1928 – 2014
Edith Werner died peacefully while in palliative care just before midnight on May 21, 2014.
Born in Den Haag, Nederland, on December 30, 1928, to Jacob Meijer and Archangela Ottolini, she led a varied and interesting life. Growing up as the fourth of five children, she experienced the Depression, entered her teens during WWII, and survived the “Hunger Winter” of 1944. Her stories of the Stortstraat included both happy childhood memories of skipping games with friends, as well as those of darker times when her brothers were picked up and sent to forced labour camps in Germany. As was typical of that time, she left school at the end of Grade 8 and took up a trade. Edith became an amazing seamstress, able to create anything from wedding dresses to theatre costumes using only a tape measure, her sewing machine and her hands. She lived in Switzerland as an au pair, in the Sudan in a house complete with a cook, gardener and houseboy, in a rustic house in rural Alberta without running water or an indoor toilet, finally ending up on Gabriola. Everywhere she went, everyone knew and loved Edith.
No obituary about Edith would be complete without at least one story - and there is a book full of stories to tell. For any of you who have noticed the signature dents and duct tape on her car, here is her account of how she learned to drive. When she arrived in Canada, she and my father landed at Pier 21, took the train to Montreal where they had a layover before going to their final destination of Calgary. They decided to take turns looking after their luggage so they each could have a chance to explore a bit. What amazed Edith was the number of cars, but even more amazing was the fact that there were women driving some of them. She decided then that she was going to do the same. My dad, being a European man of the 1950s didn’t really see the need for a wife with a driver’s licence, but “no one was Edith’s boss.” Dad worked nights, so while he was sleeping during the day, she would bundle me into the back seat and head off down the gravel roads of Alberta to give herself some practice. She told of going to her friend’s place, trying to roll down the window to wave hello and forgetting to brake. She missed running into the house by a hair. Mom drove without a licence for nearly a decade, being stopped repeatedly by the police, until finally the local RCMP confiscated the car. How did she get away with no licence for so long? Well, Edith could charm monkeys out of the trees. She would smile and laugh and talk in her cute accent, and if that didn’t work, she could cry at will.
Edith was a rich, varied and complex person with an equally rich, varied and complex life. A philosopher, humanist, socialist and proclaimed atheist who was constantly drawn to religion, she was also a clown and the life of a party, especially if she had a drink. She was gifted with an amazing mind, was highly musical and was a pretty good swimmer in her day. Edith was predeceased by her parents, her sister, Riet (Maria Csanyi-Meijer), her brothers Loek (Louis Meijer) and Joop (Johan Meijer), and her husband, Arthur Werner. She leaves behind a grandson, John McCollum (Gabriola), two daughters, Jane Krul (Gary McCollum), and Saskia Krul (France), a step-daughter, Susan Werner (England), as well as her sister, Archangela Veen-Meijer (Nederland), and several nieces and nephews. She is also survived by the father of her children, Kees Krul, and of course, many dear friends.
I’d like to thank this community for the love and support they gave Edith during this final year of her life. She was able to live in her home until the end, but only due to the combined efforts of a whole lot of people.
They say it takes a community to raise a child, but it also takes one to help someone die a decent death. In no particular order, and please forgive me for any unintentional omissions, my heartfelt thanks to:
The staff at the Palliative Care Unit at NRGH for facilitating a peaceful passing;
Dr. Mackenzie and his two compassionate receptionists, Jessica and Caroline;
The Home Support team who cared for her three times a day for nearly a year - these women are truly, truly wonderful;
The Gabriola Home Support nurses for their advice and assistance;
Simon and his team at the pharmacy for their professional and caring service;
Our skillful and empathetic team of ambulance attendants who come out any time of the day or night;
The lovely people at PHC who regularly brought soup and best wishes;
The amazing friends who stayed overnight the past several months - Bernardus, Thom, Vicki, Jody and Carol;
Robert, Paul and David for the kindness and love they showered on Edith at her 85th birthday party – as well as all the other times;
The many members of our community who visited her, took her for coffee, asked about her and sent their love over the past 10 months, and to those of you who have given me your support and kind words.
We couldn’t have done this without you.
