The family of Anna Marie Grizans, 66, of Thunder Bay, Ontario, is deeply saddened to share the news of her unexpected passing on February 21, 2023 due to complications during a medical procedure.
Anna was born on January 24, 1957, the third of six children to Bruno and Veronica in Nipigon, Ontario. Anna attended Nipigon-Red Rock High School and was known to be a bit of a rascal during her teenage years. She was active in sports and loved to play women’s and mixed slow pitch, broomball, hockey, golf, curling, and bowling.
In 1975, she gave birth to her son Derek, her pride and joy. They moved from Nipigon to Thunder Bay in 1980 where she stayed for the rest of her life.
Though she settled down after becoming a parent, Anna always kept her spontaneous, fearless and fun-loving nature. Anna loved adventure at home and abroad. She was a frequent attendee of Pow-wows, music festivals and concerts, ATV runs, and cultural events. She loved to camp, fish, hike and spend time outdoors. She seemed to grow more adventurous with age; in her 50’s and 60’s Anna went skydiving and travelled to Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Estonia, Lithuania, France, Germany, and her father’s beloved homeland of Latvia.
She had plans to go to New York City with her son in the near future. She was a playful soul who jumped at any opportunity to play games (especially cribbage), to sing along loudly – even if she didn’t really know the words - (especially to ABBA, Shania Twain or Boney M) or to kick up her heels.
Anna found her career at Dilico Child and Family Services, where she worked for 29 years as a residential addictions’ services worker. She was very active in her Unifor branch, Local 229, and served for many years on the Ontario Regional Council’s Aboriginal & Worker of Colour Committee. In 2019, Anna was recognized for her years of service and leadership at the Beendigen Honouring Indigenous Women’s Day event, celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of Indigenous women. She was true to herself and embraced her qualities as a proud lesbian and two-spirit Anishinaabeg, who early on became a fearless advocate for women, as well as the 2SLGBTQIA+ and Indigenous communities.
Anna was a member of Wikwemikoong First Nation. She embraced and found much healing in her Anishinaabe heritage and traditional ways, while also maintaining a strong faith in God as a Roman Catholic. She was a truly loving, kind, compassionate and generous soul who gave to those in need without hesitation (just days before her passing, she bought the groceries of a stranger she felt impressed to help after chatting with him in line).
She often checked in with those experiencing homelessness in the city and selflessly provided anything she could, even if only a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. People were drawn to her bright laughter and warm, welcoming, enthusiastic nature. Anna could walk into a room full of strangers and walk out with 10 new friends. And she never said goodbye without giving you a hug.
Anna will be dearly missed by her son Derek (Lisa), her siblings Rose Dumont, Jenny Grizans, John Grizans and MaryAnne Lepage; her beloved nieces and nephews: Danielle (Justin), Dale (Carly), Cheyanne (Jarred), Kaitlin and Aaron; her Auntie Lorna and Auntie Honey; grand-nieces and nephews: Taylor, DJ, Azlynn, Ellie, Emma; and numerous cousins, as well as many dear friends from Dilico, AA, Unifor, Kaministiquia, Fort William First Nation, Nipigon and Lake Helen.
She was predeceased by her parents and her brother Joe.
A private service for the family will be held on March 4th, 2023 with cremation to follow. A Celebration of Life and interment for Anna will be held later in the Spring of 2023. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
The family would appreciate any favourite memories, stories or photos of Anna be sent to the address above to be included in the celebration and shared with family.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Everest Funeral Chapel, 299 Waverley Street at Algoma.
Those who wish to carry on her legacy are encouraged to donate to Shelter House, Dew Drop Inn, Grace Place, RFDA or show kindness the next time a person having a hard time crosses your path.