April 16, 1931 – March 11, 2020
Audrey Mary Hinksman (nee McVicker) died on March 11, 2020 surrounded by her loving family. The only child born in Canada, to parents Harold and Blanche, Audrey was born in Nanaimo on April 16, 1931, joining older brother Robert; and sisters, Dorothy and Joan.
At the age of one, Audrey walked into the waters of Departure Bay fully clothed. She became a “water baby” from that point on, swimming at Departure Bay and Newcastle Island every summer. In the early 1960s, Audrey and her husband Arthur (pre-deceased) bought a waterfront lot in Parksville. It quickly became a gathering spot for Audrey’s large, extended family, where aunts, uncles, and cousins spent many magical times swimming, building bonfires and laughing. Family was extremely important to Audrey and during her lifetime she was able to visit family in many far-reaching places.
Growing up, Audrey quickly became known amongst her peers at St. Ann’s Academy as a fun loving scholar; lover of all things musical and creative. She had an active rivalry with Sid Clark, one of her life-long friends, and was very happy to win the cup for the highest scholastic achievement in her graduating class. Audrey attended UBC enrolled in the music program before leaving university to start her family in 1950.
Audrey and Arthur raised four children, Anne, Michael, Susan and John. During this time, Audrey belonged to many social groups. Perhaps the most infamous was the “sewing club”. A group of moms who gathered regularly to boost each other’s spirits through laughter and friendship. Audrey’s laughter could be heard around the neighbourhood whenever the group gathered at her home. Well after their children had grown, the sewing club continued to meet.
Audrey also loved to dance and so it was with dancing in mind that she convinced Arthur to take up Ballroom dancing. This “project” was a huge success as they went on to teach Ballroom dancing in Nanaimo during the 1960s. On the many cruises they took, Audrey and Arthur became well known for their dancing prowess.
The biggest creative love of Audrey’s life was music. It shaped who she was and lead her to share her talents with many new friends. Audrey was a founding member of Nanaimo’s Harbour View Chapter of Sweet Adelines. In the 80s, the chapter set a standard for excellence winning the Sweet Adelines small chorus category for Western Canada. Audrey was a top-notch soprano, singing in both the chorus and quartet. She was also a musical director and coach. During Audrey’s short time in NRGH’s Palliative Care Unit, she was visited by many of her singing friends; they held a special bedside performance to honour the woman they loved. Audrey was moved beyond words at the generosity and love shown to her by all those who visited her in the PCU.
Growing up Catholic, Audrey was an organist in Parksville, Nanaimo and Chemainus parishes. She loved her connections through music and had a strong faith. Audrey formed a very warm and strong relationship with the Oblates of St. Benedict, becoming an Oblate herself. She took comfort in the friendships she formed with the Sisters at Bethlehem Centre.
Those who knew Audrey, know she had a tenacious spirit. She loved all things related to nature and for most of her life she loved nothing better than getting out on the water to explore BC’s coast.
Audrey’s working life brought a different level of adventure. She started work at the Telephone Company before finding a real home at Nanaimo Realty and Insurance where she made many lifelong friends before retiring in the late 80s.
Audrey often said how lucky she was to live in her condo. She enjoyed new friendships playing cards and mixing with others during socials. Audrey loved overlooking the harbour, watching boats come and go, and enjoying her views of Mt. Benson and Newcastle Island. As her health deteriorated, and Audrey was unable to get outside, her perch in the Beacon helped to keep her spirits up. She appreciated friends calling to check-up on her, taking her to appointments and doing what friends do.
The family would like to thank all of the staff at NRGH, from the emergency, laboratory, physiotherapy and X-ray departments to the PCU’s most amazing caregivers, support staff and volunteers. Audrey felt blessed to be in your safe, loving and competent care.
The family would also like to thank Audrey’s family doctor, Dr. Mander and her cardiologist, Dr. Natarajan. She formed a special relationship with Vancouver’s Dr. Esdaile, Researcher and Physician for the Arthritis Research Centre. Audrey made many charitable donations to this cause, as well as to the Nanaimo Hospital Foundation, the BC Cancer Society-Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Donations in memoriam of Audrey would be gratefully accepted by any of these charities.
Audrey is survived by her four children, Anne Pipke, Michael Hinksman, Susan Epp, John Hinksman, 7 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild, and her sister Joan Huck. Audrey will be profoundly missed. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date when it’s safe to do
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