Mary Helen "Dorene" Rycroft Binks

October 30, 1940 - May 03, 2024


Obituary For Mary Helen "Dorene" Rycroft Binks

Dorene Binks resident of the County of Grande Prairie, AB, passed away on Friday, May 3, 2024, at the age of 83 years old.

Dorene was born in Sexsmith, AB, on October 30, 1940, at Johanna Haakstad Maternity Home.

A content, cooing, cuddly baby, the apple of her father Mark’s eye and the heart and patience of her loving mother Ruth.

Dorene was homeschooled for grades 1 and 2 as they lived on the Smoky Flats in grandparents Robert Henry and Helen’s log house. “My mom was the toughest teacher I ever had” she said.

When she started at Rivertop School in grade 3, her dad drove by team or pickup (weather and road permitted) and he taught her The Lord’s Prayer, God Save The Queen, and Oh Canada.

Mom’s best birthday present was the addition of brother Butch on October 30, 1942, brother Paul in 1946, and little sister Sylvia (who mom treated like her own dolly) in 1947. She had frequently said Butch and her cousin Kay have always been her bestest friends.

In 1950, the family moved to Sexsmith but moved back after they purchased the store on SW corner of Parkers ¼ in 1955, and Dorene was bussed to Teepee Creek School for grades 9, 10, and 11. A treasured keepsake is her grade 11 Teepee Creek School rings. Mom really enjoyed helping organize their Rivertop school reunion in 2002 on May 18th and 19th.

Dorene graduated grade 12 at the Sexsmith High School in 1958 as her family had permanently moved back to Sexsmith.

Mom loved her life growing up at the river flat and later helping at the store. She loved the closeness of all her cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. She grew up loving and respecting all her relatives and passed that on to her children and everyone she met.

In 1957-1958, she also cleaned house for Knobby Clark, he scared a lot of people, but not Dorene because her dad had a good chat with Knobby prior. Mom really enjoyed Jim Nelson’s play about Knobby and she had plenty of stories to share.

Then she met Robert Frank Binks in 1956 when Kay and Barney brought him out to the Smoky Heights store and the four of them went driving. From that day forward they were an item.

After graduating in 1958, Dorene worked for Johnny Pronovo at Regal selling shoes until her wedding on May 20, 1960, at the Grande Prairie United Church. Their reception and dance was held at the Teepee Creek Hall amidst an evening May snowstorm. Then she really went to work! She was Dad’s partner through and through – feeding pigs, raising beef and chickens, milking cows, selling cream, growing a huge garden and helping her MIL Tina whenever she could.

Dad’s brother Dennis and his wife Cheryl lived in the farm yard as well and this became a lifelong friendship, celebrating many life events together even after Dennis and Cheryl moved to Edmonton. Mom was very close to Dad’s sister Phylis and considered her as her second little sister.

Dorene and Bob’s first son Ken was born April 9, 1961, then Ray in 1962, Brad in 1963, Trevor in 1968 and Evan in 1972.

Mom always introduced us Daughters-in-law as her daughters and said repeatedly “I have 5 sons and gained 5 daughters.”

Well now with all these boys her work should have decreased, but NO! Now she had all the extra laundry, meals for her growing family and their tag-along friends like Les Bak and nephews Vaughn, Teddy and Lorne, who spent time at the farm.

Running the boys to 4-H, becoming an assistant leader and then the overall 4-H leader after Neil Moon stepped back, picking the boys up from and attending their sports events. Volunteering on Harry Balfor Parent Committees and school boards. All this was done with a smile and diplomacy, organizing everyone with her injection of enthusiasm.

Mom was always the first person to send food, lend a helping hand, an ear to listen, providing a shoulder to lean on for her friends and neighbours.

Later, as the boys moved out and married, her joy and love knew no bounds when she became a GRAMMA.

Many of us took turns living in a mobile home in the yard at the farm for a year or two. She loved to babysit and loved to invite the grandkids over for ice cream.

