Elaine Claire Robinson slipped away on October 12th, holding her daughter Norma’s hand. She was born on October 19, 1934 in Trail, BC, the first of four children. When she was 12, the family moved to Murrayville. They returned to the Kootenays when Elaine was in high school and settled in Castlegar. Elaine was in the first graduating class of the new Stanley Humphries High School, where she received the Stanley Humphries Award for Best All Round Student for 1952.
In 1953, Elaine married Norman Robinson and they settled in Langley. Norman’s teaching career took them to Qualicum Beach where Margaret and Norma were born and then to Clinton where Marilyn joined the family. They then moved to Edmonton, where Norman attended graduate school and, in 1966, Donald was born. That year, the family moved to North Vancouver, and Norman began work at Simon Fraser University. In 1967, Elaine and Norman divorced.
Elaine went on to study music at the University of British Columbia and tried her hand at a number of jobs, before qualifying as a teacher at David Thompson University. She said that from the moment her teacher stood at the front of the class in grade one, she thought “when I grow up I want to be like that.” She got her first teaching job in Edgewood at the age of 42. She later worked in and around Castlegar and Trail, often as an itinerant music teacher. She loved her work and was always able to appreciate and encourage the best in her students.
Elaine loved birds and flowers, doing the cryptic crossword, going to the swimming pool and socializing with friends and family. She was good-natured and cheerful, with a ready wit and smile. After her retirement, Elaine worked as a literacy volunteer and was active in local politics, serving on the area J Advisory Planning Committee for many years. She cared deeply about the environment and dedicated countless hours working for Castlegar’s Friends of Parks and Trails Society. She was in inveterate follower of the news and could profess an opinion on politics into the advanced stages of her dementia (“Why are we watching the Republicans?”).
Elaine had a deep love for music throughout her life. At 50, she learned to play the bagpipes and, in her 70s, she joined the Trail Maple Leaf Band and learned to play the glockenspiel. In retirement, Elaine returned to playing the piano in church – something she had done in her younger years, starting as a teen in Murrayville. This gave her great pleasure, and she spent many hours practicing, especially as her mind began to slow.
Elaine was pre-deceased by her sister, Lynne Barr; her father, Archie Phillips; and her mother and step-father, Vera and Dave Campbell. She leaves behind her brother, Keith Campbell; sister, Marianne Fourt (Vince); daughters Margaret Sutherland (Steve); Norma Robinson (Stephen); Marilyn Cobban (David); son Donald Robinson (Kim); grandchildren Sarah (Jonathan), Megan (Josh), Justin (Krystal), Nathan, Jordan, Heather (Brady), and Grady; great-grandchildren Owen and Archer; and her good friend Garnet Minogue.
The family would like to thank the staff at Castle Wood Village and Castleview Care Centre for their care and kindness to Elaine in the past 4 ½ years.
A service was held for Elaine at Robson Community Memorial Church on Monday, October 17th. For those who wish, a donation in her memory may be made to the Alzheimer Society of BC or Doctors Without Borders.
Castlegar Funeral Chapel in care of arrangements.