Shelley Sanderson

August 5, 1950 – December 4, 2018
Shelley born on August 5, 1950 passed gently on December 4, 2018 embraced by family and friends. Her parents, Norman and Janet Sanderson predecease her. Her husband, Stephen Ariss and his sons Jake and Cedric; her sister, Danna, her husband Liam Murray, of West Vancouver, and their children Caitlin, Amanda and James; her brother, Kim Sanderson, and his wife Lea, of Edmonton, Alberta, and their children Amy and Ian, survive her. The relationships established and newly revived among cousins, nieces and nephews were her greatest joy; grandnieces, Thea and Georgia brought her recent smiles.

She was born in Calgary, Alberta and spent her childhood in Calgary, Edmonton and for a brief time Lima, Peru. Fun-filled summers surrounded by grandparents and extended family were spent at the family cottage at Gull Lake. Shelley did undergraduate degrees focused on child development initially at Mt. Royal and completed at UVIC in 1985. Her love of children drove her choices; she received a Masters in Education from Western in 1995. Her savvy and enthusiasm were integral to the development of the popular ECE program at North Island College in the Comox Valley where she was a valued colleague, trusted teacher and, always, an elegant presence. Her commitment to art and knowledge of the Reggio Emilia curriculum for pre-school was invaluable at Roseberry Pre-school in Comox; it took her to New York to explore puppetry; in retirement, her passion was manifest in her book bags, felt board stories, and in the storyline of Little Mouse and The River Adventure children’s book of which she was so proud.

Shelley’s teaching life was a graft of her adventurous spirit. She found her heart on the West Coast and furthered her life in boats; she took to the beaches and inlets of Haida Gwaii, Brooks, Desolation Sound, Clayoquot, and her beloved Wickaninnish as a sailor, paddler and boat dweller with her partner. She also loved the mountains and explored the trails-or rather no trail in sight-of Strathcona Park and the Trent River both summer and winter. Her wanderlust took her far beyond home to the roads of Mexico and Cuba, hiking paths of Morocco, Turkey, Italy, and Albania!, the rivers of Laos and Thailand, and the towns of Ireland where she shared her discoveries with her husband, renewed old friendships, met with travelling friends from this Valley, and gathered new companions. Her journeys not only fostered a vibrant life of shared reading material, music, movie watching, crafting, and animated discussion at neighbourhood dinners that made her friendship a gift but also informed a contemplative life of journals, kept since childhood, as testimony to her rich inner world.

Each adventure drove deep the root of Shelley’s life; she was profoundly influenced by nature. Whether the next destination, the tale in a children’s book, the foraged “treasures” gleaned on local or far-flung trips, the colours exactingly chosen for house and cherished garden, or her very willowy presence, were imbued with nature’s qualities. Her belief in its healing energy brought her solace and closer to those who practiced its powers.

Shelley was thankful for the kindness and laughter of those who brought food, gave massages, walked much-adored Rosie, arrived with ladders and pruners, and nested next spring’s bulbs; she was most grateful to her dearest friend, Anne. She was also appreciative of the compassion and advocacy of Dr. Ostry and Dr. Reggler as well as the staff at the Valley’s hospice.

A Celebration of life will be held Sunday, May 5, 1 pm, at 1413 Balmoral Avenue between Macdonald Wood Park and Mack Laing Park, Comox. Join family, friends and colleagues to celebrate Shelley’s life.

Limited parking on site, please park on Croteau Road or Balmoral Avenue. Enter by the paths through Macdonald Wood or walk along the beach.

In lieu of flowers and in memory of Shelley, please contribute to an organization which promotes the education of young children, the nurturing of imagination, or the protection of the natural world.


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