Threads of love: A lifetime of commitment and giving
It is widely acknowledged that the people of Saskatchewan are an exceptionally generous lot. In fact, it’s something we pride ourselves on. This generosity often goes further than caring for our families and neighbours; it extends to those beyond our province and even our country.
Catherine Roadhouse embodied this compassionate spirit throughout her lifetime. Born in January 1911, Catherine grew up near Evesham, Saskatchewan. Upon completing Grade 12, she lived at home and helped with housework, learned various types of intricate needlework and cared for her mother, who suffered from poor health. In 1938, she married Carl Roadhouse and they farmed successfully for many years in the Evesham area.
Catherine took an active interest in community activities and co-operative ventures. In 1975, Catherine became the second director of the quilting group, which became a successful cottage industry raising much-needed funds for the improvement of the community. Her charitable work continued for many years and at the age of 96 she began crocheting blankets for orphanages. In 2008 alone, she spent nearly $1,300 on wool. Her niece noted, “she crocheted hundreds and hundreds of blankets, trying to bring some love into the lives of hundreds of unloved children.”
Catherine was also a strong supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society and canvassed locally for them for over 40 years. She firmly believed that research would lead the way to a cure. To ensure that this important work would continue beyond her lifetime, Catherine left part of her estate to the U of S to be used for cancer research.
Catherine’s extraordinary bequest is now being put to use at the University of Saskatchewan by supporting a research project on the primary causes of breast cancer.
Dr. Rajni Chibbar and Dr. Andrew Freywald are focusing on an aggressive type of cancer that is often found in younger women. “It’s often very difficult to treat,” said Dr. Freywald. “The aggressiveness is much higher in younger women than older women, and we are trying to find out why. On a molecular level, this is a very different cancer—there isn’t an obvious molecule or target, and it doesn’t respond well to general cancer therapies.” The ultimate goal of the project is to find effective targets for treatment.
Catherine’s estate gift will ensure that important cancer research can continue to move forward. Her community is indelibly changed thanks to her fundraising efforts and numerous children will receive comfort and warmth from the blankets that she lovingly crafted. In the words of her niece, “She may be gone, but the fruits of her labours will live on in the hearts and minds of us all for a long, long time.”
Not your ordinary everyday
Bill Pringle (BComm’55) hasn’t forgotten his Saskatchewan roots even after having a successful career in Calgary. As a chartered accountant, a founding partner of a leading firm and owner of a real estate development company in Calgary, he still describes his life as “ordinary, everyday.” This quiet achievement makes him a very modest man—not unusual for a prairie boy.
Having grown up in the small rural community of Harris, Saskatchewan as the youngest of three sons, who all attended the U of S, Bill chose a generous $1-million bequest to establish the John A., Bertram H. & William G. Pringle Award. The award will benefit U of S students from communities other than Saskatoon and Regina and will be a lasting legacy to the three Pringle brothers.
When asked what made him think of establishing a scholarship at the U of S, Bill responded “My older brother John loved the university; he started working there after coming home from the war, finally becoming vice-president of administration. So that was a connection. I’d also attended my 25th, 40th and 50th class reunions. And I guess as you get older you think about things more. My generation was lucky. We didn’t have to fight in the war. By the time I graduated university, the economy was good and there were no problems getting a job.”
“If I hadn’t got an education at a reasonable price, I wouldn’t have had the chance to do as well as I have. I wanted to do something for the U of S because it had certainly done a lot for me,” Bill said. “The scholarship will put something back into education.” He also hopes through his story that he might inspire other alumni to make their own gift.
Bill may be a modest man, but he definitely isn’t “ordinary.” His extraordinary generosity through his planned gift will be felt by many U of S students.