Mom always said she was going to make a tape for her funeral. I was supposed to play it and she would say, “Ah ha! You thought I was dead!” Since I can’t seem to find that tape, I am taking this as an omen. There will be no service, but I am absolutely certain there are many, many ways a person can celebrate her life. Go to a play, listen to some opera, drive out to Berry Point and rejoice in how “beeeuuwtiful” it is, eat something covered in whipped cream, enjoy a “lekkere kopje koffee,” burst into spontaneous song, make a donation to the Commons, PHC or the NDP, or do something that brings you joy and pleasure. She’d think any of those things were wonderful.
Dag lieve Moe, Jane Krul
“Keep the sunny side up!”
Ronald Lynn Watts
Mar. 30, 1940 - Apr. 18, 2014
Ron passed away peacefully in his 75th year at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital after a short illness. He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Patricia, his brother Brian (Lee), niece and nephew Janna and Jesse. Ron and Pat retired to Gabriola Island in 1997 from St. Albert, Alberta to enjoy the simple and beautiful island life. Ron will be remembered with much love as a truly gentle man who brought a smile to everyone he met.
No service by request. Please make a donation to the charity of your choice in Ron’s memory.
Jan. 4 1931 – Apr. 5 2014
Helen Dale Cox (nee Mc Ewan) passed away peacefully on April 5th 2014 after a two week struggle with illness at NRGH. She was in her 83 year and still living in her own home and driving her car to visit family and her many friends at the Rollo Seniors Centre.
Predeceased by her husband Bill in 2012 and her son Bruce in 1966, she is survived by her daughter Dale Ferguson, grandchildren Garnet Ferguson and Auralee Brown (Tyler) Great grandsons Justus and Caleb Pounds and Ryker Brown, sisters Jean Medforth and Pat McDonald (Jim) and many nieces and nephews.
Helen came to Gabriola with her mother Elaine and sisters in 1943. In 1948 Helen married William (Bill) Cox and together they spent their lives on Gabriola. Known as a fantastic cook Helen spent many years cooking in her husband Bill’s logging camps and also Helen cooked for the Andersons at Taylor Bay Lodge, which is now the Haven. Later Helen began to work at the post office here on Gabriola and worked there for 27 years. During this time Helen was an active member of our community serving on the Agricultural Association board, in the Women’s Institute, and for the Community Hall Association. Helen advocated for increased ferry service from the Ministry of Highways until eventually our service was improved. She retired from the post office in 1979 to Commercial Fish with Bill in the summer months and travel in the off season. Bill and Helen also spent their summers gardening together and Helen began selling vegetables and her delicious preserves at the farmers market. When her family opened Early Dawn Greenhouse and Gardens in 1998 she contributed in every aspect of its operation until finally retiring in 2005.
Helen learned to knit as a young girl while starring in the role of Mrs. Claus in her school Christmas play and throughout her life made hundreds wonderful of sweaters and blankets. Many hand sewn quilts, hand woven chairs, knitted creations, crafts, and secret recipes will be passed down and treasured by her family. Helen loved to feed people, and her family will really miss her wonderful pies that she brought to most holiday dinners.
Please join in celebrating Helen’s life on May 2, 2014 from 1 – 4 pm at the Gabriola Golf Club. Helen was a major contributor to many important charities throughout her life and as a remembrance please send a donation to one of our local charities in her name.
Gusta Hilda Holland
Dec 13, 1918 - Mar. 16, 2014
Gusta peacefully left her body behind in the early hours of Sunday Morning dying of old age, on to new trails.
Gusta was a modern woman, always breaking path. She blazed through life with flair and style always able to keep her wit and humour.
She will always be a part of us, but will be missed dearly.
Gusta has been survived by the father of her children, Antony Holland, her daughter Rosheen and son Nelson, her three grandchildren Jasmine, Jade and Natasha and six great grand-children Damon, Keegan, Finnigan, Anisse, Daisy and Django.
There will be an art exhibit at Gabriola Artworks on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 11) honouring Gusta’s life as an artist and a mother.
