Flags are flying at half mast in the Village of Tahsis after Mayor Jude Schooner succumbed to a heart attack in her home Feb. 16.
Village Chief Administrative Officer Mark Tatchell said in a statement that Mayor Schooner leaves a legacy of building enduring relationships with the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation, forest companies, the provincial government, other local governments and a myriad stakeholders.
“She promoted healthy, respectful dialogue on forest practices, corporate responsibility, transportation, community planning and rural health care, amongst many other issues,” Tatchell said.
Schooner’s death comes shortly after she had announced earlier this month she would be stepping down as mayor due to lingering health effects caused by a motor vehicle accident on Highway 28 near Gold River in March 2017. Her resignation was to take effect on April 17.
Schooner served two terms as mayor. She was first elected to council in 2008 before being elected mayor in 2011. She also served as a director on the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) and committees since 2011.
She served on several committees, including acting as the chair of both the First Nations Relations Committee and the Municipal Services Committee. She represented the SRD on the provincial Marine Planning Partnership Committee and the Community Health Network
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Director Schooner’s sudden passing. She was a strong advocate for the Village of Tahsis and the Strathcona region. With her straightforward and diplomatic manner, she quickly and easily created positive relationships with board members, local municipal and provincial elected officials, First Nations and the various agencies and stakeholders with whom she worked. She was passionate about protecting the environment, healthcare, economic development, inclusivity and the rights of all British Columbians. I know that we are not alone in saying she will be greatly missed,” SRD Board Chair Michele Babchuk said. “On a personal level, I have worked alongside Jude since she joined the board, and I found her to be an incredible woman who was passionate about her community, her family, First Nations and the area. I will miss working alongside her, as will the rest of the SRD Directors.”
SRD CAO David Leitch said, “Director Schooner’s positivity, vision and diplomacy will be missed by all of us at the SRD. She was a strong voice for the region and her insight, local knowledge and ability to create strong, positive relationships was an asset for all of us.”
Tahsis councillor Brenda Overton will fill Schooner’s position on the SRD Board until the October 2018 municipal elections.