Four people whose legacies are making the world a better place... we miss you and we thank you
Environmental-protection heroes don't always wear hiking boots... some make a huge difference with their financial and moral support for conservation organizations, both during their lifetimes and thereafter. Here are four champions who left us too soon, we honour their lives and their contributions to our work.
Chilcotin Ponies by artist Pat Devlin, oil on canvas. This painting and others by this accomplished artist were inspired by the Valhalla Foundation for Ecology's work to protect wild horses. Painting used by permission of the artist's family.
Ron Jakimchuk was a friend, fellow biologist and colleague of Wayne McCrory's starting at the Canadian Wildlife Service in the 1960s. Founder of the Ronald Jakimchuk Wildlife Heritage Foundation at the Victoria Foundation, throughout his life Ron founded and supported numerous conservation charities. A staunch friend and loyal supporter, Ron was someone we could call on in a pinch and who always helped out. Ron passed away in October of 2021, we thank everyone who made donations in his memory. An avid fisher (and hunter, horticulturist, writer, singer), Ron is shown here with partner Xisa Huang, proudly presenting smoked salmon, fish he caught.
Eric Day, a retired geologist, active hiker and avid outdoors person, was an ardent supporter of the VFE's work to acquire and restore the Snk'mip Marsh Sanctuary in the Slocan Valley region of BC. It was one of Eric's favourite bird-watching and nature-enjoyment spots. Eric was a financial contributor to the acquisition of this wetland property and following his passing in April of 2020 he left us a bequest in his will.
By special request, Eric's ashes and those of his longtime friend and partner Gay Huston were interred at a beautiful overlook of the wetland during our restoration work at the Snk'mip Marsh Sanctuary.
Photo: Sinixt Matriarch Marilyn James (at left) and supporter Eric Day cut the ribbon at our official opening event in May of 2018, following the VFE's successful acquisition of the Snk'mip Marsh Sanctuary property in 2017.
Joan A. Martin, of Hansville, WA, first saw one of BC's iconic white Spirit Bears on a coastal rain-forest voyage with VFE chair Wayne McCrory (who was along as a guide and bear-biologist expert). The experience changed her life and renewed her commitment to supporting environmental causes, which she did generously. Joan's professional career was as a teacher, she was a warm-spirited person who is deeply missed by her family and friends since her passing in September of 2020. We would like to thank the administrators of her estate for the generous bequest to the Valhalla Foundation for Ecology. Joan was a long-time supporter of our work and we are incredibly grateful for this gift which helps us continue the environmental restoration activities that were so important to her.
Pat Devlin, author, artist, journalist and communications expert, left us too soon at the end of August this year at the age of 65. After a successful career in journalism and corporate public relations, Pat retrained herself to become an acclaimed fine-art painter. She took inspiration in everything from crowded city streets to thunderous prairie skies. Pat was also inspired by our work to protect the wild horses of BC's Chilcotin region, she both painted the horses (using Wayne McCrory's photos as source material) and donated funds to support our conservation work. Pat is sadly missed by her long-time friend and colleague, VFE director Lorna Visser. Many thanks to everyone who donated in Pat's memory.