Marie Seraphine “Eva” (Landreville) Ryan
Marie Seraphine “Eva” (Landreville) Ryan was born March 25, 1934 in St Lupicin, Manitoba. Her francophone family moved to Vancouver Island in 1943, settling in Alberni and Nanaimo. She graduated from St Anne’s’ convent and then joined the Air Force and was stationed in Lac St Denis, Quebec where she met her first husband Patrick and gave birth to the pride of her life, her daughter Erin Kellie Ryan. In 1960 they moved back to Nanaimo where Eva chose to establish her career, build friendships and spend the rest of her life close to her two sisters. Eva was pre-deceased by her parents Clement and Auxilie Landreville, and her brothers Norbert, Roger and Romeo Landreville. She is survived by her two beloved sisters, Rita Hillier and Martha (Don) Sundquist, her daughter Kellie Ryan (Terry Ritchey) and many nieces, nephews, two step grandchildren eight great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.
Eva Ryan worked at the Bank of Montreal for her entire career, retiring as a Commercial Loans Officer. She saw the transition of an industry from manual systems, through the common usage of automated adding machines and ultimately computers.
During this period she was predeceased by her second husband, Michael Ryan. After her “retirement” Eva found a new passion and advocation in Fibre arts. She was a fiber artist and master weaver who gifted many pieces of her work to friends, family and community. Eva was an active member of the Gabriola Island and Mid-Island Weaving guilds. Weaving was a passion and an outlet for her meticulous precision as well her strong sense of community.
There will be a celebration of Eva’s life and her artwork in the Malaspina room at the Coast Bastion Hotel on Friday March 28th from 2 - 4 PM. The family will be featuring her vibrant creative scarfs, afghans, rugs, tapestries.... They would enjoy having you share your memories as well as any artistic masterpieces that Eva shared with you. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Michelle Rae Sims
September 19, 1963 – March 18, 2014
On March 18, 2014, at Gabriola Island, BC, our beloved Michelle passed into new life. She was predeceased by her father, Percy, in 1994. Michelle will always be loved and never forgotten by her mother, Anne, her brothers, Jason and David, and her precious nephew, Aiden. Also mourning her loss are her “Norwegian” Mom and Dad, Anniken and Richard DeLissa; her uncles, Stanley and Wesley (Sylvia) Sims; her aunts, Lillian Schneider and Norah-Jeanne Worona; and many cousins and cherished friends from all over the world.
Michelle was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. She graduated from SAIT as a petroleum technologist in 1986, then from the University of Alberta in 1992. As a petroleum engineer, she worked for Halliburton in Alberta, Holland, Norway, China and Algeria, and for British Gas in Tunisia and Kazakhstan.
Fulfilling a childhood dream, she earned a commercial pilot’s licence and, with her friend Karen Drysdale, spent many happy hours flying for pleasure and for angel flights.
Michelle’s gift for friendship was perhaps her greatest talent. She was a kind, loyal, generous, compassionate, non-judgemental listener and friend. Michelle was loved by many people of all ages, nationalities and spiritual traditions.
Many thanks to all the people who supported Michelle on her last “flight,” especially her “special” sister, Catrin Nadin, the nurses at the Victoria Cancer Clinic and Dr. Vanessa Bernstein.
Robert David Edwards
Sept 6, 1923 - Mar 1, 2014
Robert (Bob) of Chetwynd, BC, passed away on March 1, 2014 at the age of 90 years. Born in Salmon Arm, BC, to Arthur (Dude) and Janet Edwards, he was the eighth child of ten siblings. Bob married our mother Beatrice in July 1948, four girls and one boy rounded out their marriage. They were married sixty-three years, until the passing of our mother in 2011. Dad suffered several strokes in 2010 and was hospitalized until the time of his passing this month. The last year Dad spent in Rotary Manor in Dawson Creek.
Dad was just eight years old when his mother passed away. Dude kept the entire family of ten together throughout the dirty thirties. The older siblings soon were leaving to start their own families and some were going to war. Dad joined the 1st Battalion Rocky Mountain Rangers in 1940, but because he was the eldest of the two younger siblings he was discharged after three months to take care of his younger sister and brother, as our grandfather was quite sick at this time.
Dad had a very limited education but that never stopped him from working or enjoying life. Over his lifetime he worked as a donkey puncher, cat skinner, deck hand, general laborer and carpenter. He worked on the railways near Prince Rupert and helped to build the power project at Bridge River, BC. He also logged on many sites along the coast. Dad also drove truck, starting at an early age; Dad saw a great deal of BC and Alberta from the driver’s seat. He even drove truck for a while on the Alaska Highway. Dad’s last job before retiring for good was as camp attendant for the oil patch here in northern BC.