When Dorene thought she wasn’t quite busy enough, that she might actually have FREE time, she started volunteering for the Grande Prairie Museum, Centre 2000 and then she and Dad both volunteered at the Klesken Museum and was so proud of the development of the site, especially the candy store.

Her dedication to 4-H never wavered even after the boys were done. After she stepped away as leader of the GP Club, she was asked to judge 4-H speeches at club and district levels. She was also instrumental in setting up Regional Days for the Peace Region and always, always 7B Farms sponsored awards and trophies for multiple clubs even last year.

For years, Mom and Dad showed their Hereford cattle at the GP Fair and Dawson Creek show. She loved the camaraderie of all her fellow livestock producers who became close friends.

Mom loved to bake, sew, and garden. She sewed and designed many of her own stylish outfits and beautiful dresses for her granddaughter's special events.

Dorene was involved as a judge for the GP Stompede Queen Program and that carried over to being asked to judge various components of the TP Creek Queen program starting in 2009. She and her Antique Cowgirls sponsored beautiful jewelry and gave monetary donations.

She enjoyed working with granddaughters Bobbie Rae and Amber. Gramma Dorene was so proud of granddaughter Madi when she was crowned Teepee Creek Stampede Queen in 2015. The only year Mom did not judge as a conflict of interest and the same year she and Dad were Honourary Wagon Masters.

Mom is being greeted in heaven by her parents Ruth and Mark Rycroft; brother Paul; brother-in-laws Dennis Binks and Don Moyland; sister-in-law Phyllis Foster; and dear granddaughter Adele Binks; as well as many aunts and uncles.

Our hearts are heavy, our joy for her in heaven is huge.

Most of all, Mom loved her family, her mom and dad, aunts, uncles, grandparents, her dear siblings, her boisterous boys and their wives – but her greatest joy was her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

You raised us all up and now you are raised up in peace and joy and love.

May 3, 2024

Continuing her legacy are her husband Bob; sons Ken (Pam), Ray (Tina), Brad (Trina) Trevor (Melanie) and Evan (Melanie); 17 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at the Sexsmith Civic Centre. A livestream of the service will be available on Oliver's Facebook page

Please dress in bright, cheerful colours if you wish.

Donations may be made to Sorrentino’s Compassion House Edmonton (10909 76 Ave. Edmonton, AB T6G 0J6,, Grand Prairie Palliative Care Society (#204, 10134 97 Ave. Grande Prairie, AB T8V 7X6, or to the charity of one’s choice.

Live Stream

Live Stream

Photos & Video

Add New Photos & Video


  • May 14, 2024

    We are so sorry to hear of Dorene's passing. We know all the fond memories will help over time. Our Sympathy goes out to all her families. Danny & Janice Dorscheid

  • May 11, 2024

    Sorry to hear of Dorene's passing. My sympathies to the Binks families. Rhonda Clarke-Gauthier

  • May 10, 2024

    To Bob and all your family, we extend our sincere condolences. Meeting all of you when our kids were in 4-H, Dorene was a foremost person with her enthusiasm and organizational abilities, so much appreciated. We have enjoyed the occasional visit since and she was always so friendly. Paul and Myrna Lemay

  • May 09, 2024

    So sorry to see that Doreen has passed. I met her on a couple of occasions, and although I hardly knew her, she made an unforgettable impression on me. She made me feel so welcome, as she greeted me, like I was an old friend. Such a special, warm and vibrant soul!

  • May 08, 2024

    Bob, Ken, Ray, Trevor, Brad, Evan & families Thinking of you at this very sad time! Dorene was such a great lady! She will be remembered for her pleasant contributions in so many areas. Always enjoyed visiting with Dorene.

  • May 08, 2024

    So sorry to hear of Dorene's passing. She was a wonderful person and will always be remembered and missed. Our sincere sympathy to Bob and the family.


We are experiencing some technical difficulties with our Obituaries.  We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.  Our apologies for any inconvenience.


To view the livestream of Sandra Van Schaick (Saturday at 11:00 am) or Glenn Kochendorfer (Monday at 2:00 pm) visit

Scroll to Top