This is a team tribute to Katherine Willett who was fondly known by many nicknames in our Victoria Office at Family Caregivers of BC (FCBC). Self-referenced as “Weedy Willett”, Katherine was tireless in her quest for family caregivers. She dug into details and as the “Networking Guru” spread the word wherever she could about the need to get caregivers the attention they deserve in the health care system. Katherine completed her Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Gerontology at SFU in the late 1990s and firmly believed in supporting upcoming students in the field. Katherine was also extremely aware of the specific needs of multicultural seniors and caregivers and frequently connected with multicultural organizations to develop capacity to increase family caregiver support. Her passion for family caregivers and the advocacy work she did stemmed from caring for her mother, affectionally known as Mamie. Katherine joined FCBC as part of our provincial program in 2014 and was our feet on the ground in the Lower Mainland. We came to know Katherine long before that in her volunteer Board role with the Caregivers Association of BC, staying in touch as it closed its doors in 2010 and always making time to encourage and support us as we took on the BC champion role. She leaves big shoes to fill. We miss her dearly and all that she brought to her work. Her contagious passion for getting the word out about caregivers, her understanding of the ins and outs of the health care system and the challenges of caregiver navigation. We miss her prolific supply of emails, offering a vast range of content and colour, and her surprise package in the mail that said she was thinking about us. We also miss her wacky sense of humour and stories about her life in English Bay. A huge pooch lover, Katherine spent precious hours with her late dogs Internet and Groovy walking on the beach. And always a funster, she even ventured down the slide at Second Beach – no doubt wearing a multicoloured bathing suit and a pair of her wild glasses.
Katherine, we will remember your smile and commitment as we continue your work for family caregivers – both in the weeds and into the water supply.