November 11, 2018
Gail Woodburn passed away on November 11th, 2018. She had been diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer in early July, but true to her nature, she maintained a positive outlook, faced adversity with courage and lived every remaining day to its fullest.
Gail was born in Victoria to Howard and Alma Woodburn, but moved to Trail at an early age where she developed values that followed her throughout her life: a passion for physical activity and an abiding joy in experiencing the natural world. Later, as a beautiful, long haired flower child, summers at Jasper Park Lodge were followed by moves to Vancouver, Prince George, Quadra Island, Campbell River and eventually Victoria, where she completed her degree in education.
She was a teacher in the Comox Valley and her caring nature, humour and warmth made her very good at it. She began as an itinerant French teacher, then moved on to her own classes at Courtenay, Black Creek and Miracle Beach Elementary, then finally to North Island Distance Education School. Early on Gail met Tim McKinnon, another young teacher, and they began their journey together.
Life in the Comox Valley was very good to the couple. As in so many small communities, they made their own fun with friends. The Snow To Surf became a right of spring for her, (remember the Bag Ladies Escort Service ?), she played a mean game of tennis, ran, rode her bikes, golfed and every summer they sailed their sloop, Magicienne, throughout the Salish Sea, always with one or more of their beloved Scottish Terriers serving as deck crew.
In 2006 Tim and Gail retired from teaching and started a whole new life. She loved her home at Point Holmes, tending her flowers, painting, entertaining friends and MacTavish and always revelling in the view. Then, in the fall the couple escaped to Maui where Gail was at her happiest, swimming, snorkelling and replenishing her Aloha Spirit. They also travelled Canada and Europe extensively and explored Vancouver Island in their trailer and boat, fishing with friends. There were many more adventures planned, but, sadly, not to be.
Gail passed away just before dawn at the Comox Valley Hospice and shortly after she left, I watched, a glorious sunrise over Goose Spit on that clear, calm November morning. So many of our adventures involved rounding that spit in various boats and heading out to sea and I felt she was doing just that and going on to explore a new horizon.
She was my best friend and soul mate for forty two years. My Wonder Woman.
We want to thank those who helped lighten our load with their support and love – Drs. Howard, Tien, Dan, Kriegler and Grant; the angels in Medical Daycare and the Comox Valley Hospice; Ann, Andrea, Joanne and Jeany; and many others – This journey would have been impossibly difficult without you.
Hug your loved ones for us. That love is really all that’s important in this life. And Carpe Diem.