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May 15, 1926 - February 29, 2020
It is with heavy hearts that we say farewell to a beautiful soul, Laura Petrovna Verigin, who left us for her final journey home on February 29, 2020 at the age of 93.
Laura was born on May 15th 1926 into the loving and respected Doukhobor family of Peter and Martha Relkoff who resided in an area called Sion, which was right above the present site of Verigin Memorial Park at Brilliant, not far from Castlegar, BC. She was the youngest of her siblings, sisters Helen and Nellie and brother Peter. In 1931, the Relkoffs moved to the village of Raspberry, closer to Robson, BC. She was raised by a nurturing family who instilled in her the core values of life, based on a foundation of unconditional love, mutual respect and good work ethics to enable her to become a valued member of the community. Throughout her adolescence, she experienced the joys of growing up surrounded by extended family and friends which provided her with strong family bonds. In her teens, she met her soul mate, John J. Verigin, and on June 27th, 1953, they were married and made their home in Grand Forks, BC. With her husband's role as the Honourary Chairman of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ (USCC), life brought many experiences and challenges for them. Together, they devoted their lives to a cause they believed in. They enjoyed the many happy times and weathered the storms when they came. Through it all, they became stronger in their quest to follow the path that was destined for them. They were blessed with three children, JJ, Barry and Nina and spent their life raising their children and being active members of their community.
In their ongoing efforts to promote peace, they had opportunities to travel to many parts of North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia as well as meet prominent dignitaries such as Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada, President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip of Britain to name a few. But closest to their hearts were the communities they called "home", sharing their lives with family and friends, and the community which they often referred to as "extended family".
Always concerned that she would not be remiss in any way in regard to what she considered her obligations and responsibilities, and never seeking recognition or accolades, she was honoured when she did receive various formal acknowledgements of appreciation, such as the special recognition from the USCC for her dedicated contribution as a lifetime member; the Certificate of Appreciation from the Federal MP, Alex Atamanenko, for her contribution to Doukhobor heritage and culture and for making her community and country a better place; the Inspiring Senior Award from the Boundary Women's Coalition for her lifetime of activities promoting peace and justice through non-violent dialogue and action; and recognition as a Canadian Difference Maker and participation as a medal bearer in a symbolic crossing of Brilliant Suspension Bridge during Rick Hansen's 25th Anniversary Relay. She accepted all of this with humbleness and sincere gratitude that she was able to serve in a worthy cause.
After her husband's passing in 2008, Laura continued in her role as an ever devoted mother to her children, an active member of the USCC, and a dear friend to so many. She will always be remembered for her love, generosity, shining example and genuine caring for all those around her. She was laid to rest at Verigin Memorial Park in Brilliant, BC on March 8th, 2020. She leaves behind her children, sons, JJ (Lynn) Verigin, Barry (Stephanie) Verigin and daughter, Nina (Larry) Decaire and families as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
We wish her soul eternal peace and joy in God's Heavenly Kingdom. Beautiful memories of her extraordinary presence in our lives will live in our hearts forever.
The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to everyone for their kind messages of condolences and for their support during this difficult time. Our sincere thanks to the doctors, ambulance attendants and caregivers at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital for their compassion and care in making Mom's last days as comfortable as possible. Special thanks to Bill Strilaeff and staff at Castlegar Funeral Chapel for taking care of arrangements and Peter Zaytsoff for officiating at the services. God's blessings to all!
(Full biography may be viewed in the March issue of ISKRA, issue #2148)

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