June 6, 1946 – October 7, 2022
In loving memory ~
With broken hearts we announce the passing of our beloved Rosemary after a brief illness – taken too soon (there could never be enough time with her), and forever missed.
Rosemary was born in Sheffield, England to Howard Siddall and Judy Coles. After the death of her father, Rosemary moved to Canada with her mother in 1948. Upon arriving in Canada, Judy married Neil Bell and Rosemary was raised in Trail and Vancouver. She graduated in 1967 from the University of British Columbia and began her teaching career at Puntledge Park Elementary School in Courtenay. During this time, Rosemary met her future husband Eric (Ric) Vernon. They married in 1970 and accepted teaching positions with an American school in San Juan, Peru.
Returning to British Columbia in 1976, Ric and Rosemary settled on their small farm in Merville with daughter Alissa. In the following years, they welcomed another daughter, Hayley and a son, Roger. Rosemary quickly took to being a “Gumboot Girl” and enjoyed the rural lifestyle. She began a small in-home daycare for neighbourhood children, which allowed her to put her teaching skills to good use and be closer to home to care for her family. The daycare continued for nearly 30 years and “Rosie’s Place” was always full of happiness. Her ability to connect with children and families was a true gift.
Rosemary dedicated much of her time trying to improve education to better meet the needs of all children. She held lead roles in Parent Advisory Councils (PACs), both in School District #71 and with the British Columbia Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC). She was famously known as “Leader of the PAC” upon her retirement from these volunteer positions.
Rosemary also relished her time and memories made at her family’s summer cabin on Gabriola Island, and in 1977 she and Ric bought a lovely property on Hornby Island. Upon retirement, Rosemary and Ric built a home and moved to the property on Hornby, but made regular trips to Courtenay to fulfil their grandparent role to four grandchildren. Rosemary was once again back in her element, surrounded by children. The grandchildren all sensed Rosemary’s magical way of being ever present.
In recent months through her illness, Rosemary was so grateful for the love of family, friends, and the expertise of dedicated medical professionals.
Rosemary was predeceased by her fathers Howard Siddall and Neil Bell, Mother, Judy Bell (nee Coles), and brother Graham Bell. She leaves behind to cherish her memory: Her husband, Eric (Ric) Vernon, children Alissa (Paul), Hayley (Aniel), Roger and grandchildren Callie, Eamonn, Malaika and Alice, the extended Bell, Siddall, Coles and Vernon families and many friends in British Columbia, Canada, US, the UK and Australia. Her love traveled around the world and she held precious memories of her times visiting those near and dear to her heart and making new connections as she went.
Trying to manage through these upcoming days without her seems an impossible task, but we will draw on the strength of our memories and appreciate the deep love of family and friends to support us along this journey.
If you wish to make a donation in Rosemary’s memory, please consider donating blood with Canadian Blood Services or supporting a charity of your choice. Two of Rosemary’s favourites were: the Kus-kus-sum Project (specify Kus-kus-sum when donating through the Project Watershed Society), and Comox Valley Land Trust.
“When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind” – anonymous
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