Connie Reichelt (nee Gillitt)

April 2, 1937 – September 11, 2019
Constance (Connie) Lela Reichelt died peacefully at home on September 11, 2019 surrounded and cared for by family. With gratitude we celebrate a life fully lived, especially those who loved her best: her husband Richard (Dick), her children Janis (Larry) Yelland, Randy (Alyson) Cockrill, Cindi (Garry) Reichelt, and Leah (Brian) Reichelt, her eight grandchildren, Ryan and Brett (Mikaela), Jeremy (Meagan), Micah (Susie), Josiah (Rachael), Michelle, Danielle and Nicholas, her great grandchildren Noah and Bronwyn, and her sister Mary (Mimi) Hytainen. She also leaves behind many dear friends and extended family.
Connie was born in Calgary, AB and grew up in Galahad, AB and Heffley Creek, BC. She graduated from the VGH School of Nursing in 1958 and married Don Cockrill. Challenge and adventure seemed to find Connie wherever she went, whether raising her family in a Canadian small town or serving as a missionary in Brazil. Connie eventually settled in Salmon Arm, BC, worked in the OR at Shuswap Lake General Hospital and married Dick in 1977.
Together they travelled across North America and around the world, learning about and exploring local sights, cultures and history, and of course, enjoying good food & wine and interesting company. Connie always had a story to tell or family news to share. In 2002 Dick and Connie moved to Nanaimo to be close to family and seek out new adventures as they explored the BC Coast on their boat.
After a timely road trip in August 2017 with Mimi, Janis and Randy to rediscover places and people connected to her family history, including the Schwerdfeger homestead, Connie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was devastating news that disoriented her, but through the love and care of committed family, caring friends and skilled medical professionals, Connie was able to regain her bearings and lean into the challenge of this unanticipated journey. This adventure proved to be her hardest as she navigated the realities and emotions of a terminal illness. But love prevailed, and drawing strength from those closest to her, Connie travelled this final journey with grace and class. Help and encouragement of the VIHA home nursing team during Connie’s final days were invaluable. Dawn, your professional care and personal kindness were deeply appreciated.
We will celebrate Connie’s life on Friday September 20, 2019 at 1:30 pm at Trinity United Church in Nanaimo.

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