A few nights ago, my friend Dave e-mailed me with the news of the passing of Mona Rae Elliot. Mona left this world on September 11. She and her husband, Vern ran The Cowboys Choice, a western shop in Vernon, B.C.
I never had the chance to meet Mona. Our paths didn\’t cross. That is the way it sometimes is. We often do not have the opportunity to meet the gems of our horse world, separated not only by our vast geography, but so many genres within the western lifestyle. Regardless, this morning I woke up thinking of a fellow woman who was also a mother, a friend, a wife and a lover of all that is a part of our lives on this earth. I don\’t know what it\’s like in your part of the country, but here, it is a radiant morning. And so, if I may, I\’d like to dedicate these precious few moments of a gorgeous autumn to Mona, and to her family and friends.
Our friend, Melissa Sword compiled this post to Mona. Thanks so much, Melissa, for doing this.
Says Melissa, “Having only met Mona briefly at The Cowboys Choice store years ago, I am coming to know her through the words of her friends and family. This tribute is based on the shared memories of just a few of the people who were fortunate enough to know her better than I.”
“Our Mona passed away yesterday afternoon (September 11) at home with all her boys. They will take her home to Buffalo, Alberta, for the service as both families are there and Mona’s mom and Vern’s Mom and Dad can’t make the trip here. She was very at peace and had lots of company, hugs and kisses and even laughs in her final days. She was and is an amazing woman and Vern’s love for her was a true gift for all of us to witness.” ~ Diana Raffan
“The Elliot Family and friends and the rodeo world has lost such a beautiful, kind hearted woman.”~ Katie McCullough
Melissa: “The news of Mona’s passing after a courageous battle with cancer, was shared in hushed voices among her friends and acquaintances throughout Canada and the U.S. Mona was held in high esteem by all those who knew her. She had a gift of making people feel welcome with her big, beautiful smile and warm personality.”
Jennifer Hohmann remembers the first time she met Mona in 1997. “My mom and I were at the Falkland Rodeo and decided to do a little shopping at The Cowboys Choice booth. We started talking to Mona; she was so approachable and friendly and she invited us to have dinner that evening with the family. She just took us two stragglers in, fed us and made us feel right at home. What Katie said is just how I will always think of her; ‘a beautiful, kind hearted woman’. God bless their family and friends.”
Finally, we are sharing this poem, written by Tanner (Girletz).
Always the one, who said hi with a hug,
You could tell it was real, she meant it with LOVE.
A mom to us all, no matter how much we needed,
Never mattered what, a bed, some food, or a guilty case pleaded.
She always had time, and never got mad,
But really how could she, her boys weren’t too bad.
She traveled the circuit, never missing a show,
Cheering on Ty and Clay, and watching them grow.
With Vern always there, the boys made them proud,
Whether it be out in Vernon, or in front of a crowd.
Seems different now, just doesn’t seem fair,
But you still make us smile, even from way up there.
She lived every day, with style and grace,
She was never unhappy, never a frown on her face.
Every breath of wind, every leaf that does fall,
We know that it’s you, the sweetest angel of all.
This poem was written for my dear and true friend, mother, and hero, Mona Elliot.
~ Tanner Girletz
Melissa relates there is a Facebook page entitled Mona’s Cowboy Inspiration Fund, which gives direction to those who wish to contribute to a fund, from which the proceeds will go towards Mona\’s true passion of “helping people.\”