January 29, 1938 – February 17, 2021
Eileen Frances (Letourneau) passed away peacefully on Wednesday, February 17th, 2021, at Berwick House in Victoria with her family by her side.
Eileen was predeceased by Iain, her husband of 39 years, in 2007 She is survived by her two daughters, Elizabeth (Ed) Yap-Chung and Christy (Shekinah) and by her two grandchildren Cooper and Charlotte.
Eileen was the last living sibling of her 10 brothers and sisters, the baby of the family and adored by them all. She was a favourite aunt and cousin to countless relatives and kept in touch with everyone through the years.
Eileen was born and raised in Rosetown, Saskatchewan. She was an epic story teller, and could hold the attention of any room when she got to talking about her childhood (according to her she peaked at 3 years old) and all of her adventures.
She regaled anyone lucky enough to listen with tales of growing up on the farm and her school days spent at the convent. These recollections would make for some of the most memorable and often hilarious stories.
One year, she was the runner up Snow Princess (some would say the contest was rigged) of the Winter Carnival and often tried to convince her daughters she was the starting point guard of the school basketball team. For someone barely 5’3″ with questionable athletic skill, this was seemingly unbelievable, yet apparently true.
Eileen moved from Rosetown to Calgary and then settled in Vancouver where she worked as a legal secretary at Harper Gilmore Grey. She loved working there and when she left, it was to attend UBC to earn her teaching degree. During this time, at an annual Grey Cup party hosted by mutual friends, Eileen met Iain, the painfully shy bartender in the tartan vest.
The girls had a contest to see who could make him talk and, not surprisingly, Eileen won. After working up the courage to ask for her number to go on a date, he never did call. Several years later, at the same party, they met again. This time he called and they were married in 1968.
They raised their children in Vancouver, with winters spent in such exotic locales as Babine Lake, up north, for Iain’s work with Fisheries and Oceans. She would jokingly refer to these winters as her “dark days”. As Eileen would say, she was always second place to a salmon. In 1978, the family moved to Vancouver Island and settled in the Comox Valley.
Eileen was a teacher at Highland, GP Vanier and then North Island College, where she taught until her retirement. She was always active in the community, involved with Canadian Martyrs and then Christ the King parish, the North Island Music Festival, the BC Festival of the Arts, playing bridge and volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul and many other organizations. Eileen always called the Valley the “centre of the universe” and she spent the rest of her life there, making countless enduring friendships.
Eileen would always lend an ear, a shoulder or advice (wanted or not) to anyone in need. She did the New York Times crossword every day, tuned in every night to Jeopardy and dreamed of maybe one day making it on Wheel of Fortune. No matter where she was, she managed to find her way to mass on Sunday. She loved to travel and took many trips, cruises, and tours around Europe.
Eileen will be remembered as a real force: feisty and funny. She would never say “no” to a trip to the casino, lunch with the girls, a dry martini with extra olives or a fine glass of scotch with friends.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday March 12, 2021 at 1pm. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the mass will be live-streamed on the Christ The King YouTube Channel. Mom would be excited to finally be going viral! A private interment of ashes will follow at the Courtenay Civic Cemetery.
Memorial donations in memory of Eileen may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation #106-1001 Cloverdale Avenue, Victoria, BC, V8X 4C9.
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