26 August, 1939 – 7 July, 2021
We are heartbroken to announce the passing of an absolute force of nature. Mavis DeGirolamo passed peacefully at home with family by her side, after having fought four unique cancers concurrently with the determination and love for life that she exemplified.
Pre-deceased by her parents Richard and Edith in 1998 and 2000 and by her daughter Janice in 2019, Mavis is survived by her sweetheart and partner Bill Corbin, daughter Carole (Albert), grandchildren Jamie (Naomi), Alison (Jay), and Evan (Bronwyn), great-grandchildren Hayden, Charlie, Sawyer, and Everett, former husband/friend Lorne (Annie), and family Gloria (Tim) and Victoria, Wendy, Dana, and Julia, cousin Colin (Dorothy) and family in Wales, cousin Angie (Erich) in Germany, her shy cat Louis, and so many dear friends. We have so much gratitude for the excellent and warm care Mavis received from numerous doctors and nurses, the B.C. Cancer Agency, and her palliative care team. Mavis was born in Lancashire, UK, a week before WWII began. She and her family emigrated to Canada in 1951, first to Saskatchewan, and later to Victoria. She was a fixture in Victoria's peace movement, and peace and love was her philosophy always. Mavis leapt into countless social justice causes with a fierce desire to make the world a better place. As a teacher for 35 years, Mavis worked mostly with students with special needs. She also served as the President of the Greater Victoria Teacher's Federation and as VP of the B.C. Teacher's Federation. "Ms. D" was much loved by students and colleagues and she adored teaching, especially at Tillicum School, where she spent the last 12 years of her career, immersing herself in all manner of special events and initiatives. She so loved teaching, in fact, that she took it up in retirement! "Retirement" was a second career for Mavis, and it began with teaching English to immigrants and teaching citizenship classes to those hoping to become new Canadians. So began many happy years in various volunteer roles with ICA. She also volunteered with Glengarry long-term care, Global Village Store, the BC Black History Awareness Society, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, the James Bay Community Project, and a host of other organizations to whom Mavis lent her passion and enthusiasm. She was proud to have been recognized for her community service with numerous awards, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal. She was also a stalwart political campaigner, both for her daughter Carole and through many other elections. Mum/Nan/Mavis was the brightest spark. The best hugger. She could always be counted on for regular laughter and wholehearted participation in fun. She loved travel. Gardening. Reading and learning. Dancing. And above all else, family. She lived life to the very fullest. Please join us for a celebration of life to be held at James Bay New Horizons (234 Menzies St), Tuesday July 27th from 5 – 6:30pm. Donations in Mavis's name are welcome to the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, The Umbrella Society, The Canadian Cancer Society, or a charity of your choice. She would also be so happy if you would take up a volunteer commitment in your community in her honour.
A Celebration of Life
Tuesday, 27 July , 2021
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14 July 2021
My mother and father, Yvette and John Joyce, first met Mavis in Africa and were immediately drawn to her and her spectacular personality. They kept in touch with each other over the years and Mavis, while valiantly fighting her own battles, never forgot to keep my mom's spirits up following John's passing. She was truly a force of nature and will most definitely stir things up now as she embarks upon her ultimate adventure. She will be truly missed by all who ever had the good fortune to meet her. Chris Koshowski
13 July 2021
I first met Mavis at Glengarry Hospital where I volunteered. She chaired the family council and called bingo on Wednesdays. She was always there for special occasions. When Covid came and we couldn't go to Glengarry we kept in touch and had many long phone conversations. We had many a chat in her living room, one in one chair, one across the room both wearing our masks. We both had a great interest in the Royal Family, cats, music & many programs we saw on the Knowledge Network. Laterally I kept in touch while she battled the damn cancer and we shared many bad words regarding the subject. She always had a good upbeat spirit and fought the battle with a great strength and resolve. I am very grateful that my mum was at Glengarry or I would have never met Mavis and I might not have become a volunteer. My sincerest condolences to all of her family and especially to Bill (who also volunteered at Glengarry). Somewhere up there in the great beyond I'm sure Mavis is organizing, helping and planning a way to make things better.
13 July 2021
I met Mavis in the 1980's when Tillicum school sponsored a Citizenship Ceremony. Mavis was in charge of organizing the event. She was a very dedicated and willing person to help in any way possible. Mavis was always interested in helping newcomers to Canada and especially preparing them for their citizenship test on the knowledge of Canada and of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Her contributions to new comers in Victoria is a success due to her contributions. She spoke at many citizenship ceremonies and was was an excellent speaker. I will always remember Mavis for her big smile. My heartfelt condolences go out to her family who are left to grieve. Her gentle soul will always be in our hearts.