When Dad wasn’t working he loved to putter in his workshop. He was the greatest carpenter, building our family house on Gabriola Island in the sixties and seventies. We think his greatest joy was when he could take a derelict object and make it into a new and useful object again. He especially loved to work with wood. Many of his makeovers are still with us as wonderful memories of him.
Dad was predeceased by his mother, father and eight of his siblings, as well as our mom Beatrice and our sister Nancy.
Dad is survived by his sister Joanie, three girls Lorraine (Brian), Lynne (Bob), Marjorie (Dave) and his son Brian (Allison), nine grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and their families.
Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.
Arrangements were entrusted to Bergeron Funeral Services & Crematorium Ltd.
June 1st 1952 - March 1st 2014
Lover of family, friends, music, life, old cars, the BC Lions, all living beings … and Cathy. Forever with us in our hearts. We love you.
Apr. 27, 1937 - Feb. 26, 2014
On Wednesday, February 26, after heart surgery, we lost Ken Stefanson.
Ken was born in Selkirk, Manitoba, eventually making his way out west to Gabriola.
Those of you who knew him (or of him) were aware of his persona, his larger than life approach, and love of Gabriola.
We will miss him dearly and he would want you to hear of his passing on a more personal level.
Known as Mr. Gabriola Gourmet Garlic, he was also lover of live music, and a avid supporter of singer-songwriters.
Ken was also a long-time attendee at Farmer’s Markets and other markets up and down Vancouver Island and on the Mainland.
Ken requested no funeral, no memorial.
He asked instead for the island to have a concert down the road in his memory to support and help restart the Hot-Lunch Program at the Gabriola school.
With all our love,
Llie, Gerry, Lynn, & Bree
Barbara Grace (Taunt) Huston
May 23, 1922 – Dec 17, 2013
With love, joy and sadness we say goodbye to our mother, mother-in-law, Nana and Great Nana, Barbara Huston, who died peacefully surrounded by her family. She will be missed and celebrated by her eight children; Shelagh ( David), Jackie, Richard (Claire), Patsy (Don), Robbie (Mary), Paul (Tammy), Phil (Laura), Lili (Garry); by her 17 grandchildren and her 12 great-grandchildren.
Barbara was predeceased by her beloved husband of 62 years, Peter (Arthur Francis) Huston, parents Harry and Grace Taunt, brothers Derek & David, sister Brenda and foster-daughter Vicki.
She is survived by many cherished nieces, nephews and extended family in Canada and England, and many loving friends and colleagues.
Barbara was born in 1922 in London, England. In 1946 she married Peter and they had 5 children over the next 10 years. In 1959 the family moved to Regina, Saskatchewan where Barbara was involved in the community and church in many ways. During these years Vicki joined the family.
In 1970 Peter’s work took him to Viet Nam where Barbara and Peter adopted Paul. Later they adopted Philip from Cambodia and Lili from Bangladesh. While overseas Barbara worked in an orphanage in Bangladesh and a refugee camp in Malaysia.
Barbara studied for the priesthood and was ordained an Anglican priest in 1983. She found great joy as one of the earlier women priests in Canada and she was a mentor and role model for others.
Barbara served parishes in Regina, Nokomis, Humbolt in SK, Ladysmith, Parksville & Gabriola Island BC.
Barbara and Peter retired to Gabriola Island in 1992. Peter died in May 2008. The last church service Barbara led was the midnight mass on Dec 24, 2008. A few days later she had her first serious stroke and her health declined over the next 5 years.
Barbara enjoyed her family above all. Camping holidays, family singing, travelling widely, enjoying the outdoors and loving her numerous pets all contributed to the joy she found in life. She touched many people as a wife, mother, grand, great-grand-mother, sister, aunt, friend and priest. She will live on in the lives of us all.
We give special thanks to all the staff at Malaspina Gardens who cared for Mum so gently in her last few months.
The funeral will be held at the church at 2600 South Road, Gabriola on December 23 at 1pm. Private interment will follow. Donations to the Anglican Primate’s World Relief Fund or charity of your choice are appreciated.