Agnes Etta Van Beers

Agnes Etta Van Beers

Agnes Etta Van Beers (Sommerfeld) (nee Knoll)

April 06, 1927 ~ July 20, 2013

Etta passed away peacefully at the Swan Valley Lodge (respite bed) on July 20, 2013 at the age of 86 years.

Etta was born April 06, 1927 at Marcelin, Saskatchewan the eldest of two children of parents Heinrich and Frieda Knoll. She was predeceased by her beloved first husband Arthur – May 1995 after nearly 50 years of marriage and her daughter-in-law Sonja Sommerfeld in December of 2004.

Etta’s childhood years were spent living in a small farming community of Brightholme, Saskatchewan. She attended a small one room school with 35 students grades 1-8 and succeeded in always being at the top of her class with honour grades. Grade 9 &10 were achieved by correspondence. She was not allowed to attend further education as this would have meant her boarding at the nearest town of Shellbrook approximately 18 miles away. No school busses were available and the family could not afford the extra expense. She worked hard on the farm to help her parents make ends meet. At the age of seven Etta met McKenzie King and at the age of fourteen John Diefenbaker when her father was chosen by the community to meet these famous politicians at the nearby Leask train station in his democrat drawn by two horses. The Saskatchewan farm was sold and the Knoll family moved by train to Lister, British Columbia in 1944. In 1945 Arthur Sommerfeld returned from his service in the army and they were married November 11, 1946.

Etta, now married at the age of nineteen, continued to toil at a predominate farming community. Her dowry money allowed her husband to purchase 180 acres from the Veteran’s Land Commission. Virgin forested land had no water and no electricity.

She was a wonderful homemaker, having knowledge in many skills – sewing, crocheting, tatting, knitting, making homemade sauerkraut, and even brewing a wonderful raspberry wine. Huckleberry recipes she abound. She grew her flowers and vegetables with great pride. In later years Etta made and decorated beautiful four tiered wedding cakes for many members, friends, and family of the Lister Community.

She was an active member of the Lister Community and her Church. She belonged to the Lister Deer Lodge Club and to the Lister Women’s Institute. In Brightholme Etta was a member of the Lutheran Church and continued to follow her Lutheran Christian faith upon moving to the Lister Community. She was a charter member of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lister. In 1950 the church was built, completed, and dedicated. Etta then belonged to the Bethlehem Lutheran Ladies Aid and was the organist along with Kate Huscroft from 1950-1970. In that time period she taught Sunday school and was the superintendent of Church School studies. In 1970, with the merger of the three Lutheran Churches in the Creston Valley she continued with her organist duties at Redeemer Lutheran. She lived her life as a quiet spoken, loving and kind Christian dedicated to her principles of Christian faith. She was quick to laugh and had a warm smile.

Etta’s gifts were numerous – she was a self-taught pianist and organist, and could also play the violin, guitar, accordion, and sang alto as a member of the Church choir. She excelled as an artist of oil paintings and roses were her favorite. She also practiced in watercolours and in stencil drawing.

The stencil drawing of the late Charlotte Basil holding a model of the sturgeon nose birch canoe is now displayed at the Kanawa International Heritage Museum in Ottawa – 1981.

Etta also played a predominate role in the quest of naming Sommerfeld Mountain – which is now displayed in official back road and recreational map books.

She is survived by her two children daughter Judith Stead of Erickson, BC and son Gary Sommerfeld (Lillian Sluz) also of Erickson.


Shawn Stead (32) of Kelowna, BC

Avril Stead (31) of Calgary, Alberta

Brendan Stead (26) of Erickson, BC

Karl Sommerfeld (32) (Kristina), with son (Marcus Jacob) of Creston, BC

Felton Sommerfeld (30) (Miranda, with daughter (Ashlyn Sonja) of Red Deer, Alberta

She is survived by one sibling brother Edward Knoll of Lister, BC and his children:

Sherry Lea Lazerte, Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Kandis Yavonne (Robert) Gay, Cranbrook BC

Kim Edward Knoll, Erickson BC

Eddie Jay (Bruce) Robertson, Thrums BC

Nataley Etta Zarchukoff, Creston BC

Darcie Knoll, (adopted niece), Penticton BC

She is also survived by her second husband Gerry Van Beers married October 1997 and six stepchildren:

John (Sharon) Van Beers, Oshawa Ontario

Trudy (Joe) McKinnon, Hinton Alberta

Dorothy (Jack) LeRoux, Edmonton Alberta

Ben (Carole) Van Beers, Sherwood Park Alberta

Joanne (Rick) Yuke, Moose Jaw Saskatchewan

Gary (Jane) Van Beers, Fairview Alberta

Along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Etta was predeceased by her parents Heinrich and Freida Knoll of Lister, BC and four half-sisters Melinda, Adeline, Olga, and Irma and three half-brothers Otto, Rudolph, and Walter.

Thank-you Dr. Kriegler LeRoux for your every kindness in caring for Etta and to all the nursing staff of the Creston Valley Hospital and Swan Valley Lodge.

A Celebration of Life was held on Thursday August 01, 2013 at 11:00am, Redeemer Lutheran Church with Pastor Harry Haberstock officiating.

Committal Service took place at Lister Community Cemetery in Lister, BC immediately after the luncheon.

A luncheon for family and friends was served by the Redeemer Lutheran Church Ladies in the lower church hall.

Pallbearers were Shawn Stead, Avril Stead, Brendan Stead, Karl Sommerfeld, Felton Sommerfeld, Nataley Zarchukoff.

Honorary Pallbearers were Edward Knoll, Roger Sommerfeld, Kenneth Sommerfeld, Dorothy LeRoux.

Friends wishing to make a memorial tribute may do so to The Redeemer Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 479, Creston, British Columbia, V0B 1G0

To know Etta was to love Etta.

‘Say not in grief she is no more’ ‘but live in thankfulness that she was’.

We love you and will miss you dear Mother and Grandmother.

Judith, Gary, Shawn, Avril, Brendan, Karl, and Felton.

Your condolences will be approved within one business day. You will need a valid Facebook account. Please email us if you have any questions.