Irma Brunsdon thought there must be a mistake.
Her daughters were at her house with Prince Albert Council of Women president Patricia Leson and they had a message. She was to receive the council’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her volunteer work in Prince Albert. It was an unexpected revelation that took some getting used to.
“Can you imagine my surprise and shock when Pat showed up at my door accompanied by my daughters?” Brunsdon chuckled during the award ceremony at the Prince Albert Wildlife Federation Hall. “I said, ‘what’s going on here?’ I was in disbelief.”
Reality had sunk in by the time council members and guests gathered to recognize Brunsdon’s achievements on Sunday. However, it took a trip over to the council’s Hall of Fame gallery in City Hall to make it happen.
Brunsdon said it was humbling to know her portrait would be hanging among those of many other distinguished local women. Her daughters say it’s exactly the type of recognition she deserves.
“I always felt that she was a woman ahead of her time, exactly the type the Hall of Fame celebrates,” said Wanda Hayduk, Brunsdon’s nominator, and one of her three daughters to speak during the ceremony. “Life was less about hardships and more about opportunities. She loved having diversity in her life, and was fortunate to find a partner who shared that same view. They believed in the benefits of a healthy community.”
For Brunsdon, that healthy community started with music. Both she and her husband, Don, volunteered extensively, playing everywhere from kindergarten classes to seniors homes, sometimes in the same day. She played both the saxophone and the bass guitar, and took a special joy in using those musical gifts to brighten things up.
“Music is magical,” Brunsdon said. “To me it is medicine for the soul. It picks you up when you’re down. It (reaches) all ages.”
While music was her passion, Brunsdon didn’t confine her involvement to that arena. She also served on the Community Cooperative Health Centre board for nine years, along with another 13 on the Prince Albert Lake Country Co-op board of directors.
However, music and culture were her biggest loves, and she kept coming back to them, whether as a singer with the Watsonairs Choir, or helping to organize fundraisers for the E.A. Rawlinson Centre, or mentoring aspiring local musicians.
Her daughters say that she not only did she do all that, but she did it with a smile on her face and a spring in her step.
“(My parents) youthful spirits and enthusiasm gave them a commonality with people of all ages,” Hayduk remembered. “It never hurt that they were just plain fun (and) up for anything. The word no was never considered.”