Valerie Diane Gervais
Our Mom was raised on James Island by Lillian and Donald Gould. She graduated from Mount Doug High School in 1955, working weekends at the Oak Bay Boathouse, then attended Victoria College, where she was introduced to Royal Roads' dances and cadets.
In 1956, Mom was accepted at St Joseph's Hospital to become a Medical Laboratory Technologist. After jobs in Surrey, Quesnel, Smithers and Toronto, she worked in Vancouver until she married one of the cadets, her soul mate, Leo Gervais, in 1963. They lived in Ottawa, then moved back to the Island, settling in her grandparents' 1925 cottage in Cobble Hill, where they raised "Les Girls”, Melissa, Monica and Heidi.
Since her childhood, Mom has loved dogs. Her first Irish Setter was purchased in 1965 as a family pet. She then purchased show-quality dogs in 1970, and Kulana Irish Setters was started. Her first litter was born in 1976, and her last litter was born just weeks before her passing. Kulana Irish Setters have had success in all aspects of competitions but mainly as fabulous pets. Mom was also an accomplished All-Breed judge in Canada and enjoyed judging worldwide. She was a lifetime member of the CKC and Tyee KC and, for over 40 years, helped organize the annual show held on the Mother's Day weekend.
Along with her love of dogs, Mom also volunteered with the Victoria Symphony, Elections Canada and canvassed for the Heart & Stroke and Cancer Societies. She had a green thumb, as evidenced by her fabulous gardens, which we deemed "Butchart North." She was an amazing mom, supporting all our varied interests, from pets to sports. Some of the best memories involve the infamous wood-panelled station wagon or the yellow van loaded with our classmates sliding down the roads from Forbidden Plateau after a school ski trip or headed off to a field hockey or volleyball tournament. Even with all of our extra activities, she worked for Floral Arts, Hill's Native Art Gallery and Arbutus Ridge.
Mom was an avid traveller. Starting in 1974, Mom and Dad went international, with a trip to Russia, where Mom walked through Red Square in her bare feet. In 1977, the family summer vacation was spent travelling through Europe for two months with Mom in a cast as she had broken her leg two weeks before the trip. Hawaii was one of the places Mom and Dad returned to, but they also travelled to Australia (twice), New Zealand, Brazil, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Scotland, Ireland, England and across the USA for Mom's dog show judging assignments.
In October 2007, Mom located her biological family, the Allards of Edmonton. They welcomed us, and we had the opportunity to attend many family events to meet our new extended family.
We want to thank the VIHA Community Care workers who cared for Mom so that she could remain in her own home and the Allard family, particularly Chuck and Peter, for their support.
We will miss you, Mom, but glad that you and Dad will be able to continue your travels wherever they may take you.