In the 10 years since she passed away, Mona Elliott’s inspiration has transferred to the family she left behind.
Elliott, a fixture at Daines Western Shop (now the Cowboy’s Choice Retail Western Outlet in Vernon) from the day she and her husband Vern purchased the business in the fall of 1976, died eight days shy of her 55th birthday on Sept. 11, 2010.
“Mona dedicated countless hours of effort to ensure there were positive results but she truly never worked a day of her life,” said Vern, from his home near Nanton, Alta., where he now operates Gold Spring Custom Hats with one of his two sons, former professional rodeo star Clay Elliott.
“She approached every situation and event with her enthusiastic, positive influence.”
The name Gold Spring is the site in Alberta at the family ranch near Buffalo where Mona’s ashes were spread.
She met Vern in 1973 and the two were married March 12, 1976, in Medicine Hat before moving to the North Okanagan, running the business and raising their two sons Ty, born in 1985, and Clay, who followed in 1994. Outside the retail world, Elliott was involved in Vernon Minor Hockey and helped form the North Okanagan Rodeo Club along with Cecil and Carol Louis, Gary and Deb Keenan and Bill and Chris Patterson.
Sept. 11, 2010, said Vern, is the day his beloved wife and mother became an angel, watching over her family.
Along with helping Vern run the hat shop in Nanton, Clay has built a beautiful home just west of Gold Spring, has the most beautiful girl in Kaylin with him.
His father said his son has a beautiful life. “Clay spends most days in the hat shop along with riding colts, working on roping horses and looking after his cows,” said Vern.
Ty, once considered a top junior hockey prospect before bullriding became his passion, isn’t too far away.
He and his wife Haley, a former pro rodeo barrel racer, have a wonderful home with acreage north of Nanton and are raising two great kids – Carter and Raena.
Ty and Haley – high school sweethearts who graduated from Vernon Secondary School – are successful sales reps for Wrangler Clothing, Weaver Leather and Canada West Boots.
“They spend their home time riding in their arena with their kids…I don’t want to be biased, but if there is an award for World’s Best Parents, they’d be at the top of the list,” beamed Vern.
Mona, of course, would have been proud of them all and is still dearly missed.
“Mona truly loved Barb, Corrie (both at Cowboy’s Choice still), all of her co-workers, her extended family on Westside Road and her friends,” said Vern.
“She will be forever remembered.”