June 8, 1944 – September 25, 2023

It is with heavy hearts that the family of Carmen Stephens (Merkowsky), late of Regina, SK, announces her sudden passing on Monday, September 25, 2023, at the age of 79 years.

Carmen will be missed and lovingly remembered by her children, Derril (Carolyn), Roland (Meg), Karen (Leo), and Craig (Tammi); grandchildren, Dustin (Christy), Dyllon (Andrea), Jamie (Samantha), Mattias, Eric (Laurence), Yianni, Duncan, Emerson, Carter, and Rachel; great grandchildren, Coe, Asher, and Leo; sister, Linda (Rick); niece, Jodi (Mike); nephew, Shawn (Nicole); and great nephews, Rylan, Kingston, and Kyler; as well as many relatives and friends.

Carmen was predeceased by her infant son, Joseph, her parents, Tony and Gabe, and husband, Fred.  She was formerly married to Derril Hackl, the father of her children.

Carmen was born June 8, 1944, in Rimouski, QC to Tony and Gabe Merkowsky.  They moved to Prince Albert, SK in 1945. They often traveled back to visit Gabe’s family in Quebec. Carmen loved the train rides all the way to the East.  Carmen graduated high school at The Academy Presentation of Mary and remains close to some of her schoolmates.  Summers included many weekends and holidays spent at “the lake”.  They stayed in Waskesiu, Murray Point, and Emma Lake.  Her parents found a permanent spot at Sunnyside Beach at Emma Lake in the late 70’s.

Carmen returned to Emma Lake every summer until her mom passed away in 2015 and continued to go back to visit her sister and family every year.   The lake was her happy place, and she looked forward to her time there every year.

Carmen married Derril Hackl in 1963, and they moved to Saskatoon soon after, where they raised their family of four children.

In the early years, Carmen worked at the Sheraton Cavalier Hotel, and loved to interact with her customers. After their fourth child, Craig, was born, Carmen was a full time Mom for several years. 

In the late 70’s, Carmen started a new career as an independent representative for a variety of companies, including Amana Microwaves, Celebrity Jewelry, and Belkraft International.  Her sister Linda joined her at Belkraft, and they were very successful. Carmen achieved many awards throughout her time with the company, including Top North American Field Manager in 1981. She also enjoyed achievement awards that took her to Hawaii, Disneyland, Las Vegas, and even on a Caribbean Island Cruise. She was an amazing salesperson and team leader for almost 15 years.  Many of her colleagues became lifelong friends.

In 1985, Carmen started a new chapter when she and Derril went their separate ways after 22 years together.  Carmen met her best friend Fred in 1986 while volunteering in political activities. They settled in Regina, and were happily married for 26 years, until Fred passed away in 2013.  Carmen helped Fred run an antique store and continued to share and pursue common interests together.

They were very active members of the Regina Masonic Lodge, and Carmen quickly became part of the International Order of Job’s Daughters and served as a Bethel Guardian for three years.  Here she also met many new friends while volunteering her time.  They were married at the Masonic Temple in Regina, the first marriage ceremony held at the Lodge.  They remained part of the Masonic community until Fred’s passing.

In 1993, they moved to McTaggart, SK, and opened a craft store in Yellow Grass, which they operated for several years. The store benefited from her lifelong love of crocheting and needlepoint, and she was exceptional at designing beautiful home décor, and of course, beautiful Christmas decorations that filled her home during her favourite season. It was often difficult for her to part with these treasures at the store.

They moved to Weyburn, where Carmen became the Activities Director at Hilltop Manor Nursing Home.  She loved working there, making the residents’ lives brighter. She enjoyed another ten years at Hilltop Manor in Weyburn, as well as William Albert House in Emerald Park, before officially retiring from the workforce. 

Retirement allowed her to expand her already active volunteer life, and she became Chair of the Patient Advisory Committee in the Sun Country Health Region. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Wor-Kin Shop in Weyburn, and was a strong advocate for mental health, while also finding time to volunteer with the Kidney Foundation.

Carmen and Fred became very active in All Saints Anglican Church a few years after they moved to Weyburn, and both participated in the lay ministry.  After Fred passed, Carmen moved back to Prince Albert in 2014, to be closer to her mom and sister, where she spent the next six years.  Carmen moved to Regina in 2020, where her daughter Karen lived.  She loved living in Regina again and took in many activities. Carmen also enjoyed getting dressed up and attending shows at the Conexus Art Centre.  As always, she continued her volunteer work with the health region, serving on serval committees including Patient Family Partners, IPAC Oversight Committee, and Patients for Patient Safety Council. 

As was her nature, Carmen made many new friends during the last three years in Regina, including her dear friend Sharon.

Carmen also had a huge love of pets and had countless fur babies over the years.

Mom, grandma, great grandma, daughter, sister, wife, niece, aunty, cousin, and friend, Carmen always had a way of connecting with everyone, welcoming all into her life, and loved visiting with her family and friends.  She will always be in our hearts.

A Celebration of Life for Carmen will be held October 21st, 2023, at the Conexus Arts Centre at 1:00 p.m.  The service will be recorded and livestreamed. The family requests in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Regina Humane Society, Hospitals of Regina Foundation, or Canadian Mental Health Association. To view the livestream or to leave an online message of condolence, please visit www.speersfuneralchapel.com