10 July 2021
Met Mavis once! Grievance over an issue with staying at a school for a reason that was, I shake my head at this! Too many males!
Anyway. I thought she was the cats meow! She was the rep for SD 61 at this time!
Sat in on a question period with her at a school board meeting and I stated my case. To make a long story short we met for a drink afterwords and I won my case but ended up going to another school anyways! She was solid!
10 July 2021
Condolences to Carol James and her family on the passing of Mavis. I worked as a teacher’s aide in Mavis’ Tillicum school classroom back in the late 1980’s. She was a patient and excellent teacher to the special needs children and the class and staff all benefited from her kind manner and excellent teaching skills , especially in a class with a wide range of challenges. I will never forget Mavis. She taught me a lot and seeing how well some of her students were doing years later I knew she played an important part in their development.
10 July 2021
Sincere condolences to all those close to Mavis who inspired so many in their life's journey. Her contribution to the success of "Canadians in waiting" is legendary. It was always a delight to have Mavis attend and speak at citizenship ceremonies. She was particularly proud of the applicants that she had tutored in gaining knowledge of Canada and language proficiency - and she was there to congratulate them at the final step of becoming citizens. I expect her picture is on the mantel in thousands of homes. She will be missed and remembered.
Silvia Mangue Alene
9 July 2021
Mavis was a mentor and a friend to me. She believed in me and her guidance and teachings help me through my life and carrier. Mavis was generous with her time and her ideas, she was also very brave. Mavis was an important figure for the BC Balck History Awareness Socity being it president for for many years . I will always have you in my heart.
Silvia Mangue Alene.
President BC Black History Awareness Society
8 July 2021
I had the privilege of working with Mavis as a member of the Citizenship Council and on the Institute of Canadian Citizenship Board - the latter to which I was nominated by her.
Mavis struck me as an unusual person . She was very knowledgeable, very capable, highly organized and dedicated, and also very compassionate. Besides successfully conducting the citizenship training classes for numerous years she has contributed a lot to making new immigrants integrate into society and treasure their Canadian Citizenship. She will be missed.
My heartfelt sympathies to her daughter Carole and other grieving family members. May her soul rest in peace with the Almighty.
8 July 2021
I was so sorry to hear of Mavis's passing. She was always an energetic, positive and kind person.
Everytime I saw her she left me with a smile, whether at a meeting or at Thriftys' .
She will be missed!
Take care of yourself Bill! Linda Richards
8 July 2021
To Mavis's family...there are no words to convey my sorrow at learning that Mavis has left us...and no words to begin to describe the truly amazing person she was...such great memories - always the laughter, the sage advice and the best hugs in the world...the world is a better place because she was here...love to you her family...❤
8 July 2021
The world is a gloomier and sadder place now, because Mavis is no longer with us. However, the world is also a brighter and happier place, because of the time she was with us and the way she shared her gifts.
In the time we spent together, I always saw Mavis as both a crusader and a champion. Like a true crusader, she knew her work was never done. There was always another person to help, another wrong to make right, another truth to tell... and she always got on with it. Like a true champion, she gave us an enormous legacy of good works and righteous accomplishments.
Many of her most enduring achievements are acts of kindness and wisdom that she offered privately, with no thought of being recognized or praised. That is the most praiseworthy of her attributes: that she didn't wish to be exalted. She is a role model for us all. Thank you, Mavis. I learned from you.
8 July 2021
I met Mavis when I became the Executive Director of the James Bay Community Project (JBCP)10 years ago, as Mavis was then Chair of the agency. Mavis was a staunch supporter of JBCP since its inception and volunteered for years in different capacities, most recently in our lunch program for seniors and in our Family Centre. Mavis brought more than hard work and commitment (incredible as those were) to everything she did. She also brought integrity, authenticity, courage, tenacity, perseverance, compassion, professionalism, intelligence, common sense, pragmatism, vision and a sense of perspective. Mavis made better use of her time on this earth than anyone I have ever met - she cast her net of caring and selfless contribution very wide. Today there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who benefitted from Mavis's help and work who are feeling as I do - sad but filled with gratitude for all that she was and for her spirit which will continue to guide us. On behalf of the board, staff, volunteers and participants at the James Bay Community Project I extend our heartfelt condolences to Mavis's family. We hope the immensity of your grief is tempered by the many incredible memories you must have of a woman who stands unparalleled as a role model for us all.
8 July 2021
The earth just shifted a little to the right when Mavis left us. Your dear mother and grandmother was a force of nature--so loving and inclusive and always full of energy, I am so sorry her time ran out but so grateful that such things as ICA and the little store on Pandora (name?) had the benefit of her wisdom and enthusiasm. Deepest sympathy to your family in what is already a challenging decade.