear friend. Her tenacity and strength of will were deeply admired, and she has left an indelible mark on those who knew her.
“Tracey was an excellent bargaining chairperson. Her leadership abilities and devotion to the members and SGEU were second to none,” said Shawna North, Chair of the Education Sector.
Tracey will always be remembered for her unwavering selflessness and commitment to helping others. She dedicated innumerable hours raising money for several youth-related charities as part of her role as a volunteer for the Law Enforcement Guardians; she always derived great pleasure from this work, which she actively participated in until the day of her passing.
Anne and Tracey's family members will be accepting the Life Member Awards on their behalf at the Convention Banquet on Friday night when their memories and contributions to SGEU and the labour movement will be remembered.