Beryl Keyes

Beryl Keyes

Beryl was a spirited 93 year old woman who passed away on November 14, 2015, two months prior to her 94th birthday. She led an incredibly interesting life, but was equally interested in the lives of her loved ones.

Beryl was most thankful for her family, whom she loved unconditionally and appreciated everyone for their unique and best qualities. She was a descriptive storyteller who shared her life experiences and wisdom, but was also keen to hear what was going on in the lives of those around her.

Her beloved husband, Arnold, predeceased her. Beryl is survived by her daughter Diana (David), her son Peter (Linda), her 6 grandchildren; Elizabeth (Scott), Dana (Shayne), Jennifer (Randy), Jeremy (Shawna), Christie (Shane), Corey (Jamie) and 12 great-grandchildren; Laura, Graham, Rebecca, Tyler, Abigail, Katie, Dylan, Rhya, Levi, Hayley, Tyson, and Eli.

Beryl was born on January 10th, 1922 in Knowle, Warwickshire, England. She went to boarding school in Ceylon before going on to graduate from Stonar School for Girls. Her first job was at famed fashion design house Norman Hartnell of London. Post graduation she studied art but had to leave college to care for her ailing father.

Shortly after, at age 17, she joined the British Land Army during the Second World War. It was during this time that she met Arnold. They immigrated to Canada in 1957, where Beryl continued to study Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba. Many years were fondly spent on their farm where she was able to combine her fascination of machinery, tractors and farming along with her love for animals while continuing her art.

After the sudden passing of Arnold, she moved to Nanaimo where she had friends. Beryl immersed herself in the arts community, serving on the Arts Council and exhibiting her

diverse artistic talents at the Madrona Exposition Centre. Beryl was also an original organizer and promoter for the Nanaimo Festival of Banners, in which many of her creative banners were displayed throughout the city for a number of years.

She filled her time by volunteering at schools reading to children, as well as being an active member of the Field Naturalists. She generously opened her home up to several International Homestay students; one in particular had a deep impact on her, Tomomi. Beryl became her mentor as they shared a love of art, as well as her two dogs, and an everlasting friendship ensued. Her home was an art gallery of her life’s work including paintings, pottery, embroidery, charcoal sketches, handcrafted teddy bears and individually personalized birthday cards she created for loved ones.

She was a creative, strong, unique, loving and devoted individual who left a heavy imprint on many lives. She will be greatly missed.

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