Mary Belle Jean Fowler

MARY BELLE JEAN FOWLER (nee HARRIS)

April 8, 1938 – May 19, 2009

Mary was born in New Westminster, BC on April 8, 1938, and grew up in the Dunbar area of Vancouver, where she graduated from Lord Byng High School in 1956. Mary attended UBC, and worked in the registrar’s office there until her marriage to Reid in 1961. She became secretary to the director of Cancer Research at the University of Saskatchewan while Reid completed post graduate studies. After the birth of her son Malcolm, the family moved to the Royal Roads area of Victoria, where daughter Norma Jean arrived. The family moved to their “home” in Salmon Arm in 1970.

Mary worked for short periods for the Public Health nursing office in Salmon Arm and for the Simon Fraser University PDP teacher program, but put her greatest priority and effort into caring for her family and raising her children.

Mary was a positive, happy, outgoing person with many close friends, some going back to preschool days. She and Reid continued to see members of the Varsity Outdoor Club from UBC days for hikes and skiing in the Rockies. Mary loved the ocean, having spent summers on Saturna Island as a preschooler, and then in the family cabin on the beach near Gibsons. She and Reid had years of soul restoring wilderness canoe trips with a group of like-minded friends. Skiing provided soul support in the winter as did wildflowers in the spring at Chase.

Mary was gregarious and actively involved in many community organizations. For over thirty years Mary sang with the Shuswap Singers and was a member of the Shuswap Lake Hospital Auxiliary, holding at times every executive position, and was a major proponent of the Candy Striper program, where she loved to supervise and support young people directly. She was a charter member of the Shuswap Outdoors club, and loved time with friends in her book club, aerobics and badminton groups. Mary, Reid, and Norma had great enjoyment playing trombone in the Salmon Arm Community Band. Mary looked forward to attending local musical festivals, long walks and talks with close friends and entertaining at home with her impressive culinary skills.

Mary focussed huge love and attention on her grandchildren Hannah, Meghan and Reid, getting great joy seeing them grow and thrive.

Mary found peace and enjoyment at home with her garden. She loved her pets, so long as they were kept in their place – by her side, on her lap, or under the covers. She was particularly besotted with her latest cocker spaniel, Sasha.

Mary was compassionately supported in her brief battle with cancer by the entire medical community; her doctors, hospital staff, wonderful nurses and paramedics.

Mary is survived by her husband Reid of Salmon Arm, son Malcolm, his wife Mary-Ann and daughter Meghan of Coquitlam, daughter Norma Jean, her husband Graham and children Hannah and Reid of Salmon Arm, and brother Bill Harris and wife Pam of Vancouver.

A celebration of life will be held at 2PM on Saturday, June 6 at the Salmon Arm Seniors Activity Centre, 170 5th Avenue, SE.

A fund to support the community events and oganizations that Mary so enjoyed is being established. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Mary Fowler to the Shuswap Community Foundation (Box 624, Salmon Arm BC, V1E 4N7 or online at www.shuswapfoundation.ca)