Nature 25
Official Obituary of

Lois Anne (Parsons) Harvey

January 5, 1950 ~ March 5, 2024 (age 74) 74 Years Old

Lois Harvey Obituary

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Lois on March 5th, 2024, surrounded by the love of her family and friends.

Lois was born on January 5th, 1950, in Edmonton, Alberta, and grew up in the farming communities of Pibroch and Barrhead. Her childhood was filled with many typical experiences of life on the Canadian prairies, sharing them with her brother Paul and her many cousins. At the age of 13, Lois was diagnosed with cancer, which, despite the odds, she survived. The experience left her with a sense of awe at the power of her own mother’s love, as well as an unstoppable drive for adventure and to live life to the fullest.

Like many of her peers, Lois’ first taste of international travel was a tour of Europe after high school. She loved the adventure, working in chocolate factories in Holland and as an au pair in France. It sparked a passion for travel that never dimmed for the rest of her life. She returned to Campbell River, and it was there, working in the Discovery Inn, that she met Derrick Harvey and fell in love with him and his ability to make her laugh.

They moved to an acreage just outside of Calgary, Alberta, following Derrick’s career in Cable Television. Lois taught at local public schools and began to develop her interests in horses, gardening, spinning, weaving, and knitting; she also became a keen follower of the back to the earth movement of the 1970s. After having her one and only child, Mackenzie, Lois took a position at Strathcona Tweedsmuir School (STS) and dove deep into a creative and remarkable career as an educator. During this time Lois ensured that she and Derrick and Mackenzie lived a full life. Whether it was going on exchange to Australia for a year as a family, cross-country skiing, and winter picnics in the Kananaskis, or exploring the inside passage on their sailboat, Lois made sure they went on many adventures.

After 17 years in Alberta, Lois, Derrick, and Mackenzie made the move to Vancouver Island, and Lois became the Principle of West-Mont Montessori in Metchosin. In 1995, when she was offered a job supporting teachers in Cambodia it was easy for Lois to say “Yes!”  However, not long into the project, Lois became painfully aware of the hubris involved in development work and realized that the only real impact she might have in her time in Cambodia would be through nurturing meaningful relationships with individual people. Rather than “educating” the Khmer people she found that she was the one with so much to learn.

Her appreciation for other cultures and humility served Lois well in future years as she completed contracts for UNICEF and CUSO in Pakistan, China, Vanuatu, The Solomon Islands, and Tanzania. In all, Lois travelled to 87 countries during her life, the majority with Derrick faithfully at her side.

For the past 16 years, Lois and Derrick have lived in Comox. During this time, Lois returned to the interests she cultivated in her youth: gardening, fibre arts, sailing and cruising, playing ukulele, walking, biking, exploring, reading, drinking tea, and spending time with friends and family.

Lois was an incredible woman and a treasured wife, mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, and friend whose virtues of grace, empathy, openness, and love are being reflected on in the profound sadness we feel at her passing. Lois will be deeply missed by her partner and husband of 52 years, Derrick Harvey, her daughter Mackenzie Sillem and her son-in-law Kris Sillem, her grandchildren Sarita and Mowat, her extended family, and her many friends.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Canadian Cancer Society or your local Hospice. A gathering for family and friends will be shared at a later date.

 

 

 

 

 

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