Obituary for Maureen Holmes
Maureen McKeon Holmes
November 28, 1956 - November 28, 2017
With great sadness, Maureen’s family announces her passing. She died peacefully at home on her birthday, surrounded by her loving husband, Rob, five daughters (Emily, Maris, Olivia, Victoria and Rose), their partners and one of her dearest friends.
Maureen was born in 1956 in London, Ontario. She was the eldest daughter of Michael and Mary Catherine McKeon, in a family of seven children, including five brothers (Martin, Mark, Barry, Danny and Murray) and her dear younger sister Michaela.
Maureen was always one to face challenges head-on, with courage and dedication. She was the first in her family to attend university. Initially, she got a Mental Health Care Diploma from Fanshawe College in Ontario. After moving to B.C., she obtained a degree in communications at SFU, all the while working as an activity coordinator at the UBC Extended Care facility. Her interest in caring for the elderly and disabled led her to pursue graduate studies in Health Administration at UBC, graduating in the early 1990’s. She worked as a consultant on several projects and then, as President of the Zajac Norgate Housing Society, took on the role of developing Norgate House, a 36 unit rental housing project for seniors to age in place and to encourage independence, and to improve the quality of life for disabled persons by eliminating the institutional setting. She served as Acting Executive Director of the B.C. Pediatric Society in 2000. She was a Board Member and Vice President of the MS Society of Canada – BC Branch.
Her organization and leadership on that got her interested in municipal government. She was elected to North Vancouver District Council and energetically served her community. After that service, she worked for the provincial government to achieve efficiencies in leasing by public authorities. Her next role involved overseeing safety inspections with the B.C. Safety Authority throughout the South Fraser Valley. After that, she worked for North Vancouver on services relating to law enforcement.
She was active in many volunteer positions as well. She served on the Boards of the North Shore Health Authority and the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. She served on the North Shore Substance Abuse and Addictions Commission. She volunteered several years for the annual Vancouver/SPARK Homeless Count. She was a Board Member of the West Vancouver Field Hockey Society, and during her service helped organize the construction and funding of the Rutledge Field. In 2005, she was one of the nominees for the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction Award for Community Service.
Somehow in that busy work-life, she met Rob in 1986, got married in 1988 and then had and raised five beautiful daughters. She provided invaluable support and encouragement for her husband’s legal career. Her family was always her pride and joy. The encouragement and lessons she provided them will last a lifetime. She called them her greatest blessing; they feel that she was theirs.
In May 2014, Maureen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She faced it with a calm and strength that were a marvel to all. She was always more concerned that it not affect her husband and children than she was for herself. She went through different treatments with courage. She kept an active life as long as she could, traveling with her family in Europe and North America. Most recently, in June 2017, she went to Amsterdam with Rob and Victoria and walked 70 km in 7 days, seeing all there was to see. She joined a book club and read countless books. This past summer she oversaw the installation of a new roof, gutters and stucco on the family’s home. She was also power-washing driveways, washing cars and continuing to make jams, jellies, chutneys and preserves.
From 2014-2017, she volunteered in what she regarded as a particularly special role – as a baby cuddler at BC Women’s Hospital’s neo-natal intensive care unit. She knew she would not have the chance to cuddle her own grandchildren and wanted to comfort babies who needed that care and support.
Our thanks to Maureen’s family physician, the health care professionals and staff at Lions Gate Hospital, VGH, the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Coastal Community Nursing and Home Support and Lions Gate Hospital’s Palliative Care for their professional, respectful and dignified care for Maureen.
Her funeral will be held at St. Pius X Catholic Church, 1150 Mt Seymour Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1R6 at 1:00 p.m. on December 16, 2017.
In lieu of flowers, Maureen’s family requests consideration of a donation in Maureen’s memory to Pancreatic Cancer Canada http://donate.pancreaticcancercanada.ca/site/TR/DIY-FundraiseforUs/DIY-FundraiseforUs?team_id=6164&pg=team&fr_id=1296. (If the link does not work, go to Pancreatic Cancer Canada, search team & tribute "Maureen McKeon Holmes" and press Donate).