It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Elizabeth (Libby) Behrens on Friday, August 23rd. Libby fought a brief, but courageous, battle with cancer. Libby was surrounded by loved ones, at the time of her passing and in the final months of her life.
Libby was born in Kokomo, Indiana to Mark and Elizabeth (Betty) Garrison. As Mark was employed by the U.S. Department of State, her youth was spent living in, and travelling to, many foreign countries. She lived in Washington D.C., Hong Kong and Bulgaria and spent time with her family in Czechoslovakia and Moscow, Russia. Her family holidays were often spent visiting neighbouring countries while her father was on overseas postings.
While attending University in Colorado, she met her future husband Bret and they were married in 1972. They both worked and attended university in the ensuing years until both had university degrees. Libby then worked to support Bret as he studied podiatry in San Francisco, where he graduated in 1979. Upon Bret’s graduation, Libby became his office manager.
They moved to British Columbia in 1984 and set up a practice in Victoria. As Libby was an avid skier, they spent more and more time in the Comox Valley and at Mount Washington during the winters. Bret and Libby subsequently decided to move to the Comox Valley in 1995 and open up a podiatry practice there. Libby continued to work with Bret until the cancer prevented her from doing so.
Libby was a person of varied interests. She enjoyed hiking, kayaking, woodworking, skiing, gardening, reading , windsurfing, embroidery and spending relaxing time at home with Bret. In recent years she developed a passion for photography. Libby and Bret travelled to many areas of the Western U.S. and Canada to photograph nature’s wonders. She was a skilled photographer of landscapes and flowers, and, of course, her grandchildren. She had recently begun to delve into working with stained glass, which she hoped to explore in retirement. But those plans were cut short due to her illness.
Words cannot adequately express Libby’s persona or her love of life. Those who knew her well could only describe her as a compassionate, caring, humble and loving person. Libby was always considerate of others while her own needs were always secondary. Her life was filled with joy, enthusiasm, intuitiveness, creativity and curiosity. She met all challenges in her life knowing that she would do whatever necessary to overcome them. Her smile and laughter would always lift the spirits of those around her. Her energy, whether at home or at work, was limitless, her cheerfulness infectious. Her bravery, while suffering from cancer, continued to the end of her life. Her ever present smile continued until the cancer robbed her body of the ability to do so. Those who knew her are better off from having had that experience. We can’t tell you how much she will be missed by those that were fortunate enough to have known her. She has left a void that can never be replaced.
Perhaps Libby’s most important legacy was that of her dedication to her family. The nurturing, guidance and love she provided to her children (Matthew and Brianne) was her greatest passion and had the greatest rewards. Libby was involved, in a very positive way, in every activity the children experienced during their formative years. She was always there to offer an encouraging word, to offer extra support when needed and to congratulate them on their efforts, regardless of the circumstances or the outcomes of the events in which they were involved. They were the beneficiaries of that love, were better for it and have now grown up with those same attributes. And that has now been extended to a generation of grandchildren. Her influence will continue to grow with the future generations reaping the rewards. There can be no more important legacy than that provided by Libby.
Libby is survived by her husband Bret, and their two children, Matthew and Brianne (Neil), grandchildren Seth, Scotty (Matt) and Sawyer (Brianne), her father Mark J. Garrison (Rhode Island), brothers Mark E. Garrison (Pennsylvania) and Eric Garrison (Virginia) and sister Sarah (New York), brother-in-law Elton (Nevada), sisters-in-law Sharon (California), Marti (Washington), Brenda (Washington) and numerous nephews and nieces. Libby was predeceased by her mother Betty.
We would like to extend special thanks to Dr. Joan Scruton and all of the nurses of the Home and Community Nursing program. A special thanks to Sandy Reban for her support of the family in the final days. Thanks also to our neighbours Rob and Becky who graciously supplied guest accommodation to Libby’s visitors during her illness. We would also wish to thank all of the friends and neighbors who supported Libby during this most difficult time. And thanks to all of Bret and Libby’s patients who continually expressed their concerns over Libby’s health over the last few months.
There will be a family gathering to celebrate Libby’s life in the near future.